Community security is not a one-size-fits-all solution. What works for a high-rise, may not meet the needs of a garden style condo or a PUD, HOA or POA. Surveying residents about their security needs, desires and goals is a great way to gauge the community’s thoughts on the subject to get you started with the decision-making process.
Key factors should include:
- Community budget
- Legal obligations
- Do you have any security-related requirements in the governing documents or local law?
- Who will be responsible for researching, implementing, and evaluating the security plan and system?
- Does the community have a website or blog so that all residents can weigh in?
- Are there any insurance considerations or security-related liability issues?
- How will you measure whether a security system has produced the results you are looking for?
- What is the potential for danger or crime in your area?
- Has crime increased resident instability based on resident mobility and owner occupancy?
- Has crime affected property values?
- Has crime affected the quality of life within the community?
- Has crime decreased community activity participation?
Other factors to consider:
- Community involvement
- Safety improvement
- Ongoing evaluation of the program
If you are thinking about a security service, understand that a contract security firm is often misunderstood as to the limitations and what actions a security officer can take, whether they are armed or unarmed. Employing a security officer to respond to emergencies on streets, parks, amenity buildings and potentially on an owner’s or resident’s property must have a scope of work clearly defined. Expectations for security officers must be defined clearly to the residents and must include the following in the contract:
- What they are expected to do
- How are they to do it
- When they are to do it
- What actions and responses are never to be done
Ultimately the goal of any security system is to deter criminal activity. You achieve this by high visibility and customer service, no matter what security systems you may put in place. For more information on community security visit, www.cairf.org.
by Diana Quigley, Education and Change Management Manager, Campbell Property Management