Home » Commercial Real Estate Must Address This Issue

Commercial Real Estate Must Address This Issue

Posted by Rick Charney on May 5, 2023

Violent crime has climbed by 12% in U.S. cities per SafeHome.org research. Motor vehicle theft climbed by 21% in 2022, which is up almost 60% from 2019 as reported in USA Today. While some crimes fell slightly in 2022, Time references a new report from Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ) that shows violence in the U.S. is still much higher than it was before the pandemic. Other numbers trending upwards include property crimes, violent crimes, aggravated assaults, and robberies.

Unfortunately, Morgan Stanley analysts tell USA Today that commercial real estate needs to brace itself for a crisis. The story goes on to explain that the commercial real estate market is already dealing with big challenges such as increasing interest rates, decreased demand for office space due to remote working and higher maintenance costs.

What can commercial real estate managers and owners do to counter the effects of crime and the current challenges they face? According to Property24, they need to develop strategies focusing on continuity, inclusivity, sustainability, and growth.

“Businesses that were able to move quickly from survival mode to sustaining their operations and then to securing their businesses were able to garner greater successes in their respective markets,” says Broll Property Group CEO Malcolm Horne.

Top 6 Ways Commercial Real Estate Can Secure Their Properties

How can commercial real estate managers secure their properties to protect their businesses and tenants from rising crime? Here are the top six ways to bolster security.

1. Develop a security plan

What are your property’s current threats? There are free online databases like the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer that can tell you what crimes occur in your property’s neighborhood. Knowing what you’re dealing with will help you create a more effective security plan.

A security plan identifies the property’s potential vulnerabilities and current security features. The security plan is not a one-time document. It needs to be reviewed at least once a year.

Here are the key components of a security plan:

  • Introduction: Describe the plan, its purpose, and its objectives. Define the roles of employees who will be responsible for developing, updating, and maintaining the security plan. They will also have the responsibility for ensuring employees receive security-related training.
  • Policies and procedures: Document all processes including background checks for new employees, training, and onboarding of new employees, and who has access to what part of the building.
  • Physical building design: Map out the property including fencing, lighting, landscaping, security cameras, parking lot, and the area around the property.
  • Security measures: Specify all the security processes. This includes the process for how employees, visitors, tenants, and vendors enter and exit the building.
  • Sign-offs: Processes are only effective if people follow them. That’s why employees need to sign off on the security training. They cannot claim plausible deniability. Whenever the security plan changes, they need to be trained on the updates and sign the document again.

An often-overlooked part of the security plan is people. That’s why it needs to outline the need for all employees to undergo training on a regular basis. This training should also be part of the new employee onboarding process. You can have all the best security technology in place, but it only takes one employee mistake to create a vulnerability.

2. Conduct security training for employees and tenants

To prevent employees and tenants from becoming complacent about security, it’s important to hold training courses on a regular basis. You’ll identify the frequency in the security plan. If you have tenants in your commercial real estate property, how will you ensure they do their part where security is concerned?

The training should educate employees on how to respond to various scenarios. You want to ensure they’re prepared to react appropriately to the situation. Encourage them to report anything suspicious and how to go about that.

3. Check perimeter security

Perimeter security protects your commercial real estate property and everything around it including the parking lot. Lighting plays a big role in this as it’s inexpensive and effective. Work with a security expert to install lighting in and around your property. There’s a science to lighting for security and you want to do it right.

Do you have landscaping around the property? This can impact security as intruders look for hiding places in the bushes. They use this to get into the building without anyone seeing them. It’s also crucial to maintain the landscaping, so overgrown shrubs don’t create new hiding places.

Fencing may or may not be possible depending on your business and municipal regulations. Fencing can add a barrier to slow down thieves. It’s also useful for limiting the entry and exit points.

4. Implement video surveillance with remote monitoring

Security cameras with remote monitoring by video analytics and trained human monitoring operators can increase security and help deter theft by taking a proactive approach to security. Unlike most security solutions, video surveillance with remote monitoring comes with multiple layers of security to help avert crime and prevent damage.

When no one is watching the cameras, it turns them into reactive security. Therefore, the key is to have monitoring done by humans and technology. Video analytics consists of many pre-programmed scenarios that it looks for when scanning the video. When there is a match, then the system alerts the operator who knows how to respond correctly to the situation.

Video analytics is valuable because they can simultaneously scan all videos without fatigue, which can be a problem for humans.

How the monitoring operator reacts depends on the situation. In the case of suspicious people on the property, the operator can use an on-site audio speaker function to issue a verbal warning without ever setting foot on the property. This deters some people, but not all of them. The next step is for the monitoring operator to call the authorities and report on the situation. They can keep law enforcement or other emergency personnel updated on the activity until they arrive at the property.

Even if suspects get away, the high-resolution video cameras can have recordings that can capture identifying information to help track them down. If someone reports a liability claim days after it occurred, video analysts can search video surveillance footage to pull out the relevant clip.

Remote video surveillance is flexible in that a company can scale up or down as needed. Check out this case study to discover how video surveillance helped lower crime and save on costs.

5. Add an access control system

An access control system manages who can enter the property and limited-access areas. It makes it very easy to give visitors, vendors, and tenants access and then remove them when they leave the property.

Access control systems are customizable, scalable, and flexible. In the past, if a visitor or vendor needed to enter commercial real estate property, employees would have to call ahead and request access. With a current access control system, it can be done from any connected device. You can level up the security when you integrate an access control system with remote video surveillance.

6. Integrate security

One single security solution cannot do everything. It’s crucial to have multiple layers of security. Crooks won’t want to work so hard to break through all the layers. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is with an integrated security system that has multiple systems and technologies.

With integrated security, everything is centralized as it brings all the security functions together. An integrated security system may encompass some or all of the following:

  • Security cameras
  • Video monitoring
  • Video analytics
  • Video review and analysis
  • Access control system
  • One- or two-way audio speakers

An integrated security system can help simplify monitoring and reporting, increase efficiency, and bolster security with its multiple layers. A security system that integrates access control, security cameras, video analytics, and human monitoring greatly enhances its effectiveness.

Technology That Secures Commercial Real Properties

Commercial real estate managers and owners are having to do more with less and find ways to be more efficient. They may also be short-staffed. Integrated security with remote video surveillance and an access control system can streamline security processes without adding headcount.

The cost of video cameras with monitoring done by humans and technologies can be less expensive than hiring full-time security guards or employees. It puts more eyes on the property. That’s why it delivers the biggest bang for the dollar as many of Stealth Monitoring’s clients see a return on their investments within months.

Integrated security with cameras and an access control system comes with many more benefits. Some of Stealth’s clients use video recordings in employee training. You can also put these recordings to work in marketing your commercial real estate property to show off your property.

When you do these six things, you can create a safer and more secure environment for your employees, vendors, and visitors. To understand how video surveillance with monitoring can protect your business, watch videos of remote video surveillance in action. For more information about video surveillance and other crime prevention solutions, please contact us.

Texas Private Security License Number: B14187.