By David R. Cohen, Portfolio Manager, Summerfield Property Management. For more information, contact Robert Parmar
Is your asset in an area where property crime is on the rise? The FBI recently reported that property crimes rose nationwide 7.1% last year, with a large percentage of that being motor vehicle theft.
No tenant wants to live/rent at a property where they have to worry about theft or damage to their personal property. So, how can you better protect your asset and tenants from property crime, theft and even vandalism?
At Summerfield, we have been hard at work ensuring that the properties we oversee are safe and protected from all types of crime.
Here’s a few tips from us to deter theft and vandalism at your property.
Make Safety Upgrades
Maybe you already have issues with car break ins, package theft or graffiti at your building. Investing in substantial safety upgrades and improvements can go a long way towards curbing crime.
Recently at one of the buildings in our portfolio we replaced the original aluminum coiling overhead garage doors with a heavy-duty, steel sliding remote-driven door. Since installation of the new doors, crime/property damage in the garage has vastly decreased and tenants have expressed their appreciation for the added security.
Other advanced security measures we have utilized in our portfolio include upgraded smart door locks with key card access, lighting upgrades, improved fences and barriers and graffiti-resistant wall coatings as well as break-resistant glass. Improving and adding landscaping to either improve visibility or impede access to certain areas of the building can also be helpful in deterring crime.
Install Security Cameras & Alarm Systems
A comprehensive security and alarm system is one of the most highlen y effective deterrents against crime and vandalism. Make sure to have coverage of common areas at your property like parking lots, entryways and hallways as well as the exterior entrances of your building and street corners.
If there is a crime at your property, a good surveillance system can serve as a valuable tool to identify criminals, which will lead to appropriate action being taken quickly and also give your site staff something to show law enforcement. Certain properties even utilize advanced video technology like license plate recognition and analytics.
The bottom line is that having adequate security and alarms systems protects both ownership, management and tenants.
If the above options aren’t cutting it, partnering with a professional security services provider can have a marked and lasting impact on safety at your property immediately.
When necessary, we partner with local security services from time to time. Typically, these companies offer nightly patrols at regular intervals, hourly on-site security shifts, etc. The other great thing about these security companies is they know exactly where to look and what to look for and can often recommend improvements for existing security measures.
If your property is having a crime flare up, utilizing a security service for a few weeks can curb the issue.
Tap into Local Law Enforcement
If all else fails, consider strengthening your relationship with local law enforcement. And in our experience, after a crime occurs is the wrong time to start building that relationship.
Reach out to the local police department precinct and ask them for any tips on reducing crime at your property. They will often have resources that you can tap into to make your property safer and deter criminal activity. For example, there are typically crime-prevention programs, including the well-known Crime Free Multi-Housing Program, which was specifically designed to reduce crime, drugs, and gang activity at apartment communities. The program is now active in 2,000 cities and 44 states and utilizes a three-level approach to eliminate crime at rental properties.
After completing the program, a rental community is awarded full certification and is authorized to display Crime Free signs and logos at the property as well as being listed on the city’s website as a participant in the program.
Law Enforcement Tenants
In a couple of cases, we have offered discounted rent to local police officers who keep a police car at home. It is amazing the impact of having a police car parked in your parking lot has on deterring crime.
By utilizing these tips, your community will be safer for tenants and site staff alike.
We’d love the opportunity to show what Summerfield can do. Book a call with us today.