5 Tips to Improve Condo and Apartment Security Systems
published on December 08, 2016 by Jon Ecker
Managing your property so you have peace of mind
Residents of condo and apartment buildings tend to be extremely interested in the security of their building. Unfortunately, when HOAs and property managers try to keep costs low, security sometimes winds up as a hodgepodge of policies and procedures with some cameras thrown in, as funds are funneled toward building upkeep. But given the needs of a high-traffic residential building, security should remain a priority, as any lapse can put residents and property at risk.
Multi-unit buildings have unique needs
Condo and apartment buildings have a unique set of requirements when it comes to security. Due to the high number of occupants, there is a constant parade of residents, visitors, repair people, domestic help, mail carriers, and delivery personnel.
An added issue is the number of entry points and common areas, including delivery areas, gates, elevators, and parking lots and garages. And the more upscale the building, the more attractive it is to thieves.
The first step for building security is to install surveillance cameras – enough to cover entrances, exits, common areas, and any point in the building that could pose a risk. But cameras are only as good as the people monitoring them; without regular review of surveillance feeds, cameras only provide a false sense of security.
The good news is that solutions are available. Some of these ideas are somewhat easy to implement, while others require a greater investment in smart security. When integrated, all of these tips can provide effective security for a high-traffic residential building.
1. Institute smart policies: establishing a cooperative culture of security
All residents need to buy into the need for security and to take some responsibility for that security. While lending keys may be an act of trust or convenience, how much is really known about the key holder’s circle and their intentions?
Because there is a constant stream of visitors to these buildings – some of whom may be renters or simply visiting for a week – it’s difficult for residents to know everyone who lives there. Unfortunately, we live in a world where it’s difficult to trust others, and so greater care needs to be taken to not hold the door open for “new residents” or to open a locked door for someone. For security reasons, residents may have to be impolite, and building policies should politely but definitively stress this need.
2. Landscaping for security
Property managers and condo board members should work at keeping landscaping in good shape. Neglect in this area could be interpreted as a sign that other areas in the residence, such as security, are also neglected. Reduce hiding places. That means no shrubbery taller than 3 feet – and if it has thorns, that’s even better. Nature has provided many natural defenses.
While walking the grounds, be sure to take an evening stroll to ensure that common areas are well lit and that lighting is not creating shadows where someone can hide.
3. Access control: The key is the card
With advances in technology, security measures are rapidly becoming more effective. With an access control system, residents are issued a security card – rather than a key – that can simply be swiped to enter the building or secured common areas. The swipe also creates a digital log of who’s coming and going, as well as a real-time manifest of who is in the building at any given time.
If a card is lost, it’s easily discontinued and a new one issued. Proper access control also makes it easier to automatically cancel cards of renters or seasonal tenants who are permanently leaving, so there is no more having to track down keys, remember to discontinue access, or change locks. In addition, remotely monitored video surveillance can be integrated with access control to grant access to authorized visitors – or quickly identify intruders.
4. Remote monitoring and remote access for deliveries
As more and more people shop online, package delivery is now a bigger security issue in condo and apartment complexes. In other words, that’s a lot of potential traffic by unauthorized people.
With a remote access package management solution, security personnel can manage vendor or package deliveries by remotely granting access to a secured package room, which is also monitored by remote personnel at all times. Simply separating the delivery traffic from residential traffic will improve both security and ease building access for residents.
5. Keeping an eye on motion
Motion detectors often work hand-in-hand with cameras and lights. With motion, the devices are activated – but useful detection relies on someone watching the video feed. The newest line of detectors automatically alerts remote monitoring personnel so they can direct their attention to the camera image and take appropriate action, whether that’s dispatching on-site security personnel or remotely warning intruders to leave with speakers placed in the area.
Living with peace of mind
All of the managed services described above can exponentially increase the effectiveness of on-site security staff. Remote monitoring provides an extra set of eyes on demand, all the time, expanding security by keeping watch on amenity spaces such as gyms, roof decks, and pools after hours to ensure that only residents are using them.
POM Technologies believes that residents should be able to arrive, depart, and live in their building securely and safely. That’s why we specialize in creating comprehensive and integrated security solutions to meet the specific needs of condos and apartment buildings. Contact us today at 212.688.2767 or through our online form for a free consultation on how smart technology and the right procedures can improve your building’s security.