Condo Security: Whose Responsibility Is It?

Most condo owners have heard at least one story about a crime being committed at a condo community. What steps can residents take to reduce the potential for criminal activity?

Get More Cameras?

When it comes to condo security, the first thing that comes to mind is the presence of cameras. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems are comprised of multiple cameras placed throughout a property and connected to a centralized system, such as a monitoring station. In order for it to be successful, the video must be monitored in real time by a human; otherwise, crimes can be “solved” but not stopped. Also, it’s important for the cameras to be of adequate quality and they should be linked to a storage source which keeps the data for a week or longer. Finally, the cameras should come with a service contract by the manufacturer or provider, since broken cameras are worthless.

Use Access Cards?

Many communities are embracing access cards for residents and employees for convenience. These devices can also be coded for restricted use and configured to screen people entering common areas. If access cards are utilized, the system should allow for the recording of entries and exits by device as well as easy retrieval of this information. There should also be a documentation process in place for temporary and replacement cards when necessary.

Improve Intercoms?

One of the most overlooked aspects of security is resident-controlled entry. This is typically an “intercom” system that allows tenants to remotely allow admission to guests. Modern intercom systems can verify a guest’s identity, access door cameras and display the image on a TV or smartphone.

Beef Up Security Personnel?

Hired guards can respond immediately to burglar alarms, security alerts, or resident calls. Unfortunately, the impact of guards is limited if they don’t have access to tools. This means allowing guards to monitor cameras as well as giving them a way to immediately contact police, fire, and/or management.

Figure Out What You Need…

Where should your condo community focus its security efforts? There’s no way to answer that before a comprehensive security audit. This involves assessing all components of the current security system. Before making any changes or upgrades, it’s imperative to determine if they work with the measures already in place. Also, there should be balance between security investment and resident usability; otherwise, residents will find ways to circumvent the security.

…And Work Together To Solve Problems

Finally, the last piece of the puzzle should be the resident community itself. If condo owners strive to know who lives on the property and which people belong there, the odds of trespassers or criminals getting inside will diminish.

Condo residents must be aware of the security features on the property and should never assume that criminal activity cannot occur. This means not holding the front door open for someone they do not know, or refraining from blindly buzzing in people. Property employees should also avoid leaving unmonitored doors unlocked.

The best security arrangements for condo communities involve the residents, managers, and employees working together toward a common goal. If these stakeholders can communicate with one another and work toward finding practical solutions, the property will remain relatively secure.

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About Author: Chris Martin