Managing a gated community means maintaining the safety and security of residents and their guests. Your security program needs to be tight enough to prevent security breaches or break-ins that can lead to theft, robbery, physical assaults, and other dangers.
Controlling who enters and exits the premises is a delicate balance. On one hand, this experience should be seamless for residents and authorized visitors but should be impossible for trespassers and criminals.
Is your gated community secure enough? Do you have the correct security measures in place to protect the community and its residents? This article will provide you with actionable security procedures and tips to improve the security of your gated community.
Gated community security procedures
- Secure Access Points
- Use Technology
- Encourage Communication Between Residents & Security Staff
- Consider Round-the-Clock Security Personnel
- Have Officers Patrol Inside and Outside the Community Walls
- Hire Professionally Trained Security Officers
1. Secure Access Points
There are two main security access points to a gated community that any property manager should focus on in their security planning: the vehicle gates and the pedestrian gates.
A gated community's vehicle access points are the highest-trafficked areas. Options for securing these areas range from a full-time security officer and monitored surveillance cameras to additional barriers and keypads.
At a minimum, all gated entrances should be controlled by some sort of restricted access device (for example: a key fob, number pad, or remote-control system). For added protection, gated communities might consider adding an automated boom barrier, speed bumps, or tire spikes. These additional measures can help prevent unwanted vehicles from following residential vehicles into the community before the gates have time to close.
For maximum security, a full-time security officer at the gate is best. Consider if there were a power outage—it would only take a few minutes for an unwanted intruder to bypass restricted access devices and enter the premises. It would be most beneficial to have a trained security officer at the community’s main access point as an added security measure. It is also best practice to have surveillance cameras at these access points that on-duty security officers can monitor in real-time.
For pedestrian access areas, gated communities may choose to secure these with a lock and key, key fob, or keypad system. For maximum security, a gate that sends out an alert when it is left open too long is best. Gated communities should also consider installing a surveillance camera at this access point as well.
2. Use Technology
In addition to surveillance cameras, gated communities can increase their security by installing motion detectors that trigger a camera recording, spotlight, or alarm. Some communities have security staff that can respond to these triggers in real-time while others will use a recording that they can check at a later date if an issue arises.
Property managers and security officers can also keep track of all vehicles and pedestrians entering the premises using digital security technology. For visitors, a digital visitor management system can document authorized visitors and allow for quick retrieval in the time of need. For vehicles, an automatic license plate recognition system is the most efficient process for tracking who is entering and exiting the property.
Many security systems now have cell phone integrations for property managers and other security staff to access and control via their handheld devices. These types of security features may even extend to residents to control visitors coming in and out of the community or security officers to view real-time surveillance cameras
3. Encourage Communication Between Residents & Security Personnel
Gated communities should establish and maintain clear lines of communication between security personnel and residents. All residents should have the ability to contact the community’s security team should they witness any suspicious activity or need to call for assistance. Communication amongst residents should also be encouraged—the more residents are aware of their neighbors, the higher the chance that they will recognize when something is wrong and can act accordingly.
Property managers or heads of security should hold meetings for residents or send out emails and notices to provide updates on security policies. This is especially beneficial for new residents, giving them a way to learn about the security company monitoring the premises, gate protocol, muster points, parking lot safety, and emergency procedures and policies.
4. Consider Round-the-Clock Security Personnel
To decrease the chances of a security breach, gated communities should consider 24/7 security. Having a security officer on the grounds and available to respond to any security issues provides an added level of safety to the community and contributes to the resident’s peace of mind.
5. Have Officers Patrol Inside and Outside the Community Walls
When gated communities have a dedicated patrol officer on duty, the officers become a part of the community and are better able to familiarize themselves with the layout, build a rapport with residents, and respond faster and more effectively to issues when they arise.
Patrolling a gated community should not be limited to ensuring trespassers do not gain access; security officers should also be looking for unwanted behavior within the community such as vandalism or even theft between residents.
A gated community benefits greatly from having a security officer assess and patrol the outer parameters. A trained security officer can perform a risk assessment that analyzes the potential entry points a burglar or thief could take. Having an ongoing rotation of security sweeps around the premises should be part of any gated community’s security protection plan.
6. Hire Professionally Trained Security Officers
Using untrained or inexperienced security officers leaves the community at risk for crime, theft, burglary, and more.
Hiring professional, trained, and experienced security officers increase the safety of a gated community. The right security team will be able to establish clear roles and responsibilities for the team to cover throughout the community. They will be able to perform a professional risk assessment at the beginning of their contract and make improvements accordingly. An experienced gated community security team will partner with the property manager to develop an effective process that addresses any security concerns from residents or guests.
Gated Community Security Solutions
PalAmerican provides Residential Security Services to gated communities and Homeowner Associations (HOA) across America. Our officers go through rigorous training to be the best security solution for any gated community. Our team provides professional security risk assessments, is familiar with gated community protocols, and has an established relationship with local law enforcement.
Contact us today to learn more and discuss your gated community security needs.