Housing communities offer residents the comfort of improved safety and living standards. Compared to other urban residential buildings or living situations, they’re perceived to be safer for the inhabitants. But research suggests that while opportunistic burglaries are lower in gated communities, the risk of other crimes is not significantly lower. This may be the reason why many communities have opted to have security guards within their neighborhoods.
This article explores how security guards can keep a community safe as well as best practices to do so. But first, let’s have a look at a couple of other elements that can improve the safety within a residential community.
Here are a couple of steps you can take to make your community safer:
Ideally, everyone in a housing community should come together to build and manage the security program. But realistically, it’s best to get a team of interested representatives to handle the overall security program.
The security requirements of the community may change with time and different homeowners will have their own concerns and priorities. By assigning a responsible team, the community can be assured that all of their interests will be represented. The team can coordinate the installation of security systems and alarms, liaise with the security team as well as the homeowners, and make sure that the program doesn’t lag behind.
For robust and effective security, the systems and teams cannot be just set up and left behind. The systems and the security teams must be inspected and reevaluated regularly. And the team of representatives can take care of this.
A security audit can help the community find out the vulnerable areas that may need reinforcements. There may be spaces in the area where bad actors can enter through, maybe the individual homes need better locks, or maybe the residents need more awareness regarding safety measures.
As the community attempts to improve its safety and security, a detailed security audit from a team of experienced professionals can act as a starting point. The team can also suggest security measures based on the risks; if there has been a spate of burglaries in the region, maybe the community needs a stronger strategy. But if they’re in a relatively safer neighborhood, they could do with just the basic safety measures.
The security audit should give you a good picture of the security risks your community is facing. But it is also important to involve the residents when developing a security plan. They may have concerns that may not have been taken into account in the security audit. For example, some of your residents may be high net worth individuals, some may face security threats due to the nature of their jobs, or some may have attracted unwanted attention from bad actors.
You’ll also need to consider the contributions expected from households for implementing the security measures. Improved security can be a recurring cost and the community will have to strike a balance among all the households based on the security risks.
Maybe a couple of surveillance cameras may be enough, in some cases, they may need access control to the community, and in certain situations, armed patrol may be necessary. The community needs to find out an effective security strategy that is acceptable to all.
A simple access control system can improve the safety of your neighborhood significantly. In most cases, an RFID access control system that opens the gates with a key fob or a tag would work.
Communities can also invest in intruder alarms to improve their security. Besides notifying the homeowners, you can also configure the system to alert a designated security team.
If there is a risk of vandals or if there are frequent burglaries in the area, CCTV cameras on the street may help mitigate the risks to an extent.
While the systems can improve safety, it’s also important that members of the community are aware of how they work and that they are using them. If homeowners fail to set up the alarms when they leave the homes or inspect them regularly, these security systems won’t help keep the community safe.
Burglar alarms and intruder alert systems can help you detect crimes, but to respond to these incidents, you need trained professionals. If the alerts go off, homeowners or community members need to respond on time without risking bodily harm to themselves. And security teams are trained for just that.
By regularly monitoring the community premises and watching out for suspicious activity, security guards can improve the safety and security of a residential community. Even the presence of security guards can act as a deterrent for potential burglars.
During community events or other occasions when there may be guests, these security guards can manage access and ensure that only invited people are entering the premises.
The presence of security guards makes it a tough place for burglars or people with criminal intent. It makes it difficult for potential criminals to check out homes for potential vulnerabilities. Besides burglaries, security guards can also guard against vandalism and other petty crimes and keep the neighborhood a safe place to be at.
While a housing community can invest in the best tech that can deter criminals, there may still be weak points. There may be areas not covered by CCTV cameras or intruder alert systems. And in some cases, intruders may destroy these devices or disable them. In these situations, an on-duty security guard can detect and thwart any untoward incidents. They serve as an extra layer of security for the residents.
Security guards can also manage access control to the community. They can guard the entry to the area and make sure that only the people who live there and their guests enter the premises.
Besides security from intruders, well-trained security guards can keep the community safe from other incidents that threaten the safety of the residents. For example, in case of fire or if a resident needs medical assistance, trained security personnel can act as first responders, provide first aid, and coordinate the next steps.
For effective security, the team has to be accessible to the homeowners. They should be able to reach them immediately in case there is an emergency. Without easy access, security teams will not be able to intervene on time to prevent mishaps. Besides emergency situations, homeowners should also be able to notify the guards in case they’re hosting events, having guests, or in case they notice anything suspicious.
This will ensure a quick response from the guards in case someone breaks in. Even when the homeowners are not present, the guards can check and deter any burglars or other intruders on time. Security systems must be planned and implemented in coordination with the security guards and the overall security strategy.
The patrol routes of the guards must cover the entire neighborhood regularly. But at the same time, the schedules must be random enough. If the routes or timings of the guards are predictable, it will leave give intruders a schedule to plan their entry and exit leaving the entire neighborhood vulnerable.
Make sure that guards in your neighborhood are trained well to deter any security threats. They should be trained according to the needs of the neighborhood and the security it needs. For example, if there are a lot of elderly in the community, guards trained in first aid may be helpful. If it’s a high-risk neighborhood with a lot of incidents in the area or if there are high net-worth individuals, the guards may have to be armed. In such cases, make sure they have the necessary training and license to carry.
They should also be adept at using any systems or technology the community may be used for security.
It’s important to make sure that there are detailed logs of security patrols to ensure that they cover the entire neighborhood. It also helps ensure that the guards are alert, on time, and on duty.
You can use NFC or RFID solutions to keep track of guards during their patrol. You can place these NFC or RFID along the patrol route, and with the help of apps like TargPatrol, ensure that they cover the route on time. If the guards are late, or in the worst case scenario they’re incapacitated, the app will raise alerts which will help the team then respond on time.
The guards should also maintain detailed logs of any suspicious activity they may come across. And guards should review these logs before they go on patrols to see if there’s a pattern.
The security needs of a community may change with time. The crime rate in the neighborhood can change, the people living in the community may change, and the risk they face will also subsequently change. To be most efficient, the community must review the security policies and make suitable changes.
If there are any known threats, for instance, if a resident has faced any threats or is a high-risk individual, or if there have been any incidents in the community recently, the security team should be made aware of the threats. This will help them better prepare the security strategy and protect the premises.
The team should be wearing comfortable shoes, the right type of clothing, a uniform to identify them, as well as communication equipment. Armed guards should carry their weapons securely on them and make sure they’re functioning properly before they go on patrols.