Does your property have the right measures in place for crime prevention? Not having the proper safety and security measures in place could result in people getting hurt, an expensive lawsuit, or someone dying, all because you did not have your property adequately protected. Claiming ignorance about flaws within your crime prevention and safety measures program will not be enough to protect you in court, and it certainly will not turn back the clock when someone has been injured. That is why it is vital to steer clear of making common security mistakes for your residential community.
Residential security mistakes
Here are the most common security mistakes property managers and owners make and what you can do to avoid them.
1. Unmonitored Cameras
Some communities depend on cameras that record but are not monitored. Traditional cameras do a decent job at gathering visual evidence that can assist the police. However, traditional video surveillance cameras have many flaws. These flaws make it a less effective crime deterrent than surveillance cameras that are monitored in real-time. Monitored systems are only beneficial after the fact. Suspects often wear masks to prevent being identified by traditional cameras. Monitored surveillance camera systems are a much better option.
2. Improperly Installed Cameras
Many property managers and owners have their onsite staff install the property’s security cameras. Amateurs do not have the skills needed to determine who to position their cameras properly. If not installed properly, it could render your cameras useless. Always hire a professional company to install your cameras.
3. Poor Lighting
Lighting is not so that people can see in the dark. Bright lights deter criminal activity. Most criminals avoid well-lit areas to avoid detection. Installing bright lights throughout your community is a great way to use the fear of being seen to your benefit. Also, to crime prevention, bright lights increase the overall safety of your location. They help prevent slip and falls and other injuries.
4. Broken Fences
Fences can protect your property. However, fences are useless if they have holes or broken areas. Holes must be identified and addressed. Someone should be responsible for checking the fence for holes. An onsite security guard is the best option to check the fence. Security guards provide the dual benefits of checking the fence and providing a visible crime deterrent
5. Not Performing a Monthly Lights Out Check
Having proper lighting is only useful if the lights are working properly. That is why it is crucial to perform a monthly lights out check. Doing so allows you to identify which lights are out and replace the bulbs. Lights out checks should be documented on a report form. Having proof that you routinely perform lights out checks can help reduce your liability if something happened on your property.
6. Not Hiring a Security Guard
Having a security guard patrolling your property is one of the most effective tools for preventing residential crime. Nothing deters a criminal better than a uniformed security officer. Security guards provided the added benefit of performing duties that do not directly relate to crime prevention. For example, security guards can enforce the rules of the community and watch for safety issues. A security guard can immediately respond to any issues, provide documentation, and act as a witness should you have to go to court. Paying for security guard services is less costly than paying for the effects of criminal activity or safety incidents occurring on your property.
7. Not Getting a Security Assessment
Since it is unlikely that you or any of your staff are security professionals, you probably do not have the training and expertise needed to assess the potential security issues present on your property correctly. A professional will inspect your property and tell you precisely what you need for proper coverage and to help avoid liability.
Additionally, if you were to end up in court at some point, you will have that documentation showing you had a professional assess your property. You could then use that documentation along with your fixes to show you implemented all the recommendations of that professional to protect your property and your residents. A proper security assessment will go a long way in a court of law.
8. Hiring a Security Guard Company That Does Not Use Patrol Tracking
Just hiring a security guard company is not enough if you want to protect yourself fully, your residents, and your property. Being proactive in keeping your property secure and documenting what occurred key to an efficient security program.
That is why it is so vital to hire a security guard company that uses patrol tracking software. This type of software allows you to tailor your security guard needs to fit your property. You can define your checkpoints based on an inspection analysis and define what happens at each of those checkpoints. This could include logging messages, reporting, asking exception questions, and issuing an incident alert. In conjunction, you can also use this type of software with an Android or IOS device, which also allows for the use of QR codes, NFC, and GPS technology.
9. Hiring Off Duty Police Offers for Your Property’s Security
Off-duty police officers are great if you have a property with ongoing criminal activity, especially if you experience frequent violent crimes. Police are trained to enforce the law and make arrests after the fact. They tend to be less than stellar at preventing crime. Crime prevention falls outside of their training.
Police are accustomed to taking orders from citizens. As a result, they are not always agreeable about accepting and carrying out the property manager’s instructions. Additionally, they are not all that great when it comes to enforcing community rules that are not matters of law. If someone does something against the property rules but is not illegal, most often, a police officer will not take any action.
10. Having HOA Members Provide Your Property’s Security
In most cases, HOA members are not security professionals. They do not know what to do or how to handle any given security situation. Additionally, since that HOA member also lives in the community, they are less inclined to want to do something that could result in retaliation against them, their home, or their family.
Another common issue when using an HOA member to perform your security duties is that you cannot force them to be there. They only perform the security duties when they feel like it or when they have time.
11. Not Considering CPTED Strategies
What does CPTED stand for? It stands for “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.”
How does a CPTED strategy work?
CPTED is a multidisciplinary method of deterring criminal activity by changing how a community is configured, the way it looks, and how it feels. This strategy is based on the thought that you can change how people act at a particular place by changing its design.
Examples of a CPTED strategy include planting rose bushes or other thorned shrubberies in front of ground floor windows. Another CPTED strategy is increasing the number of people in a target area, making it less attractive to would-be criminals. An example of this is placing park benches in courtyards where people can linger or install sport or activity areas in places that could potentially be spots for crime. The people within the area unknowingly serve as visible deterrents and extra eyes and ears to notify law enforcement in case of emergency.
12. Other Common Community Security Mistakes to Avoid
Here are a few more of the most common community security mistakes you will want to avoid.
- Putting band-aids on obvious security issues to save money.
- Ignoring government building codes and laws.
- Installing fake cameras.
- Installing video cameras without the proper notice of video recording signage.
- Not establishing clear roles and responsibilities for every party involved in the community’s security.
- Not informing your community residents about the security measures you have in place.
- Not providing your residents with a written notification of any major crime that has occurred on your property.