Crime Prevention Tips for Multifamily Property Managers

crime preventionAnnual events such as National Crime Prevention Month and National Night Out have long served as valuable reminders that crime is ever-present, and apartment communities are certainly not immune. With the main drivers of crime in multifamily being drugs, firearms and gangs, property managers must be aware of the problem signs and put a sustainable crime prevention plan into action.

Here are 5 crime prevention tips for multifamily property managers that can help boost retention and promote resident safety.

Make community staff easily identifiable

Property staff including leasing agents and maintenance personnel should carry a picture ID badge at all times to ensure that they are easily identifiable by residents. Additionally, all maintenance personnel should wear the same uniform. In many cases, criminals who use tools and equipment to enter residences are mistaken for maintenance staff if attire isn’t standardized.

Improve security systems

Without an effective community security policy in place, resident retention and resulting damages can become costly. Security tools such as CCTV monitoring, restricted entry systems, and electronic key control systems can make a world of difference. If you already have security systems in place, make sure they are in working order and provide community-wide coverage. Additionally, give perpetrators nowhere to hide by ensuring public walkways and parking areas are well lit.

Screen potential residents and employees

If individuals with an extensive criminal record are denied access to your community from the get-go, the likelihood of criminal activity occurring in the future is significantly reduced. Screening residents and employees can also provide current and future residents with peace of mind knowing they live in a community that values safety.

Educate your residents

Your community can be a powerful ally against crime if enabled. Remind residents to keep doors and windows locked and to report any suspicious activity. Establishing a designated email address or telephone number for community crime tips can help in streamlining the process.

Partner with local law enforcement

A partnership with your local police department can be mutually beneficial. As a property manager, you know where the crime is and what problems exist in your community. Using a your insider knowledge, local law enforcement officers can quickly establish a presence and remove wanted individuals from the community. To maintain a crime-free community, multifamily crime prevention programs and local training seminars are also available.

4 Tips for Preventing Key Loss

key lossIn any large property, whether it be a factory, military base, school or multifamily community, the danger of lost keys is an ongoing concern. Unfortunately, key loss happens all the time, usually due to poor organization, human error or both. Every time it happens, your building becomes more vulnerable. When high security is required, locks must be changed whenever a key turns up missing — a costly prospect. Electronic card keys can mitigate this risk because they can be programmed to expire, but few management companies have the money to transition all doors and locks to card keys. So how can you prevent key loss, or at least make the risk more manageable? Here are four tips to help out:

1. Set up an established protocol

One of the best ways to keep keys from wandering off is to have an established system in place for managing them. If you and your staff always know where the keys are kept and how to check them in and out, the rate of key loss is reduced significantly, simply because you always know where the keys are supposed to be.

2. Implement a tracking system

Of course, having a key check-in/check-out system is only part of the solution here. The other piece is to have a tracking system in place — an auditing system by which you document who has which keys, for what purpose, when they checked them out, when the keys are due back, and when they actually get checked in. This way, you can quickly identify anomalies in the patterns, and if a key does go missing, you’ll always know who had it last and can trace it back to the point at which it was dropped.

3. Store keys securely

When keys are not in use, they should themselves be kept locked in a safe place. The worst type of key loss is the one in which keys are left out and “lifted” by someone who has no business with them. Keep keys safe, and restrict access so only authorized people can get to them.

4. Train your staff

Whatever protocol you set in place for key management, make sure your entire team is trained in how to access keys, how to check them out and in, and how to carry the keys when they have them. The more consistently the protocol is practiced, the easier it is to detect unusual behaviors — and of course, the fewer keys are lost due to oversight or negligence.

There’s only so much you can do to offset human error, and even with the best systems in place, you might still lose a key from time to time. However, these tips can go a long way toward preventing key loss or reducing the occurrences of it. For more information on effective key control, contact HandyTrac today.