Today's Multifamily Residents Sound the Alarm for Increased Security

By Anderson, Robin L. | Journal of Property Management, November/December 2001 | Go to article overview

Today's Multifamily Residents Sound the Alarm for Increased Security


Anderson, Robin L., Journal of Property Management


People today are more concerned than ever with issues relating to safety in the communities where they live. As the possibility of crime and violence become larger concerns for everyone in society, demands from apartment residents for precautionary measures are increasing.

To alleviate concerns of current residents and to attract new prospects, more owners and developers are including security technology in their property business plans. What considerations should be made when selecting multifamily alarm amenities?

Your alarm amenity program should be turnkey-serviced from beginning to end of your contract by the provider. Having one contact for equipment, installation, maintenance, training, monitoring and service requires a high level of accountability from your provider. It also frees up your staff to do their job on the property.

Your alarm program should be user-friendly; not only from the resident's perspective, but also from that of the property manager. One important issue to be addressed is the execution of your monitored alarm amenity program to your staff and residents. Multifamily alarm systems must be simple, durable and easy to use. An owner can help reduce liability to his residents by ensuring they are provided with accurate, easy to understand instructions.

One precautionary measure owners must take is to make sure you never promise security or protection to residents. This infers that crimes on property can and will be prevented. This is not true. An owner may provide every service available to promote peace of mind to residents, but that may not be enough to actually prevent a crime from happening. The visibility of safety features such as monitored intrusion alarms and access gates on a property can discourage dangerous activities and intruders. And, the installation of a monitored alarm system provides rapid response to intrusion signals. But, ultimately, it is up to each person to follow precautionary measures and actually keep their systems armed.

Some owners consider local alarms because they are less costly, or because the perceived value is equal to that of monitored alarms. Local alarms are only noisemakers. They alert everyone in the immediate vicinity that an apartment has been inappropriately accessed. But they do not alert the person who needs to be alerted-the monitoring professional -who can inquire on the resident and dispatch emergency response agencies when necessary.

Residents are generally the first to respond when a local alarm goes off, and can easily become subjected to a dangerous situation. However, when a monitored alarm is activated by an intruder, the monitoring center is alerted and the resident is called, or the proper authorities are dispatched. This lowers the liability of innocent residents becoming involved, and reduces the response time in emergency situations.

A Look at Security Features

What is the status of security and alarm-related amenities in the multifamily industry today? …

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Today's Multifamily Residents Sound the Alarm for Increased Security
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