Ten Building Security Tips
We are all concerned about safety. High Rise management companies and Board members, who have a responsibility to protect the common property, must pay particular attention to security at their properties. A secure condominium means a happier and safer community, and that is what is most important to owners and residents.
Of course, none of this is news; that’s why properties have security measures in place. Even if you think the security at your building is adequate, remember that criminals are opportunistic and resourceful, so it’s a good idea to continually evaluate to keep your community safe. Consider these suggestions to improve the security at your property.
- Secure the building. Hire a contractor to install high security locks on common area doors to improve security. Your property manager can provide you with local, reliable contractors.
- Review. Audit all key fobs and security cards assigned to residents on a regular basis. Cancel those that are no longer valid.
- Teamwork. Encourage residents to volunteer and take turns walking the property looking for anything suspicious. Regular patrols will deter crime. A good indicator of attempted break-ins is damage around doors and windows.
- Remove storage signs. A sign that says “bicycle storage” is an invitation to a thief to help himself.
- Cover windows. Criminals are less likely to force entry when they can’t see what is inside. Frost or otherwise block lower level windows.
- Disclose. Communicate with residents about criminal activity on the property and in the neighborhood. Crime is reduced when people are informed and alert.
- Don’t hold or open the door for strangers. Most of us don’t want to be rude so we often feel we should let a person into the building who is waiting outside. The person waiting at the security door might look harmless, but looks can be deceiving. As difficult as it is, you should never let someone you don’t know into the building. Every resident is responsible for the security of the building and must be firm about keeping strangers out. If you are asked to buzz someone in, simply say, “I’m sorry, I cannot let you in because I don’t know you. Please contact the person you are here to visit,” and walk away. If you feel threatened, or are harassed, call the police.
- Become acquainted with your neighbors. Be aware of the routines and lifestyles of the residents in your community. If you know what is normal activity, you will be more likely to recognize situations that are out-of-place or suspicious.
- When should you call for help? Often people don’t want to call the police because they are not sure if something is wrong, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you observe something suspicious, contact the authorities.
- Communicate the details. If you call the police, providing the right information in the right way can speed up the process. Be prepared to give your complete address, and advise how the officer can access the building. If you saw a person or people, be prepared to describe them. What did they look like? What were they wearing? What did they do or say? Where do you think they have gone? Describe any victims and advise the dispatcher if an ambulance and/or an interpreter is needed. Convey any other information that might be helpful, such as suspicious odors, chemicals, or vehicles. The more information the authorities have, the better prepared they will be.
A safe building is a happy building. Keep these tips in mind to minimize your residents’ risk and maximize their safety. For more information on high rise security, contact FirstService Residential, North America’s leading community association management company.