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A Vacant Building Can Be a Target for Criminal Activity

Posted by David Charney on Aug 1, 2018

According to Reuters, office vacancy in the U.S. is at an all-time high. During the first quarter of 2017, 41 out of 79 metropolitan areas surveyed reported an increase in vacancy. When a building sits empty for too long, it can mean big trouble for property managers.

One of the major issues facing a vacant property is theft. Thieves know there is no one inside so there is a lower likelihood of getting caught. Even if the building is completely empty, they may still take wiring, copper piping and other fixtures. Office vacancy can also lead to unsavory activities. Young people will target empty spaces for parties, as well as to deal and use drugs. If the building isn’t up to code or is under renovation, there could be exposed wires, as well as an idle sprinkler system, that could turn a single spark from a lighter or match into a full-blown fire.

Teens aren’t the only threat to an empty property. Vagrants, looking for easy shelter, may also seek out a vacant office space. The longer they stay, the more waste and trash get left behind. Vandals also find uninhabited buildings alluring. From broken lights to graffiti, they can cause considerable damage.

As a property manager, how can you protect your building? The most important way to help prevent damage is to keep the building secure. Many properties hire a physical guard to monitor the premises, but that may not be best or most cost-effective solution. In this video, a security guard was more engaged with his cell phone than the suspicious activity in front of him. Take a look.

An alternative office security solution is remote video monitoring. Trained video security operators watch office properties in real time. If they see suspicious activity, they can activate an on-site speaker warning to deter the unwanted visitors. If the situation escalates, the operators can call local police.

Some threats, however, aren’t caused by humans. Water can also be a serious problem in vacant spaces. Frozen pipes and hot water heaters can burst, causing costly damage. If no one is monitoring the property, it could be a while before the damage is discovered. Stealth offers a flood detection system that lets you know what is happening at your property. A device that easily attaches to the existing water meter will alert one of our operators when it detects leaks, running water, power outages and pipe freezing conditions. We can immediately contact the proper authorities to minimize any damage at your property.

Theft, vandalism, trespassing, loitering and water can cause significant damage to a vacant office space. Keeping the property secure is an important factor in ensuring it stays damage-free. If you would like information about Stealth’s office security solutions and how video surveillance can help protect commercial properties, contact us.