By Darion Samuels / Published January 2023
The “Gated Communities and Crime in the U.S.” report published in The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Criminology mentioned a 2013 study which found that homes in gated communities experienced 33 percent fewer burglaries than non-gated neighborhoods.
Living in a gated community does not offer complete protection against crime, and the homes that are in homeowners associations could be considered a target for thieves. Residents pay a premium to live in a gated community; however, thieves look past those gates believing an opportunity lies beyond them. Communities without manned guards are more vulnerable because of possible tailgaters looking to gain access into the community for possible theft. One possible deterrent in keeping unwanted visitors out of the community would be having adequate lighting at each entry point. Proper lighting helps deter would-be criminals from climbing over the gate or fence. Security cameras with high resolution are an added and well-known deterrent because potential criminals are more likely to avoid areas where security cameras are in place. Security cameras installed at each entry point to the community capture vehicles entering and exiting the community. Most communities have specific time schedules for providing vendor access. The scheduled entry and exit times can help mitigate the opportunity to conduct any malicious behavior by a vendor. Social media can also be a great tool in reporting suspicious activity, such as having a community page on Facebook or any other social media platform. These social media platforms can assist in alerting the community of suspicious activity in real time. Neighbors can also play a huge role in crime prevention by keeping a watchful eye for suspicious activities throughout their community.
One of the most frequently asked questions in the alarm industry is, “Why should I use my alarm system? I live in a gated community.” Gated communities can foster a false sense of security that causes residents to lower their guard, becoming reluctant to arm their security system while away from their residence even if for a moment. Homes within an HOA should consider displaying visual aids such as security decals and yard signs. This method is another powerful tool to use as a deterrent. According to a study sponsored by the Alarm Industry Research & Educational Foundation (AIREF), homes without visible security systems are 2.7 to 3.5 times more likely to be targeted by thieves. Periodic reminders to homeowners to arm their systems when leaving the home could be very valuable to residents living in communities. Complacency can result in a residence being burglarized.
Another frequently asked question is, “How do I know if my home has adequate protection?” To determine adequate protection, you must ensure that every opening has a security sensor installed. Motion detectors are interior devices that provide additional protection while away from the home. In recent times, thieves have found ways to enter properties without opening a door or window by shattering the glass to gain access. To combat this means of entry, a glass break detector is the solution. Lastly, life safety and property-loss prevention devices such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, heat detectors, and water leak detectors are recommended to save lives and help mitigate the loss of property. According to the CDC, every year at least 430 people die in the U.S from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
Adding video camera protection is an additional means of deterring criminal activity. Video surveillance protection is an additional component to security by monitoring video activity in real time, reviewing footage of past incidents, and providing peace of mind for residents. Video doorbells have become one of the most valuable and popular devices within the past few years. Video doorbell cameras have the capability of tracking people and packages and are used to answer the door remotely even if you are away from the home, deterring visitors with bad intentions.
How do we bring the future to the present? The future of the alarm industry is the smart home solutions concept. Using Z-Wave Technology, smart home devices such as light switches, thermostats, door lock cameras, and outlets are a convenient and cost-saving measure. The user can program each device, such as a light switch to turn specified lights on and off, saving on energy consumption. Having smart home solutions set up in the home allows you full control of the alarm system and the aforementioned devices. This initiative delivers a higher level of protection and cost-savings measures and presents peace of mind at the push of a button either locally or remotely by using your smartphone, tablet, or personal computer.
Senior HOA Account Manager, ADT Community Association Program
Darion Samuels is Sr. HOA account manager for ADT Community Association Program. We have a dedicated team that works primarily for ADT HOA communities, providing world-class customer care and service to more than 100,000 residences through bulk agreements. This includes 24/7 monitoring by our own state-of-the-art monitoring centers and “concierge-level” customer care and service provided by our exclusive community association service center. Alarm systems feature interactive technology, high-resolution CCTV systems, and customized smart home solutions for HOA customers. For more information, contact Darion Samuels at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (954) 299-1000.