The sad fact is that apartments have an 85 percent greater likelihood of being burglarized than single-family-homes according to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). That’s why one of the things that prospective tenants look for in an apartment complex is safety. They want to know they can come home every day without fearing for their safety and security. This justifies the need to put security at the top of the list of apartment amenities.
No matter what neighborhood your apartment building is in, your property has a responsibility to provide a secure environment for its tenants and employees. Implementing the right apartment security systems can increase tenant satisfaction and foster a sense of community.
You may have thought about lighting and keeping the landscaping trimmed to prevent hiding spaces. Those are a great start and one of the cheapest and most effective ways to create a secure environment.
One option worth investigating is remote video monitoring, which adds another layer of security. Plain surveillance cameras don’t always have people watching them. With live remote video monitoring, you can rest easy knowing someone has eyes on your building even when you are not on the property.
The Top Reasons Apartments Use Live Video Monitoring
Apartment buildings have the benefit and drawback of housing many residents who come and go. No one is going to know everyone. A properly designed apartment video monitoring system can do a better job of watching for suspicious activity while creating a safe place to live. Implementing video surveillance communicates to your tenants that you care about their safety.
Live video monitoring offers these benefits:
- Can cut risks and liability
- Can save on insurance premiums
- Can enhance productivity and customer service
- Can increase operational income
Check out these five reasons to use remote monitoring at your condo or apartment complex.
Can Bring in More Tenants
Yes, every multifamily residential property has different requirements and needs. Nonetheless, one thing many tenants have in common — regardless of age or geographical location — is the desire for security. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers prefer apartments that have video monitoring and security systems per the National Apartment Association. And Gen Y? Schlage and Wakefield Research finds that 61 percent of Gen Y want increased security.
Moreover, it will help attract tenants who want to work from home. An IWG study referenced on CNBC finds that 70 percent of people work remotely at least once a week. The New York Times highlights a Gallup survey that says more than 40 percent of working Americans work remotely for at least some of the time. Thus, many of your tenants who work out of their apartments spend the bulk of their time there. This amplifies the need for creating a more secure environment.
Can Deter Crime
Just having cameras and signs indicating “Property under video surveillance” deters some crime. Of course, these do not stop all criminals. Otherwise, we would not see apartment crimes showing up in the news.
When you inform tenants about your video monitoring efforts, it will help give them peace of mind. Furthermore, they may be less likely to attempt to vandalize or break-in when they know about the surveillance and that someone is watching them.
An unmonitored camera system takes the passive approach, which is less likely to stop crime before it happens. With remote monitoring, offsite trained security operators watch your property 24/7 or whatever the contract stipulates. (Some businesses only do night-time monitoring.) When they’re watching the cameras, the security technology combines video analytics with human intelligence to catch activity when it happens, alert the operator to verify the activity, and act as needed.
Another way to deter crime is to incorporate an audio speaker with video monitoring. This allows the trained operator to warn the suspect. One apartment complex avoided a potential tragedy when the trained security operator used the speaker to alert a child who climbed the fence outside of the pool. The child climbed back down and ran away.
Can Prevent Need for Expensive Security Guards
While having a trained security guard on your property may sound like a good idea, it can lead to more problems than benefits. A CNN and the Center for Investigative Reporting study has found that many new security guards have a criminal history. Some for domestic violence, some for drug and alcohol offenses, and some with disciplinary problems from past jobs in law enforcement.
The study has also found that 15 states require no firearms training to be a licensed security guard. Nine do not require a federal criminal background check, 10 states do not require fingerprinting or background checks, and five don’t have any licensing requirements. Moreover, companies hire security guards without proper training. In short, security guards can be a liability risk for your property.
Are security guards or live video monitoring better? Although operating monitors are not on site, they can spot crime before it happens. When they do, they call the authorities who often arrive in time before criminals do any damage or leave the premises. Operators work in shifts, which keeps fresh eyes on your property.
They don’t build a relationship with tenants or employees. This greatly reduces the risk of internal threats. Employees know the security system and its weaknesses. It makes it easier for them to commit a crime and get away with it. Video surveillance is one of the best ways to guard against employee and security guard theft.
Can Increase Property Value
Several companies working with Stealth saw their property values climb after implementing video monitoring. Since most tenants prefer apartments with security as an amenity, they’re more likely to stay longer and keep the costs of turnover low.
Whenever a resident moves out, you spend money to clean up and repaint the empty apartment for its next tenant. The longer you keep a tenant, the higher the ROI. Because security is visible via cameras, residents won’t forget about the amenity.
Can Provide Recorded Evidence
If a crime or complaint arises, you’ll have recorded evidence of what happened. This is useful for police investigations and court proceedings. You will not be beholden to a she-said, he-said situation. Video monitoring systems record 24/7 and retain the recordings for a set time. The length depends on the vendor. Be sure to ask about that.
Factors to Consider in an Apartment Video Surveillance Solution
Remember the part about many people living in an apartment building who are strangers to each other? That’s why it’s important to have experienced security experts design a camera system that does not have blind spots. You want to ensure no one can slip in undetected. If there are blind spots, employees and residents will find them.
A customized security plan will include recommendations of where to post the cameras. The security consultant knows what to look for such as common areas like laundry rooms and parking lots. You want to respect your residents’ privacy. That means making sure there are no cameras in their private spaces.
Not just any camera can do the job. Some are not a high enough resolution to making out faces and other identifying information. What’s the point of monitoring if the images are blurry?
Working with the right consultant helps you verify you install the right cameras for your needs. While the days of grainy videos are all but gone, there are still many cameras on the market that do not see well enough.
You want high-resolution security surveillance cameras
that can see day and night regardless of lighting conditions and weather. The cameras need to be able to make out identifying information such as license plates and faces.
Another factor in an effective video monitoring program is to have one with a fail-safe system and a back-up plan that lists every possible scenario of what could go wrong and how to fix each one. Power outages happen. Such a plan outlines the processes and steps for such situations and how to help prevent potential problems like inclement weather that move or damage the cameras.
Benefits of Working with Live Video Monitoring Experts
Having your staff do the monitoring splits their time and resources. They also do not have the training to do it effectively. You’ll see a faster ROI when you work with an experienced live video monitoring company.
When an incident occurs that calls for reviewing hours and hours of video footage, it will require a lot of time. Trained security analysts do it faster because they have the training to scan and spot the activity in question.
To truly benefit and see a fast ROI requires regular system health checks. Cameras break and stop working. That’s a fact of life with technology. Experienced security consultants conduct system health checks. They may even fix problems remotely without stepping on your property. In some cases, the technology may need a technician onsite. An international company like Stealth has the resources to make that happen.
Considering renters of all ages list security as one of their top priorities, providing a comprehensive video monitoring solution can multiply the value of your property. Even affordable housing serving low- and moderate-income families have been able to moderately raise the rent after implementing a video solution.
Video monitoring helps your building stand out from others and delivers the best ROI while giving your tenants something they want: security. To learn more about monitoring services and the other apartment security options to help you maintain a safe and secure building, please contact us. If you’d like to do a little reading first, you might want to get your free complete guide to apartment security.