With many tenants living in close proximity—and sharing any range of common spaces such as lobbies, hallways, parking garages, laundry facilities, workout rooms, swimming pools, etc.—the security of an entire apartment complex can pose unique challenges.
In order to ensure a safe and secure environment for all residents, a property manager must have a system in place that deters crime and flags suspicious activity of all kinds. These activities can range from trespassing to loitering, parking problems to noise violations, and drug activity to domestic violence.
To answer these needs, there is no substitute for having a qualified security professional on patrol. A security officer functions as a key deterrent to criminal activity, a real-time responder in any situation, and a customizable solution for property owners and managers.
The following are just some of the benefits of hiring a security guard to patrol your apartment complex.
A security officer deters crime and unauthorized activity.
The most effective way to deter criminal activity is to make a building unattractive to potential criminals and burglars. This means heightening the real and perceived risk of committing a crime. The presence of a uniformed guard—armed or unarmed—is a simple way to send the message that the property is being watched and protected.
Criminologist Philip Cook of Duke University asserts that private security efforts are playing an important role in reducing crime, with an emphasis on security guards. He notes that as the number of private security guards employed nationwide has grown—now far outnumbering police—there has been a significant drop in crime rates.
Qualified security guards should have the training and communication skills necessary to diffuse conflict. They are also usually equipped with uniforms and patrol cars that resemble those of law enforcement officers. All of this—an officer’s physical presence, appearance and targeted skills—contributes to deterring crime and making residents and guests feel safe.
A security officer reacts in real-time, with a professional, measured response to each scenario.
Every apartment manager should have a plan in the case that an actual situation or emergency arises. Emergency management is the building owner’s legal responsibility, and there should be someone on call to answer residents’ concerns and problems. Security officers meet these needs, as long as they are properly qualified and equipped.
Domestic violence is one example of a situation that calls for quick, measured response. Officers can step in to stop violence in the act, apprehend the perpetrator and properly document the situation for litigation. In a 2014 case of domestic violence in a Memphis apartment complex, the real-time response of a neighbor, security guard and police officers was credited with saving a victim’s life. In this case, it was the security professionals who provided details of criminal trespass and assault—evidence that was used in court.
An effective security professional is trained in observing, responding to and documenting a variety of issues. The most effective officers are also monitored, managed and supported remotely, in real-time, by supervisors.
Cutting-edge management technologies—through GPS and motion sensors—can ensure that security officers remain on patrol and safe. In addition, communication devices allow officers to make quick decisions with expert supervisory input. This also reduces any potential risk of deploying security guards, while also increasing their effectiveness.
Security guard surveillance can be customized to meet the unique needs of each property.
An apartment building’s security risks and needs will likely vary according to the time of day, week or season, and shifts can be adjusted accordingly. A building’s security needs may also vary with the presence of certain high-profile guests or tenants, such as government officials, corporate executives and diplomats.
Security professionals offer a flexible, customizable solution to a building’s security needs. Officers may be deployed 24/7, or just for one or two shifts. Guards may be armed or unarmed—again, according to need.
There also might be certain physical areas of the complex that call for extra vigilance. For example, security risks are usually higher in parking lots and garages, especially at night. A nighttime patrol may target these areas and even provide the added service of escorting residents from parking lot to building.
When it comes to the safety and security of an apartment complex, the stakes are high for property owners, managers and residents alike. It is, in fact, the legal responsibility of apartment complex owners and management companies “to protect all residents and guests legally on premises from any foreseeable harm.”
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