Multi-family residential tenants love amenities. When they shop for the ideal apartment, they compare apartment amenities. The more amenities available, the better. However, as a multi-family residential property manager or owner, the challenge is ensuring the security of those amenities.
Many of the popular amenities are in public areas and have expensive equipment. In some cases, non-residents could enter the common area like a swimming pool. This post explores the problems with some amenities and standard features as well as how to overcome them.
Package theft is a huge problem, especially with more people shopping online than ever. Wakefield Research finds that one in four people say they have been a victim of package theft. Half of the respondents know someone who has been a victim. The numbers grow worse among millennials in which one out of three have been a victim of package theft and 60 percent know someone who has.
Unfortunately, law enforcement rarely arrests the thieves. Police make an arrest in fewer than 10 percent of the cases where the owner has reported package theft. A Home Security report says that the average value of stolen packages was $140.
Apartment mail theft is common because thieves know they may find checks and gift cards. In the video, the thief manages to open all the lockboxes and rifle through the mail. When it's not obvious someone is breaking in like in this example, residents don't know all the faces at their community and may think someone is checking his or her own mail.
Here are some news stories about apartment mail theft:
Someone asked The New York Times if landlords and property managers can do anything to prevent mail theft. Landlords are unlikely to be held liable for stolen packages and mail. However, they have a responsibility to provide security. If the court finds the landlord or property management did not secure the building, then it could become a liability issue.
One option is to have the management office accept package deliveries for residents. However, that won't cover potential mail theft. Not all properties have an office that can accept packages. An effective tool for securing against mail and package theft is live video monitoring.
Trained security operating monitors watch the cameras placed in the mailroom. When they see suspicious activity, they can issue an audio warning as a deterrent. If the suspects do not leave, the operator calls the police.
Most apartments do not have a lifeguard on duty. Typically, the pool has signs that indicate this and that adults are responsible for watching children. A report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that public, community, and business pools or spas have the highest percentages of reported fatalities between 2014 and 2016 for two of the four age groups. Ages five to nine had 43 percent reported fatalities and ages 10 to 14 had 56 percent. This category includes apartment and multi-family housing.
While it's not required for an apartment property to post a lifeguard, they still have a responsibility for apartment pool safety. This includes securing the pool from wandering outsiders and minimizing safety hazards.
Children who escape the clutches of their parents' watchful eye find their way to the pool and climb the fence. No one wants a child to drown. It's an avoidable tragedy. People who are homeless also seek pools as an opportunity to bathe.
Educate your tenants about pool safety. Post signs with safety rules. Too often, parents let their guard down because their child is a strong swimmer or wears flotation devices. Lifeguards don't like flotation devices especially the ones children wear on their arms because they create a false sense of security. A child can raise his or her arms and slip right out of the flotation device.
Fortunately, manufacturers have improved the arm flotation device to include a vest attached to the arms. Again, things happen. The device could get a leak, letting the air out. If something happens, the apartment could be held liable because it is hard to prove whether management took enough steps to secure the pool.
Remote video surveillance can help reduce liability. A trained operator watches the cameras for potential pool hazards and uninvited guests. It provides evidence that the apartment did its job in securing the pool.
An apartment pool's security camera system prevented a potential tragedy when an operator caught a boy climbing the pool fence. The operating monitor caught the child's attention through a speaker and the child climbed back down and ran away. To ensure only residents use the pool, pair video monitoring with access control.
Strange things happen in a multi-family residential laundry room. In one case, a suspect dumped unknown substances in the washing machine of an apartment complex laundry room. The suspect mixed substances — definitely not detergent — and poured them into the washer.
Even youngsters find a way to rouse trouble in the laundry room. In this video, kids light lint in a complex laundry room. If the property did not have live video monitoring, the kids could have potentially caused a fire that would put residents' lives at risk. If the fire spread, it would affect lives and the bottom-line.
A laundry room can also become a distribution center for drugs. A trained video operating monitor caught someone using drugs in the laundry room and called law enforcement. The police arrived and arrested the suspect.
Here are tips to improve laundry room security:
Installing an access system can ensure only employees and residents enter the laundry room while keeping non-residents out. You can have the access system programmed so no one can enter the room after hours.
Exercise offers so many benefits that it needs to be a regular part of everyone's lives. That's why a well-equipped gym is one of the highest sought-after amenities. Tenants value the ability to work out where they live.
The gym has expensive equipment that thieves may want to steal. Free weights, treadmills, stationary bikes, kettlebells, and more. Yes, loitering can happen at an apartment gym. In this situation, it turns out the individual had a warrant for his arrest.
When building an apartment complex, try to place the gym somewhere central and near the management office. No worries if you already have a gym. You can get the biggest bang for your buck with access control and security cameras.
An access control system lets you give your tenants a code to enter the gym. You will not have to worry about changing locks when they move. You can give each tenant their own code. That way, when they move away, you can delete the code. No changing the code and informing all the residents.
This takes care of controlling who can enter the gym. What about theft, vandalism, or complaints? You may deal with a complaint about someone wearing skimpy clothes. There could be an argument over who had the equipment first. Remote video monitoring can solve that problem.
Cameras should be visible and "under surveillance" signs posted. These deter many incidences. Having someone watch the cameras and recording all activity adds another layer to security. Recordings provide proof or identify safety issues. Someone watching the camera ensures quick action in case something happens.
Each of the apartment amenities has little things you can do like keeping it well-lit and posting signs with warnings and safety rules. You probably noticed a common theme. Two factors can greatly increase your apartment complex security and safety while reducing the risks associated with common areas. Those two things are live video monitoring and an access control system.
When you select the right security vendor, you can set it up so the two technologies work together. You can match time stamp on the access system with the video to determine who entered an access code and see who actually walked in the room.
Remote video surveillance can do much more for your apartment complex than deter crime. It plays an important role in making it a safer place for your residents and employees. You can rest easy knowing someone is watching your entire property.
Implementing live video monitoring can help improve safety because trained operators can look for hazards and report them to you. You can also reduce your liability risk. The court will have a hard time finding your property at fault when you have video recording to show otherwise.
Don't let your apartment amenities go to waste. They attract and retain your residents. We can even set up a TV screen in your leasing office to display our live monitoring amenity. This is a great way to attract prospective tenants and set your community apart from others.
Security is one of the most desirable amenities for apartment hunters. According to the National Apartment Association, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers prefer apartments with video surveillance and security systems. These technologies double up as a safety measure because they can spot potential safety hazards for residents who use canes, walkers, or wheelchairs.
What's more is that security systems like remote video surveillance for apartments
cost a fraction of what it would cost to hire security guards. When you invest in the right security technology, you will get a fast ROI while giving your tenants what they want: peace of mind. Please contact us to learn about apartment security solutions