What Are the Top 3 Security Concerns for Apartment Communities?

Posted by Alex Godwin-Austen on December 30, 2021

Regardless of where your apartment community is located, all multifamily communities face the same issues. Crime doesn't discriminate. All of them contend with unwelcome visitors, trespassers, and conflict.

Crooks target apartment communities and condos because they offer more opportunities than single-family homes. Besides having more options for stealing, multifamily residential communities are often open like public places.

Typically, apartment community employees and residents will not know everyone. Thieves take advantage of this to work their way into the building. Perhaps they may not even approach the building. They may target another area instead.

Top 3 Biggest Security Issues for Apartment Communities

Here are the areas where most of the problems appear in apartment communities, condos, and multifamily residential buildings.

Parking lots and garages

Some criminals don't even go to the building. They target parking areas instead. It's becoming more frequent because catalytic converter theft has skyrocketed since 2020. State Farm, an insurance company, told WFAA that it has paid out more than $20 million in claims for catalytic converter thefts this year to date. That's already $3 million more than in 2020.

The reason catalytic converter thefts are on the rise is because it only takes two minutes to steal. Some savvy crooks can remove the converter within 60 seconds. One to two minutes yields a lot of money. The metals in the catalytic converters go for a lot of money, especially because there's a shortage of these metals.

One woman who lives in an apartment community told NBCDFW that she has had not one, not two, but three catalytic converters stolen from her car in the apartment parking lot. After the second theft, she had a muffler shop weld rebar around the new catalytic converter. Thieves still managed to swipe it.

This is happening despite her car being in a well-lit parking space and parked close to the entrance of her home. A mechanic has stated that thieves always find a way around a cage including one that weighed 30 pounds. Criminals are using a small, battery-operated saw with metal cutting blades to remove the part in a minute or two.

It's not just catalytic converter thefts apartment communities need to worry about. Smash-and-grab is still a problem as is someone going around to find an unlocked door.

Mail and Packages

Online shopping has soared since the pandemic hit. Some criminals don't even go to the building. They target parking areas instead. Check out the chart from Marketplace Pulse based on data from the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce. Online shopping subtly increased by about $3 billion every year from 1994 to the first quarter of 2020. After the pandemic, it increased by 16 times more than all the previous quarters.

Residents in apartment communities and multifamily residential buildings now average 10 packages delivered to them every month. This is up from an average of six packages prior to the crisis. During the holiday season, it leaps to 14 packages a month.

Is package theft a real problem? Yes. In 2020, 43 percent of Americans have had a package stolen according to a C+R Research Survey. This study included apartments with and without a doorman as well as condos with and without a doorman.

Swimming Pools

Most multifamily residential buildings do not have a lifeguard on duty. Instead, apartment communities post a sign stating that there's no lifeguard on duty and adults need to watch after the children. A U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report reveals 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 10 to 14 had 56 percent reported fatalities and ages five to nine had 43 percent reported fatalities. This category includes apartment communities and multi-family residential buildings.

Even though it's not required to have a lifeguard, apartment properties still have a responsibility for apartment pool safety. This includes securing the pool from wandering outsiders and minimizing safety hazards.

Thankfully, one apartment pool's security camera prevented a potential tragedy. The monitoring operator caught a child climbing the fence by the pool. The operator issued a warning over the speaker and fortunately, the child climbed down and left.

These three reasons more than justify the need to make apartment community security a high priority. Additionally, apartments and condos have an 85 percent greater chance of being burglarized than single-family homes according to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC).

3 Ways to Minimize Security Concerns in Apartment Communities

Condos, multifamily residential buildings, and apartment communities have different needs for security. It's wise to create a rental inspection checklist. This contains security-related things to check for as well as general things to inspect.

The internet is filled with examples. Besides, check your city's or state's website. Many states and cities have their own checklists that may reference their laws. This security checklist from Baltimore is an excellent example of a checklist with a focus on the city's requirements.

The following three ways will help deter crimes in your apartment building.

1. Add Remote Video Surveillance

Remote video surveillance is a proactive security solution that can help deter crime. Most traditional security technologies don't catch anything until after a crime occurs. The way remote video surveillance works is that a security specialist will strategically place cameras around the apartment community and property. The specialist will make sure the security cameras have eyes on the entire property.

Monitoring operators don't work alone. They get help from video analytics. This technology has many programmed scenarios that it looks for until it finds a match. When there's a match, it alerts the monitoring operator. This person isn't located on the apartment property. They work remotely, which keeps them safe and prevents them from conspiring with employees.

As soon as someone suspicious approaches the property, the operator can issue an audio warning. If that doesn't work, then the operator can call the police while tracking the suspect and gives updates to the police. Law enforcement tends to arrest the suspects before damage occurs. Additionally, video surveillance lowers liability.

Video surveillance is more affordable than you think. You could potentially see a return on your security investment within four months.

2. Implement an Access Control System

Every multi-family residential building is different in how people come into the building. One of the top technologies for controlling over who enters and exits the building is with an access control system. An access control system lets you keep the doors locked at all times. Employees and residents can enter the building with an access card.

However, it's possible for piggybacking and tailgating to happen with an access control system. Unfortunately, resolving these issues requires education. A resident may let a stranger into the building. It's human nature to be polite and let someone in. This is where an integrated security system can help.

Access control combined with remote video surveillance can watch over the entrance. Remember, video surveillance uses a combination of video analytics and human intelligence to catch problems early. As soon as anyone piggybacks into the building, video surveillance can alert the trained monitoring operator. The operator can issue a warning and tell the person who is piggybacking to leave the building.

An example of how access control and cameras work well together is by matching the time stamp from the access control with the video to see when someone entered. This is just one of many benefits of an integrated security system. This security solution helps enhance security, save on costs, and mitigate risks.

3. Maintain Lighting and Landscaping

Intruders search for dark, shadowy places. Lighting takes that away from them. Lighting is one of the easiest and cheapest security solutions. To implement an effective lighting system, you'll need to determine how many lights you need, where to install them, and verify using the right kind of lighting. Once you implement your lighting, stay on top of it as you will want to replace any problem lights as soon as possible.

Like bad lighting, landscaping can create hiding places for intruders. Landscaping is important because it makes residents feel welcome. It's more important for the landscaping to not have any negative impact on security. After designing and implementing the zero negative impact on security landscaping, it's critical to maintain it. Overgrown trees and shrubs give suspects a place to hide.

How to Get Started with Apartment Building Security

Condos, apartment communities, and multi-family residential buildings have different security requirements than other industries. Start by talking to security companies with experience in multi-residential communities.

Stealth works with many asset owners and property managers. When you choose Stealth, our security experts can design a custom security system for your property. We work to build right-sized solutions.

If you already have security cameras installed, we can watch your cameras. We can also do system health checks to ensure they're working. Anytime our system health check finds a problem, we can frequently fix it without coming to your property.

Even within the multifamily property industry, every condo and apartment community will need a custom solution. To learn more, check out this Complete Guide to Securing Your Apartment Building.

The guide dives into security for your apartment community while protecting your employees, residents, visitors, and vendors. It also shares four lines of defense you need in apartment building security. You'll learn how to choose the right security solution without overpaying for it. Ready to learn more? Contact us.

Posted in: Crime Prevention, Video Security Systems, Security Guards & Savings, Security Tips, Video Monitoring