Apartment complexes are a fruitful investment that can reap long-term monetary gains for owners and investors.  As with any asset, good management is necessary to protect your property and maximize your return on investment.  This is especially true when it comes to the security of your property.  To maintain longstanding and happy tenants it is important that they feel safe and secure living on your property, which means longer-term rentals and a more profitable operation for you.  A well-planned security program can reduce risk, increase visibility into property activities, and give you peace of mind that your residents and your investment are protected. Here are some tips for creating a residential security program.

Identifying Threats and Making a Plan

The first step in developing any security plan is performing a risk assessment.  This is a tool that will help you identify what your goals are for your security program (i.e., protection of life, enforcement of safety protocols, access control, greater visibility on the property).  Rank these goals in order of priority.

Next you want to assess what potential risks pose a challenge to meeting each of your goals.  For example, if your goal is to have visibility into who is on the property at all times, you’ll want to look at surveillance options with remote access capabilities. Be sure to include manmade challenges, like crime, as well as natural hazards, like floods and fire.  Understanding the challenges, you might face can help you determine the most appropriate security measures to meet your goals.

Designing Your Security Program

Security is divided into three basic categories: physical, electronic and cybersecurity.  The needs of an apartment complex fall primarily into the physical and electronic security fields.  Strong security programs are multi-layered and multi-disciplinary, utilizing specific security measures in conjunction to create an overall security posture for your property.  The level of security required is dependent on the specific needs of the situation and your budget.

Physical Security

Physical security measures are typically the first measures put in place.  Cost effective measures like lighting, fencing and landscaping can significantly lower your risks and create deterrence to bad actors.  Other physical security measures include perimeter hardening mechanisms, like enhanced door and window locks, along with different types of bollards, gates, and other measures designed to limit access and direct the flow of foot or vehicle traffic on your property.

Also in the realm of physical security are security personnel.  Consider whether a uniformed security officer or marked vehicle patrol may benefit your property.  Uniformed officers and marked vehicles are useful for providing a visible security presence and deterring would-be criminals from targeting your property, as well as giving you enhanced visibility into the activities on your property when you’re not there and a human response should a serious incident occur in your absence.

Electronic Security

Electronic Security can be divided into 3 basic categories: Access Control, Intrusion Detection (alarm systems) and Video Surveillance.  Each category serves a specific purpose, which we’ll go into briefly below.  A well-planned electronic security system can pay dividends in reduced liability, increased visibility and peace of mind.  A poorly planned system will cost a lot of money and deliver poor results, and can even increase your risk and liability.

Access Control and Intrusion Detection

Access Control and Intrusion Detection systems often work hand-in-hand, but they perform two different functions.  As it sounds, Access Control systems control who has access to a given space.  This would include electric door locking hardware, as well as keyless numeric or biometric entry systems.  Today’s access control systems fall into 3 categories: cloud based, mobile or smartphone based, and IoT based.

Intrusion Detection systems alert you when someone has entered a restricted space.  This would include measures like door and window contact alarms, motion detection alarms, and infrared heat sensors.  The array of intrusion detection technologies is endless with a solution for every application.  Choosing the right one for your specific situation is critical for an effective security program.

Video Surveillance

Increasingly, video surveillance is a critical component of any security program.  CCTV surveillance has existed for decades, but today’s surveillance technologies offer much more than just simple recording.  IP technology allows your cameras to be cloud-connected, which means you can see your property in real-time from anywhere on your smartphone or laptop.  A wide array of options, including infrared and twilight night vision, panoramic and fisheye lens, pan-tilt-zoom, license plate reading, and advanced analytics ensure there is a camera exactly right for every situation.  A well-designed surveillance system will deter crime, increase the overall security posture on your property and act as a force multiplier for your safety and security personnel.  Additionally, surveillance technology can be leveraged to help stay abreast of common apartment complex issues, such as unreported maintenance problems or bulk dumping.

Hire a Professional Security Consultant

For the most cost-effective results, consider hiring a security consultant to perform a professional risk assessment and make recommendations on building your security program.  A good consultant can advise you as to your level of risk and what technologies and procedures would be most effective for your needs and budget.

Our Pledge to You

National Protective Services, Inc. is here to serve you since 1979.  We are family owned and operated, now in our second generation of security professionals.  Our management team has nearly 100 years of combined security experience! Our mission at NPS is to promote safety and security in our communities through security education and promotion of best practices. Our pledge to you is that we will always seek to recommend the best, most cost-effective solutions to address your needs.  Our motto is “Protecting You Like Family” and that’s how NPS officers serve their properties.  We go the extra mile to make sure you have not just adequate security, but exceptional security and the peace of mind knowing that your property is protected by serious security professionals.  Contact us today to schedule a FREE on-site security consultation.