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Multifamily Community Security Tips for the Spooky Season

security tips for the spooky seasonAs the spooky season approaches, multifamily communities need to take extra precautions to ensure the safety and security of their residents. With Halloween just around the corner, it’s essential to address potential security concerns that may arise during this time of year. In this blog post, we’ll explore some multifamily community security tips to keep everyone safe and enjoy a worry-free spooky season.

Well-Lit Common Areas

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to enhance security during the spooky season is to ensure that common areas are well-lit. Adequate lighting in hallways, parking lots, and common areas can deter potential intruders and provide residents with a sense of security. Consider using motion-activated lighting to save energy while maintaining a high level of security.

Secure Entry Points

Make sure that all entry points to the community, including doors and gates, are properly secured. Ensure that locks are functioning correctly, and consider implementing access control systems for added security.

Clear Landscaping

Overgrown bushes and trees can provide hiding spots for would-be intruders. Trim back any vegetation that could obstruct the view of windows and entryways. A well-maintained landscape not only enhances the curb appeal of your multifamily community but also contributes to security.

Neighborhood Watch Programs

Encourage residents to look out for one another by creating a neighborhood watch program. Residents can form a group to keep an eye on the community and report any suspicious activity to the property management or local authorities. This sense of community can help deter potential security threats.

Communication and Education

Educate residents about security best practices, especially during the spooky season. Remind them to keep their doors and windows locked, even when at home, and to be cautious when opening their doors to strangers. Encourage residents to report any unusual activity or concerns promptly.

Halloween Safety Guidelines

As Halloween approaches, provide residents with safety guidelines to ensure a fun and safe celebration. Recommend well-lit pathways for trick-or-treaters, and discourage residents from leaving valuable items on display, which can attract unwanted attention. Consider organizing community Halloween events to keep residents within the safety of the community.

Security Cameras

Install security cameras in strategic locations throughout the multifamily community. Visible cameras can act as a deterrent to potential intruders, and they can also provide valuable evidence in case of an incident. Ensure that the cameras are regularly maintained and that the footage is securely stored.

Key Control

One of the most critical aspects of multifamily community security during the spooky season is effective key control. Key control systems play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety and peace of mind of both property managers and residents. Halloween festivities can bring a surge of visitors and increased foot traffic, making it essential to have stringent control over access points. HandyTrac systems offer a modern and efficient solution that goes beyond the limitations of traditional lock-and-key methods. With features like instant reporting, audit trail, and the ability to grant or revoke access, key control systems are invaluable tools to maintain security during this season of tricks and treats. They help prevent unauthorized access, deter potential intruders, and keep a watchful eye on the safety of your multifamily community, ensuring that residents can fully enjoy the spooky season without any security concerns.

The spooky season should be a time of fun and celebration in multifamily communities, but it’s also crucial to prioritize safety and security. By following these security tips, property managers and residents can work together to create a secure environment that allows everyone to enjoy the season without fear. Remember, a safe community is a thriving community. Happy Halloween!

Streamlining Property Management: The Role of HandyTrac in Enhancing Administrative Efficiency

administrative efficiency

Property management involves a multitude of tasks that require precision, organization, and efficiency. In an era where technology is reshaping the way we manage various aspects of property management, innovative solutions have emerged to alleviate the challenges faced by property managers. One such solution, HandyTrac Systems, offers a comprehensive approach to key control that not only enhances security but also significantly streamlines administrative processes. Here’s how HandyTrac empowers property managers by boosting administrative efficiency and simplifying key management.

Automated Reporting and Data Accessibility

Gone are the days of sifting through piles of paperwork to generate reports. HandyTrac’s digital approach allows property managers to access comprehensive and up-to-date reports with just a few clicks. This feature ensures that vital information, such as key usage logs and access history, is readily available whenever needed. By automating reporting, HandyTrac minimizes administrative overhead and allows property managers to focus on more strategic tasks.

Updates and Notifications

HandyTrac’s key monitoring capabilities provide property managers with instant access to key usage information. When a key is accessed, property managers can receive notifications, offering a clear overview of who is using keys and when. This real-time visibility enables rapid responses to any irregularities and ensures that access is managed effectively.

Efficient Permissions Processes

Transitions in property staff often present logistical challenges for property managers. With HandyTrac’s digital system, managing permissions processes becomes a seamless endeavor. Property managers can swiftly update access permissions and revoke privileges as needed, ensuring that only authorized individuals can access units.

Simplified Key Tracking and Accountability

Property managers are responsible for maintaining a detailed record of key assignments and usage. HandyTrac’s system simplifies this process by digitally tracking key movements and access. This comprehensive record enhances accountability and minimizes the risk of key-related incidents. Property managers can easily review historical data and identify any discrepancies or patterns.

Reduced Administrative Errors

The shift from manual key management to HandyTrac’s electronic key control system significantly reduces the likelihood of human errors. Misplaced keys and miscommunication regarding key assignments become rare occurrences. This reduction in errors fosters a more secure and organized environment within the property.

Enhanced Communication and Collaboration

HandyTrac’s cloud-based approach facilitates seamless communication and collaboration among property management teams. Authorized personnel can access the system from any location, promoting efficient coordination and ensuring that everyone is on the same page regarding key access and security.

In an industry that demands meticulous attention to detail and effective organization, HandyTrac Systems stands as a game-changer for property managers. By automating reporting, providing accurate updates, streamlining key tracking, and offering efficient permissions processes, HandyTrac significantly enhances administrative efficiency. As technology continues to reshape property management practices, HandyTrac is leading the way in simplifying key management and allowing property managers to focus on strategic initiatives that contribute to the success of their properties.

Miya’s Law Strengthens Renter Safety in Florida, Highlights Need for Key Control

Miya's Law

Last month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law requiring apartment communities to maintain a log accounting for the issuance and return of all keys and establish policies for their issuance, return, and storage.

Miya’s Law”, named after Miya Marcano, a young college student who was murdered last year at the apartment complex where she lived and worked, elevates security on residential properties with stricter background checks and limitations on the use of master keys.

Marcano’s family had been pushing for the protection since the 19-year-old was killed in September 2021 when police said a maintenance worker who had a master key to her unit killed her.

“Every tenant deserves to be safe in their own home,” DeSantis said in a statement following the passage of the new law. “By signing this legislation, we are making it safer to live in a rental unit and giving renters more peace of mind in their homes. Miya’s death was a tragedy, and our prayers continue to be with the Marcano family. I am proud to act on their behalf to help prevent a tragedy like that from happening to another Florida tenant.”

With over 2 million renters in the state of Florida, the use of secure electronic key control systems has become a necessity for multifamily communities to help save lives, instill a sense of security and reduce premises liability.

HandyTrac protects over 5 million apartment units nationwide and offers a number of features including audit trail maintenance and remote reporting to ensure your multifamily community meets the requirements of Miya’s Law. To learn more about HandyTrac Key Control systems, contact us today.

Sources:

https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/florida-gov-signs-miyas-law-to-strengthen-renter-safety-after-students-murder/2793232/

Five Frequently Overlooked Security Measures

security measuresSecurity is one aspect of property management that often leaves something to be desired. Many organizations think they have their bases covered, yet there are a variety of factors that are often overlooked, and these factors can have lasting impacts if exploited.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of five frequently overlooked security measures. Here we will examine the risks and offer some advice on how to address said measures.

1. Physical security

The use of traditional lock systems can be a great way to secure your units, buildings, and equipment; but what happens if the key goes missing?

To prevent physical keys from falling into the wrong hands, the use of an electronic key control system like HandyTrac is highly recommended. In addition to safe storage, electronic key control systems offer a variety of features designed to prevent key loss and theft including real time reporting, multi-factor authentication, key anonymization, randomized rotation, and audit trail maintenance.

2. Handling and disposal of paper records

Documents containing sensitive information are often disposed of improperly or left lying around in the office. Although these documents and bits of information may seem insignificant to some, they have the potential to hurt the company if discovered by a skilled criminal.

To ensure that all sensitive documentation is properly handled and disposed of, consider implementing a company-wide policy. Doing so helps to provide a standard for employees and promotes a culture of accountability. A great place to start is a company-wide shredding policy.

3. Network security

Much like your buildings, your network has various access points that must be protected. Effective network security targets a variety of threats and prevents them from accessing sensitive information. To determine the state of your network, consider conducting a network audit. An audit can help to uncover vulnerabilities within your network and improve overall security.

4. Breach Planning

Data breaches can hurt your brand, customer confidence and reputation, so it’s important to establish a breach response plan ahead of time to minimize the damage. To be effective, a data breach response plan should include the following:

– A definition of a breach
– A list of response team members
– The action steps for handling the breach
– A follow-up procedure

Once your plan is in place, educate your employees and test it often to ensure its effectiveness. A little bit of preparation can go a long way!

5. Security education for employees

People have quickly become the largest security vulnerability in any organization. Employees are frequently targeted  by hackers through various phishing attempts, and with over 90% of cybersecurity issues originating from human error within an organization, an investment in security education is worthwhile. Not sure where to begin? Here are some training best practices to get you started.

Using Computerized Key Control to Prevent Mail Theft

mail-theftTasked with the handling and delivery of nearly 188 million pieces of mail each day, postal workers have become prime targets for criminals seeking bank statements, social security numbers and other personal information. Mail theft and subsequently identity theft are increasing at an alarming rate, and property managers can never be too careful.

Recently, a disturbing video was taken inside a Chicago apartment community showing an unnerving trend: thieves with a key. In the video, two men are seen using their own key to not only gain access to numerous apartment buildings, but also the mailbox units inside.

“That feels like such a violation,” said Kathleen, a Chicago resident. “It could lead to identity theft. It could lead to checks being stolen. So I think it’s really disturbing that someone has the key to get into my mailbox.”

This, unfortunately, isn’t just a one-off either. Key thieves have struck multiple parts of the city in recent months with no signs of slowing. Authorities also report an increase in the number of postal carriers “confronted with force” to hand over their key on their routes.

In addition to posing a direct threat to postal employees, mail theft results in stolen personal information which can wreak havoc on the lives of those affected. And if a key is stolen, the solution isn’t as simple as making a new key. That process, referred to as ‘re-keying,’ requires considerable time and money.

Using Computerized Key Control to Prevent Mail Theft

Using a computerized key control system, property managers and postal employees can instantly reveal who checked out a specific key using a secure audit trail. Additionally, users can implement multi-factor authentication procedures, requiring users to offer information such as a pin code (something you know), access cards (something you have) or biometric fingerprint readers (something you are) before gaining access to the system.

Taking property security one step further, computerized key control systems from HandyTrac anonymize property keys and utilize a state of the art bar-coded system. This system prevents users from memorizing where specific keys are hung using random rotation: an automated process that hangs keys in random locations in the box.

With two secure key management systems to choose from, HandyTrac is an affordable and sensible solution for any community or facility.

For more information about our computerized key control systems, contact us today.


References:

Para, Marissa. 2019. Postal Workers Worried About Safety As Mail Thefts Are On The Rise. CBS News Chicago. Retrieved from https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2019/12/31/postal-workers-worried-about-safety-as-mail-thefts-are-on-the-rise/

Case in Point: Smart Key Management Matters

When property management companies operate without a smart key management system in place, they invite unnecessary liability onto the property; putting residents, staff and the company at risk.

Last October, authorities in St. Francis, Wisconsin responded to a multifamily community main office break-in that resulted in the disappearance of 11 separate unit keys. Two residents later reported items missing from their apartments but their doors had been locked.

smart key managementWithout a smart key management system, lost or stolen keys are untraceable. As a result, no suspects or clues were identified in this case, leaving the property management company with eleven compromised locks needing replacement, premises security liability, potential damage compensation charges, and a community full of concerned residents.

With a smart key management system by HandyTrac, property managers can rest easy knowing that community keys are in good hands. Keys are housed within a 18-gauge steel cabinet, anonymized to prevent quick identification and secured using multi-factor authentication procedures. Additionally, our systems offer real-time reporting capabilities, allowing property managers to keep tabs on community keys from any internet-enabled device.

Since the management oversees keys to all units, protecting and monitoring the use of those keys is one of the most important parts of keeping residents safe — and also one of the aspects most likely to be targeted for negligence. Not only do the keys need to be kept secure, but their use needs to be tracked. You need an audit trail — you need to be able to document and trace who had use of the keys, when they obtained them and when they were returned.

To learn more about our smart key management systems, contact us today.

Holiday security tips to share with your multifamily residents

The most wonderful time of the year for many — including criminals — is upon us. Ensure that your multifamily community and its residents are prepared for the holiday season by sharing these holiday security tips in your next community newsletter.

holiday security tipsSecure the perimeter

Make sure all of your doors and windows are locked prior to leaving your home. Most break-ins are done without force. Simply making sure all of your entry ways are locked can be a big deterrent.

Review community guest policies

With the influx of foot traffic during the holiday season, it’s important to remind residents that they are responsible for the conduct and safety of their guests. It’s also important to share rules for guests and overnight visitors, holiday parking changes, or any other restricted activities. Some important things to clarify:

– What CDC restrictions/guidelines are currently in place?

– Are guests able to stay overnight?

– How long are guests allowed to stay before it becomes a violation of the lease agreement?

– Where are guests allowed to park?

– Do guests need permits to park on-site or nearby?

A few gentle reminders can go a long way towards preventing unnecessary security risks.


If you are leaving town…

Put a hold on mail

Put your mail delivery on hold until you return. Putting a hold on your mail and the newspaper will keep them from piling up and letting people know you are not home.

Install timers

Put certain lights within your home on timers. This will give the appearance that your home is occupied, reducing the likelihood of a break-in.

Wait to share

Refrain from posting about your holiday on social media until you return home. While it is exciting to let all of your friends and followers know where you are going, this also means that onlookers can see that you will be leaving your home unattended.

With these simple holiday security tips in mind, HandyTrac would like to wish everyone a safe and relaxing holiday season!


Resources:

The Moran Group. 2018. 10 Holiday Tips for Property Managers and Tenants. Retrieved from femoran.com

How to implement an electronic key system

Implementing an electronic key system can be rewarding for many reasons, the most apparent being an improvement in community security; but how exactly does one accomplish this task?

Step 1: Review your community/facility needs

electronic key systemPrior to selecting and implementing an electronic key system, it’s important to review your community or facility’s needs. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

“How many residents does my community have?”

“Which electronic key control features are most important for my community?”

“Do I require bilingual options?”

“Does my community use Yardi software?”

If you have trouble answering any of these questions, that’s okay! We’re here to help. Contact us at your convenience to speak with a sales representative in your area. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have and layout all the options suitable for your property.

With these questions answered, it’s time to begin the system selection process.

Step 2: Select a system

Between the Standard and Premium Touch, there’s a system for any sized application or budget. A few of HandyTrac’s notable electronic key system features include:

– Stunning touch screen displays

– Instant reporting

Multi-factor authentication

For a full list of electronic key system features, view our products online or contact us to speak with a representative.

Step 3: Installation

Using the tutorials and resources provided by HandyTrac, installation is a breeze. Simply visit the Resources page to get started. And, as always, if you run into any trouble, give us a call!

Step 4: Training your staff

Once you’ve installed your system, it’s time to gather the troops and begin training. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Emphasize the importance of key control. Present and future staff should understand that key control is a top priority for your community. Emphasize that a key system ensures their protection as well as yours.

Keep the process consistent. Once you have the system in place, make as few changes to the process as possible, with possible exception of completely revamping it for security reasons. Every time you change the procedure, you’ll have to retrain your employees.

Make the process as simple and straightforward as possible. This may seem a little paradoxical considering that a secure system requires multiple steps, but if those steps make sense to your employees, they will memorize the process quickly, and it will become second nature through repetition.

And vualá! Your electronic key system has been implemented, providing valuable security and peace of mind for community managers and residents alike.

For more information about HandyTrac, contact us today.

Using Multi-factor Authentication to Improve Key Security

Multi-factor authentication can be a property management company’s best defense against key loss and premises liability. How, you ask? Let’s cover the basics:

multi-factor authenticationWhat is Multi-factor Authentication?

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) has become the standard in recent years for securing internet of things (IoT) devices and systems. Utilizing protocols such as a pin code entry (something you know), access cards (something you have) or biometric fingerprint readers (something you are), MFA protects highly sensitive information and equipment from falling into the wrong hands.

How does MFA improve security?

The primary benefit of MFA is that it provides layered security to otherwise vulnerable data and systems. The more authentication layers/factors in place, the safer your assets are from perpetrators.

MFA meets electronic key control

Implementing layered security features including MFA, randomized key rotation and more, our electronic key control systems offer the highest level of security, reporting and flexibility.

With our Standard Touch model, users are required to complete a two-step authentication process using a unique access card and pin code prior to gaining access. Taking it a step further, our Premium Touch system implements MFA through the addition of a biometric fingerprint reader.

To learn more about our system features and pricing, contact us today!

HandyTrac Fall Trade Show Information

fall trade showWith fall nearly upon us, we’re looking forward to another fantastic season of trade shows! Visit our booth at one of the shows below for a HandyTrac system demo, and see firsthand how HandyTrac helps community staff manage keys and prevent premises liability. We hope to see you there!

AAKC Trade Show
9/25/19
Overland Park Convention Center, Overland Park, KS
Booth #71

The AAKC Trade Show features over 100 Supplier Partners with a variety of products and services for the KC multifamily industry. Reservations are free to all multifamily personnel. For more information, visit the event website.


Florida Apartment Association Conference and Trade Show
10/2 – 10/4/19
Hilton Bonnet Creek, Orlando, FL
Booth #216

The FAA Annual Conference & Trade Show is the premier state conference for the apartment industry. More than 900 multifamily housing industry professionals interested in sales, marketing, recruitment and retention, maintenance, career development, leadership, customer service, technology, and more, will be inspired by the nationally renowned keynote speakers and the breakout sessions. For more information, visit the event website.


IAA Midwest Multifamily Conference
10/9 – 10/10/19
Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, IN
Booth #618

The Midwest Multifamily Conference is the largest industry conference dedicated exclusively to helping Midwestern apartment professionals reach new levels of professional success. Connect with multifamily specific vendors servicing the entire state of Indiana as well as surrounding states on the trade show floor. Over 200 companies will be represented and ready to show you and your team the latest and greatest products and services that will make your life easier. For more information, visit the event website.


2019 NMHC OPTECH Conference & Exposition
11/11 – 11/13/19
Hilton Anatole, Dallas, TX
Booth #151

The NMHC OPTECH Conference & Expo offers an unparalleled educational and networking environment with exclusive peer-to-peer roundtables, property and revenue management workshops, and cutting edge content and speakers. For more information, visit the event website.