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.
No doubt you know this – and as a result, you probably have security measures in place at your property. Still, criminals are resourceful, so it is a good idea to continually seek new ways to keep your strata safe. Here are a few things to consider.
1. Work together. Have residents volunteer to take turns walking the strata and looking for anything suspicious. Damage around doors and windows are a good indicator of attempted break-ins. Also, having people out and about is a good deterrent.
2. Audit. Periodically, do an accounting of all key fobs and security cards, which have been assigned to residents.
3. Harden the building. This involves hiring a contractor who can install high security locks on common area doors thus enhancing security. Your strata management company can provide you with some local, reliable contractors.
4. Take down those storage signs. A placard that reads “bicycle storage” might as well say “take me” to a thief.
5. Block it out. Lower level windows should be frosted or blocked completely. When criminals cannot see what is inside, they are less likely to force entry.
6. Communicate. Let residents know about criminal activity within the strata and the neighborhood. Watchful residents reduce crime.
7. Get to know your neighbors. When you are aware of your fellow residents’ routines and lifestyles, you will be more in tune with activities that seem out of place or suspicious.
8. Know when to call for help. It is common for people to not want to dial the police if they are uncertain whether something is amiss, however a good rule of thumb is “better safe than sorry.” If you witness something suspicious, do not hesitate to contact the authorities.
9. Be prepared and cooperate. If you do need to call the police, providing the right information in the right way can expedite the process. First, tell the dispatcher your location – including city, address, floor, suite, a description of the residence and how an officer can enter. Next, if there is a suspect, describe them. Communicate their appearance, what they are wearing, what they did, what they said, and where you think they are located. If there is a victim, describe them, and tell the dispatcher if they need an ambulance and/or an interpreter. Finally, relay any other information that might be helpful, like if there is anything suspicious (odors, chemicals, vehicles, anything) that might aid the police. The more the authorities know, the more they will be able to help you and resolve the situation.
10. Keep strangers out. Sure, that person waiting at the gate might look nice enough, but it only takes one unsavory character to cause a lot of harm. As difficult as it is, security is the responsibility of every resident and you must be firm about this to keep strangers out. If someone asks you to buzz him or her in, simply say, “I’m sorry, I’m uncomfortable letting you in because I don’t know you. Please have your friend help you”, then walk away. If you feel like the person is a threat, or if they begin to harass you, call 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.