Securing Your Strata: 10 Smart Steps
Safety is everyone’s business. But it is of particular importance to strata management companies and council members. A secure strata means a happier and safer community, and that is what is most important to owners and residents.
Security measures may already in place to ensure maximum in-person safety. However, it is always beneficial to go over your safety plan not only with your strata management company, but with the residents themselves. This way, everybody can input new suggestions on how to keep your strata safe and secure. These are some ways to do so:
1. Work together.
Residents can volunteer on a rotating schedule to walk around the strata and spot anything that looks suspicious. This includes any fresh damage to doors, windows, or any entrance pathway that can be an indicator of a break-in. Keeping this practice in place can also be deterring to those trying to break in.
Maintain a schedule to periodically go through resident key fobs and security cards to ensure they are working properly.
3. Harden the building.
What this means is to hire a contractor that can look around your building and find the best places to install high security locks as an extra measure of security. You can ask your strata management company for the best local contractors.
4. Throw away the storage signs.
If you have any signs that say “bicycle storage”, throw those away as this can easily notify a thief where resident property is located.
5. Block it out.
Cover the lower level windows in some way. This could be as simple as blocking the area, so that criminals cannot see the inside and thus are less likely to try and break in.
Be communicative with your residents about any suspicious activity around the neighborhood and within the strata. This establishes a relationship with your residents to keep safe, and to also keep a watchful eye out for crime.
7. Get to know your neighbors.
Overtime, you’ll get a sense of some neighbor’s schedules, routines, and lifestyles. While this is a small help, this may help when a neighbor is doing suspicious activities that misalign with their typical schedule.
8. Know when to call for help.
An automatic thought when you spot any danger is to pick up the phone and dial for the police. However, you don’t have to be completely certain about the full story if you sense any danger. Remember, your job is protecting yourself and your residents at the end of the day.
9. Be prepared and cooperate.
Once the time comes to dial for the police, provide accurate and necessary information for the authorities to come as quickly as possible. Let them know your exact location, including the address, floor, suite, as well as the quickest way to enter. If you are able to spot the suspect, describe them as best as you can. Describe their clothing, any facial features, what they did or said, and where they were last seen moving. If there are any victims, describe them as well and ask for an ambulance. If the dispatcher requests any other information, relay that information to the best of your ability.
10. Keep strangers out.
There is no fit description for a person who can cause harm to your strata. If someone is waiting at the gate, they should know to wait outside until a resident lets them in. Do not hesitate to let them know of these rules if they begin to ask to be buzzed in. Simply say, “I apologize, but it is for resident safety not to let in unknown residents. Please call for your friend or family member to get you” or any variation of the sort that mentions it is strata policy. Any further threats or harassment is a prompt to call for the police.
A safe strata is a happy strata. Keep these tips in mind and you will minimize your residents’ risk and maximize their safety. For more information on strata security, contact FirstService Residential, British Columbia’s leading strata management company.