When you own or manage any type of multifamily housing, resident safety must always be a top priority. Understandably, the larger the community, the more challenging it becomes to keep people and property safe. With more units, more keys and more employees also come more opportunities for lapses in security, possibly resulting in one or more residents becoming victims of theft, vandalism or even more violent crimes.
Fortunately, by thinking proactively, there are a number of ways you can implement a security structure to help ensure resident safety in even the largest multifamily communities. Let’s look at a few key ways to accomplish this goal.
One of the first and best deterrents to criminal activity is the use of 24-7 surveillance through the use of video cameras. Thieves and other criminals don’t like to be identified, and a well-placed set of video cameras helps fill in the gaps where your security staff can’t physically be present. Many surveillance systems today can even be monitored and controlled from anywhere via Internet access.
Key Control Systems
One of the most common vulnerabilities in any multifamily residence is the proliferation of keys to the units. A properly designed key control system like HandyTrac solves this problem by keeping unit keys guarded and monitored by a computerized system accessible only by employees. These systems may be activated either by employee badge or by fingerprint, and accurate logs are kept regarding which keys are pulled, when they are pulled and when they are returned. This protocol helps keep all employees accountable, as well as keeping tenants and their property safe.
All public areas of your property should be well-lit, and the bulbs should be changed out regularly to prevent outages. Pay special attention to common parking areas and breezeways as these often provide hiding places for predators to lurk. Also, make sure all unit entrances are appropriately lit, as tenants can become vulnerable when fumbling for their keys.
Gated Entrances and Secure Parking Decks
If your multifamily housing community can accommodate a secure gated entry, this feature provides an excellent layer of safety for your residents. Likewise, if your community or building includes a parking garage, consider installing an automatic door that residents alone may open remotely.
Background Checks and Screening of Employees
Another way to ensure resident safety is to require criminal background checks on every employee in the community prior to hiring them. Thieves and other predators often like to come on board as employees to gain an in, especially when the community is otherwise secured. Background checks provide yet another deterrent to these criminals. Most or all of your applicants will pass background checks; those with felonies on their records most likely won’t even apply.
Property Staff Training
Beyond screening your employees, the next step is to train those employees in proper safety protocols. You would do well to make sure every member of your staff receives training in the following areas:
● CPR and other life saving techniques
● Water safety certification (if your complex has a pool or spa)
● Basic first aid
● Basic maintenance training in property systems (e.g., heating, electrical and water systems)
● Emergency protocols for fire, natural gas smell and other hazards
● Security protocols for reporting suspicious characters or unidentified persons
● Basic self-defense techniques
Some cities offer this type of training as a service; check with your local offices to see what courses may be available for your employees.
Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Of course, crime is not the only danger potentially threatening your residents. Fire presents a constant danger, and odorless carbon monoxide from heaters kills hundreds of people each year. Virtually every state requires smoke alarms to be installed in apartment dwellings, and a growing number of states now require carbon monoxide detectors on every floor, as well. Know the laws in your state, and when appropriate, be willing to exceed those standards to make sure your tenants remain safe in their own units. Educate your residents on the use and testing of these systems.
At HandyTrac, we are committed to resident safety in multifamily, military and student housing.To learn more about our key control solutions, contact HandyTrac today.