I will never forget this day while working in property management. I received a phone call from a resident – their locker was broken into and articles stolen. While on the phone, I received another phone call, then another and another. We soon realized that in a 3 mid-rise building community – ALL locker rooms were entered, several lockers were cut and several items removed. How could this be? We had security fobs for the main doors, cameras in the hallways, keys to the locker room and each locker had a lock on it. Ready? The cameras showed two people with heads down wearing hats, carrying large hockey bags being let into the building, they went straight to the locker rooms and waited. A short time later, the cameras show them being let into the locker room. From there, it was determined their giant bolt cutters, most likely hidden in their hockey bag, cut the steal frame of the lockers (not the locks) and they piled what they could in the hockey bags and walked right out the front door. This was the exact same in all 3 buildings.
“Thieves are smart, patient and brazen.” This was an actual quote from the investigating police officer when I reported a building “break-in”. Here’s what’s more interesting…the police officer told me it was NOT a building break-in; a theft – YES; a locker break-in– YES; but a building break-in? NO – the thieves were invited in.
This is an extreme scenario but how they gained access is not uncommon. We, Ontarians – Canadians really – are friendly, trusting and kind. We have a sense of community and want to help where we can. Unfortunately, that kindness can be taken advantage of; but all is not lost. There are things YOU can do to help ensure the safety and security of your community.
The first one is easy. Budget and add to what is, or isn’t already in the building, add keyless systems (fobs, app/web based), security cameras, entry systems, security personal/patrols, lighting, motion detectors. These things are excellent deterrents and absolutely necessary but as per the scenario above, sometimes, just not enough. This is where everyone – not just the Board of Directors or Property Manager but Resident, can make a difference. Here are some of the simple ways residents can help make your community more secure:
– Know who you are letting in. Don’t buzz a stranger in no matter the reason. I know this can be awkward but also don’t hold the door for someone unless you know they live there. It’s ok to make sure they live in the building before you let them in behind you.
– Know your neighbours. I’m not saying hang out or become BFF’s – just know who lives around you so you recognize them in the hallways and common areas.
– Parking garage. When entering/exiting the parking garage, just take a moment to watch it close completely. This will help deter “walk-ins’ through the open garage door.
– Keep your intercom info simple. Just the last name and first initial helps lower the chance of anyone using your name to gain access.
– Report malfunctions. Let your building manager/condo manager know of any garage door/entry door issues or any glitches in the building tech. Report any burnt-out lights in the hallways, stairwells, parking garage or building’s exterior.
– Suspicious behaviour. Report any loitering, suspicious behaviour to your property manager, security patrol or better yet, the local police department. There are on line portals for you to do that and takes very little time.
– Offsite owners. Make sure you retrieve the entry fobs from your tenants as the move out. If not, have the property manager deactivate them.
– Audit security systems regularly. Make sure the cameras/fobs etc. are working. Audit resident key fobs, deactivating fobs that are no longer required.
– Community involvement. Have the community involvement officer from your local police department come to an AGM to discuss security.
There you have it! Some helpful tips so everyone can work together to ensure your condominium community is safe and secure as it can be.
Superb Property Maintenance