False Sense of Security

April 2020

Determining what level of security is appropriate for a community depends on the level of risk residents are comfortable with.

Absolute security is an ambitious but impractical goal.  A more reasonable and less costly goal is to achieve a level of security where residents feel protected and individuals intent on causing harm feel the risk of getting caught is unacceptable – nobody wants to be caught and risk time in jail.

Security professionals prefer working with condo board members.  Residents have opinions and desire high levels of security without considering if the cost is reasonable.  Board members spend time talking with residents; there is better understanding of their concerns and effectiveness of existing security procedures and systems. They are in the best position to work with security professionals to improve a community’s level of security.

No community has sufficient influence to prevent crime.  The practical approach is to ensure a property is harder to access than other locations thus forcing risk to migrate elsewhere.  Involving local police is helpful.  They can provide an overview of area crime and advise on precautions to minimize risk.

Having an annual threat and risk assessment for the community is a proactive approach to security.  Engage a security professional to inspect physical security systems including doors, gates, locks, fencing, alarms, cameras and access controls.  Have them advise on what security measures to spend money on to avoid wasteful expenditures.

Common recommendations are to improve lighting and landscaping.  Criminals don’t want to be seen.  Improved lighting at building and property access points is one of the best protections.  Another is keeping bushes trimmed to under about one meter and make tree limbs shorter.  These are proven security measures that work.

Get residents involved.  Encourage them to lock doors, roll up car windows, keep valuables out of sight, ensure doors are closed when entering the building, and inform management or security of anyone suspicious in the building.

It is impossible to guarantee security.  Condo management does have an obligation to reasonably deal with the threat of criminal activity.  This includes an obligation to warn, maintain and/or correct situations within the property.  This includes responsible hiring and training of personnel employed to provide security.  Failure to do so provides residents with a false sense of security.

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