Property managers have a number of responsibilities, and one of the most important in ensuring proper security measures are in place to keep residents safe. However, security is a complex issue, and it’s one that requires vigilance and expertise. Here are 10 security practices all residential property managers should implement.
Focus on Communication
Communication is a critical element of managing a property as residents need to pay rent and be able to report problems promptly. However, residents sometimes have to look online or dig up paperwork in order to find phone numbers, and this trend will only continue as more property management companies allow residents to pay online. Consider picking up refrigerator magnets or other convenient items that can list your office’s phone number, and encourage residents to call if they notice anything suspicious. It’s also worth telling residents to call law enforcement if they have any concerns about activity they notice nearby, but also encourage them to let you know.
Uniforms and ID Badges
One of the easiest way for burglars to gain access to a property is to wear a work uniform; many residents will assume they have permission to be on the property. By having your workers wear consistent uniforms, residents might notice something is amiss is someone wearing an unfamiliar uniform is in the neighborhood. Consider having everyone wear ID badges as well. This provides residents with peace of mind and makes it easier to determine if someone is meant to be on the property.
Invest in Cameras
The cost of camera security systems has dropped dramatically over the years, and even basic systems can outperform expensive security systems in use not long ago. Furthermore, digital recording lets you store a large amount of footage on relatively cheap hard drives, and wireless recording capabilities makes it easy to place and move cameras wherever they’re needed. Cameras show your residents that you care about their security, and visible cameras can be enough to deter criminals from targeting your property or residents. Make sure to consult with professionals before installing cameras; the experts at Invision Security, for example, can provide guidance for making the most of your camera investment.
Invest in Access Control
Access control systems help you ensure your residents that only people authorized to access your property will be able to do so. Fortunately, costs of such systems have dropped over the years, and digital systems can be upgraded over time. Access control systems provide more control than keys or basic authorization cards, and they let you track movement, which can help you locate suspicion activity even among those authorized to access your properties. It’s also worth taking an integrated approach; consider working with a single supplier, such as Invision Security, who can provide an integrated and centralized virtual command center.
Focus on Dark Areas
Parking lots that aren’t illuminated at night are prime targets for criminals as they make it easy to hide and wait. Furthermore, homeless people use them to evade detection, and it can be frightening for residents to stumble across them. Invest in lighting for parking lots to deter unauthorized activity. Focus on parking garages, which often contain areas where it’s easy for people to hide. If you have security guards, ensure they patrol dark areas on a regular basis.
Rely on Screening
Before allowing someone to rent one of your properties, make sure to run a background check. It’s up to property managers to determine what type of history is disqualifying, but a history of certain crimes means an individual is more likely to commit additional crimes in the future. Make sure to check out potential employees as well, and note that there may be liability issues if an employee with a previous criminal history causes harm to a resident or visitor.
It’s easy for employees to fail to notice that a lock, for example, has become rusty and doesn’t work anymore, but criminals are likely to take note. Preventative maintenance helps ensure that you catch potential vulnerabilities before they can be exploited. Damage to your properties typically occurs slowly, and it’s not always easy to note when regular degradation turns into a security risk. Scheduled checks are key for finding when you need to replace items.
Invest in Alarms
Much like security cameras, modern alarm systems are far cheaper than those used in the past, so consider installing alarm systems in all of your units. Note that alarm systems are only useful if they’re used, and new residents may not use their alarm systems if they aren’t trained how to do so. Spending a few minutes going over the basics of an alarm system can encourage your residents to use them whenever they leave their home. Choosing the right alarm systems for your properties is important, and Invision Security can ensure the alarms you purchase are ideal for your property.
Community Crime Watches
If you own a larger property, you likely have residents who would enjoy serving as part of a community crime watch group. Inquire if your residents would be interested in such a program, and provide a space to meet and discuss how to best implement a crime watch schedule. Make sure to set appropriate guidelines and that all volunteers know who to call. Fortunately, these organizations often sustain themselves after they’ve been put into motion.
Secure Sensitive Areas
Supply closets are commonly targeted by criminals, and a simple lock might not be enough to keep intruders out. Consider investing in electric locks, or use deadbolts or other secondary locks to make break-ins more difficult. Be even more cautious with engineering rooms and other highly sensitive locations as simple intrusions can cause significant safety risks and lead to potentially expensive repairs.
Property management is an exciting field, but it’s one that requires taking on a number of roles. Fortunately, there are experts available to help you handle certain tasks, and security is certainly one of them. If you have questions about securing your property or anything else, Invision Security can help.