The Unique Demands of Residential Security

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Surveillance and beyond: Best practices for securing multi-unit residential properties

For optimal protection, surveillance must by extension be in as many places as possible. It's in use in many workplaces, our schools, transport hubs, entertainment venues, and even around our homes. And if you're operating an apartment or condo building, then you have the responsibility of using it to protect residents and their possessions. Unwanted visitors, problematic packages, or even medical emergencies can all present dangers.

When a security system is working to its full potential, it's an investment that pays off many times over, stopping problems before they start. Here's a look at how the best multi-unit residential security works to manage threats.

When surveillance and security don't work

Proper surveillance depends on planning. If residential security fails, it's often because potential problems (and the unique requirements of a building) haven't been properly assessed. As the owner or manager of a residential property in New York, it's a legal requirement for you to prioritize the safety of your residents. Negligent security could be disastrous for a tenant and for your property.

Never cut corners while installing a security system. Visitors must be properly screened, including the parade of tradesmen and service personnel who must submit proper identification to gain entry. Unfortunately, some residential property managers and owners rely on inadequate access control or merely a few cameras installed at a front door or hallway to deter crime or record incidents.

The entryway and common areas within a building are not only portions that should be monitored. Consider the base, rear, and general exterior of your building as essential elements of your security strategy. Parking areas should not be neglected, especially given their high risk; nor should areas like service entrances or loading docks. If they're a potential way in for your residents or contractors, they're also an entry point for troublemakers. The benefits of covering these areas are significant. For example, effective surveillance in parking lots has been shown to reduce crime by 51%.

The "management" section of this National Safety Council guide to high-rise security features additional risks and recommendations that should be considered by residential property owners and managers.

What proper multi-unit surveillance and security look like

An integrated security system in partnership with a qualified vendor is the most effective way to limit liability and keep your occupants safe. There are a few key components in this cost-effective model:

  • Remote Video Monitoring is an effective deterrent of criminal activity in a residential building. Surveillance feeds coupled with motion detectors and/or analytics software monitor your premises in real-time and alert the security team to any suspicious activity. Potential perpetrators can then be confronted by onsite personnel or warned away by an alarm or remote speakers. Each client has the power to define what is considered to be business as usual; if any suspicious event deviates from those parameters, the security team – whether it’s onsite or personnel who monitor the feeds remotely – can also notify law enforcement or medical personnel.
  • Remote Visitor Management controls the flow of people in a property by combining audio (intercom), visual (cameras and digital video servers), and electronic access control. Management can keep track of every visitor who enters a building. Remote monitoring (click here for a free information guide) allows a member of an off-site security team to contact the resident after collecting the visitor's data. LCD monitors can be installed in individual apartments to provide residents with visual confirmation of their visitor. Without your resident's approval, no visitor can move further into the building. Even when permitted entry, a guest’s movements will be monitored.
  • Remote Package Management utilizes the same triple security (intercom, digital video, and access control) as remote visitor management. Package management specifically requires all delivery personnel to have valid ID before being granted access to a specialized package room (which is remotely opened by an operator). All activity is monitored and logged, with the relevant resident being notified of their delivery. The benefits of remote package management are two-fold: increased security and the segregation of foot traffic, the latter of which increases convenience for residents.
  • Elevator Access Control restricts movement of both guests and residents to ensure they each only have access to the necessary floor of the building. Combined with a "lock out" timer on the main entry doors (allowing only residents in after certain hours), this is one of the most effective methods of access control.

Remote monitoring, electronic access control, and other managed services not only maximize vigilance, they also help protect against false alarms and technical/hardware issues. At its best, your residential security should be a visible deterrent for troublemakers while being an ever-present, non-obtrusive comfort for your tenants.

What's right for your residential depends upon a number of factors, including architectural design, street location, the surrounding area, and others. For the best possible solution, always consult with a professional security integrator who can assess your property and tailor the perfect package for your situation.

At POM Technologies, we specialize in security for multi-unit residential buildings, including condos, apartments, and dedicated care facilities. Since 2002, we've delivered over 2,000 security solutions across six industries in the greater New York Metropolitan area. To discuss your needs, you can call us at (212) 688-2767, email [email protected] or complete our contact form for a free consultation.