A community association board has many responsibilities—setting goals and approving budgets; conducting open, fair, and well-publicized elections; organizing events that foster neighborliness and a sense of community, to name a few. But a board’s chief responsibilities, arguably, are to maintain and enhance the common areas and protect home values. Many communities seek to fulfill these responsibilities with security features, vendors, and systems that protect residents and property. Our goal is to make you aware of many community security systems and features—including useful tips and tools—to help meet residents’ crime prevention needs
Community security is not a one-size-fits-all venture. What may work for a high-rise condominium may not necessarily meet the needs of residents in a large-scale, planned community. A small, rural townhome association will approach community security needs and systems much differently than an urban, mixed-use development, which may employ security guards, video surveillance, and perimeter gating. Surveying residents about the community’s security needs, desires, and goals is an important first step in the decision-making process—to get a sense of the security level members need and want. A board must also take into consideration the community’s budget and make decisions that align with the association’s financial and legal obligations and objectives. There are many other key factors an association should consider when establishing a community-wide security program
As you are thinking about setting up or managing your community’s security program, it would be beneficial to ask yourself these questions:
- What potential for danger or crime exists in your area?
- Are there any security-related requirements in the governing documents or local law?
- What exactly and who specifically does your community want to protect?
- Who will be responsible for researching, implementing, maintaining, and evaluating the security plan and system?
- Does the community have a common communications network, such as a website or blog, so that all interested parties, e.g., board members, management, and residents, can weigh in?
- Are there any insurance considerations or security-related liability issues?
- How will you measure whether a security system has produced superior results?
Some other factors to consider would be:
- Community involvement
- Safety improvement
- Ongoing evaluation of program
There are various security-related options for community associations to consider, including security services, access control systems, alarm systems, gates, and surveillance systems. Hopefully this article has provided you with some useful, unbiased information about the most commonly used contemporary crime prevention strategies and has given you a glimpse into the future of your community-level crime prevention.