When it comes to your building’s safety and security — an important part of HOA responsibilities — a little vigilance goes a long way. Whether you’re looking for a few simple ideas to improve your building’s security or you’re creating a comprehensive strategy to eliminate safety issues, these useful tips on how to make your building less appealing to criminals will come in handy.
Exterior Building Security
Install motion detector lights and cameras
Motion detector lights and cameras are effective deterrents for burglars. Cameras announce that the building has a security system, making it a lot less appealing to criminals, who are less likely to break in or damage a property if there’s a chance they could be recognized from surveillance footage. And if somebody was to start lurking around, a quick blast of light is enough to chase them away.
Install cameras at entrances, exits, stairwells, and parking lots and maintain them periodically to keep them in working order and to ensure proper recording. When choosing or upgrading your camera system, the most important component is the benefit of higher resolution images and video. This is vital because if an incident were to occur, you’ll need clear images that properly provide video evidence to effectively resolve the issue.
Invest in an access control system
Installing a gate that closes automatically, a fence that can’t be forced open, or investing in an access control system are all great ways to improve your building’s security. With an access control system, residents get a key card or fob to gain access to the building and general common areas like elevators or the swimming pool. Modern systems can electronically track the swipes and allow you to keep track of who and when is accessing the building. Lost keys can be quickly deactivated to prevent unwanted people from gaining access.
Think about all entrance points to the building: All garages, gates, and doors should fully close and latch when exiting and entering (especially during the cold winter months).
Keep up with landscaping and maintenance
While landscaping is not something that instantly comes to mind when thinking about security, a broken light or overgrown vegetation can create opportunities for incidents to occur without detection. For instance, overgrowth can create more hiding places around the property, while poorly kept greenery can suggest to criminals that other areas in the building, like security, may also be neglected, making the building more appealing and in their mind, easier to break into. The more the building seems looked after, the less appealing it will be to criminals.
Interior Building Security
Educate residents and spread awareness
Prevention is generally an easier and better solution than fixing an already existing problem. Doing small things like double-checking our surroundings and always locking our doors can deter thieves from picking our property as their next quest. Encourage residents to get to know each other and look after one another as this will make it easier for them to spot suspicious activity and unwanted guests. Create a plan and inform residents of what to do in case they notice something suspicious.
Most importantly, educate residents on who they can let into the building. They should not buzz people in if they aren’t expecting a guest or delivery. Nor should they blindly allow people into the building if they are standing in the vestibule or front door area. Finally, residents should report all suspicious activity to 911.
Keep lighting bright inside your building
Good and bright lighting within your building allows you to have better quality on your security footage, while also eliminating potential nooks and crannies that criminals can use as a hiding place or areas to move through undetected at night. It also makes residents feel generally safer.
Make sure all alarms work fine
In case of an intrusion, an emergency, or the event of a fire, early warning can be crucial. Therefore, it’s important to install alarms on every floor of your building. Alarms can be used for multiple purposes, such as improving evacuation time for building occupants before a fire spreads out of control, requesting immediate emergency medical help, or alerting the authorities of an intrusion.
At Hales, we have years of experience working with Chicago building associations, so we know how to proactively help you with questions about managing your building. We’re never more than a phone call, email, or online portal login away. If you’re interested, fill out our short form and request a proposal today. A member of our team will be in touch within one business day!