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Secure Peace of Mind for Your HOA Community by Choosing the Right Security

Establishing a sense of safety and security is paramount for any HOA community. Homeowners rely on their community management team to implement security measures to protect their two most precious assets: their families and their homes.

Fortunately, there have been significant developments in community security, which can be customized to ensure the right measures are implemented based on a community’s specific needs. For some, this might include the presence of onsite security, while others may primarily rely on technology for remote monitoring and access. Whatever service level is right for your property, the first step is to leverage an experienced security partner to lead these initiatives.

With over 60 years of providing services for people, businesses, and communities, Allied Universal serves as Keystone’s safety and security partner. We asked Business Development Manager, Sharon Asadoor and Vice-President of Business Development, Andy Coleman to share their expertise and tips for how to keep communities safe.

Starting with a Holistic Overview

In order to mitigate risks and create a tailored HOA security process, there must be a comprehensive overview, with each area of the property evaluated. Typically, the security partner:

  • Schedules an onsite visit and speaks with the property manager, and possibly a board member, to get a sense of the security they want for the community.
  • Asks questions regarding security interaction. For instance, will officers serve as a welcoming first line of communication, or is a higher level, more restrictive interaction appropriate?
  • Listens and learns about issues the community is currently dealing with and provides recommendations accordingly.

Examples of common problems might include a community with a golf or tennis club on the property with a membership that doesn’t require being part of the HOA. A security solution, in this case, would be to administer different passes for homeowners versus those who are members only. Additionally, common areas like pools and parks with heavier traffic may require a higher level of security to quickly handle broken equipment or entry violations.

Once security needs have been established, a security partner should work with the community management team to review the policies and procedures through the CC&Rs. This will help guide what services are the best fit and help decide what the enforcement rules will be. A summary of services Allied Universal provides are:

  • Remote monitoring with a gatehouse camera feed with additional accessibility offsite
  • Standing guard with gate ambassadors at a property’s entry/exit points
  • Gated patrol assigned to specific community with agreed-upon schedules
  • Roaming patrol to observe the community intermittently between 10 PM – 6 AM

Each of these security options can be combined and customized to fit each property’s security needs and budget.

Budget-Saving Tips for Boards

Budget discussions are always a critical part of the conversation and have been increasingly important over the past few years. Changes in the labor market and recruiting for the right posts have been a challenge. One of the key factors affecting costs is wage management. To help HOA boards save, it helps to:

  • Level-set expectations, particularly for new communities. A less expensive gate agent may work better budget-wise but may not have the experience needed. It’s important to consider long-term value versus actual cost.
  • Embrace technology. With several remote monitoring options available now, such as digital apps, license plate readings, and cameras, it limits the number of security ambassadors needed on site; therefore, lowering wage costs.
  • Reduce security ambassador hours. Creating a hybrid plan can provide necessary safety measures without having a person physically monitor a gate 24/7, which is another way to cut costs and maintain optimal security measures.

Seasonal Security Tips for Homeowners

Though security is necessary year-round, the holidays are especially a time when security breaches occur. In addition to having the support of a security and community management team, here are ways homeowners can ensure their homes are safe.

  • Check doors and windows are locked
  • Verify alarm systems are on
  • Ensure a few strategic lights are on both inside and outside of the home
  • Confirm gifts under the tree and other valuables are not visible from the outside

Additionally, as people have transitioned out of the pandemic-driven, stay-at-home protocols and returned to their regular schedules, package theft and petty theft have been on the rise.

People may not be at home as often, but at-home deliveries have increased.

Last year, research revealed 92% of shoppers planned to shop online and have packages delivered to their door. 23% had reported having a package stolen, and 60% knew someone who had a package stolen. To help combat “porch pirates,” it’s recommended to:

  • Enlist extra patrol services during the holidays
  • Opt for local drive-up/pick-up options instead of deliveries
  • Choose to have packages delivered to work or a secured locker
  • Consider requiring a signature for high-value item delivery

Ensuring Top Security to Empower the Community

Keeping homes and families safe is the top priority. It’s beneficial to share security and safety tips in a community newsletter to serve as reminders throughout the year, particularly during the holidays.

Another idea is to host a community end-of-year event with your security services vendor, local law enforcement, and/or fire department present to share best practices that are directly relevant to your community. Arming homeowners with resources and information and implementing a seasoned security patrol creates a feeling of safety everyone wants for their home.

Our community management teams work closely with board members and homeowners to ensure everyone feels secure. For more information about how our HOA management services can work for you, contact Keystone to get the conversation started today.

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