Many potential home buyers are drawn to communities with functional security programs; guarding the value of individual homes and standard amenities is a shared objective for members of a condo or homeowners association (HOA). As a result, many associations employ security guards or door attendants, surveillance cameras, alarm systems, and auto-locked entrances to limit access to the community and discourage crime.
On the surface, additional security measures seem worthwhile, but hiring private security personnel or just installing security equipment may produce as many issues as it discourages. As an HOA board member, it's crucial to stop potential security vulnerabilities from evolving into harmful or expensive situations.
The HOA board and homeowners should examine what types of security would best satisfy the association's needs. In your examination, consider the following:
First, decide why your association requires security. For example, is the community situated in an urban or suburban setting? Are there frequent crime issues, such as robberies during nighttime hours? Are nonmembers breaking into the pool on the weekends? Depending on the features of the HOA and its demands, some associations may require 24-hour security, while others may only need protection for nights and weekends.
After deciding the time periods required, decide how much of your HOA's budget can be assigned for security. This impacts the kind(s) of protection—security equipment or security personnel—that your HOA can afford to meet its needs best.
Establishing security gear on HOA property can help observe low-level offenses, such as trespassing, defacement, property damage, and regulation violations. Cameras, alarm systems, locked entrances, and improved lighting may prevent some criminals, but HOAs should not count on security equipment to stop all crimes.
It's essential that the HOA establishes cameras in locations that do not violate the privacy of homeowners to bypass invasion of privacy suits. Also, cameras, alarm systems, lighting, and other security tools can break or be disabled, so they should be regularly inspected. Part of the HOA's security funding should include the costs of fixing or replacing equipment.
Some HOAs prefer to hire security guards in addition to, or in place of, security tools. For example, bigger HOAs may require several guards to observe common areas and perform roving patrols around the neighborhood; others may only need one security guard stationed at the front gate or guard workstation to monitor who enters and exits the premises.
Security guards are not law enforcement officials; their obligation is to monitor activity in the community and report it to local police departments and their HOA board. Security guards that are not adequately trained and who go outside the scope of their responsibilities drastically increase the HOA's chance of lawsuits. Therefore, the HOA board should evaluate all possible consequences and associated hazards before electing to hire private security guards as part of the team.
These are some security alternatives for your HOA. Contact us today to learn more about our guard workstation solutions. We want to make your community safer.
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