Security Training for High-Rise Communities

August 2023

Regardless of where you live, home security is a concern.  For high-rise communities, building security can be as simple as ensuring all outer doors are locked or installing a basic alarm system.  People providing security services may be trained to use access and surveillance technology that incorporates surveillance cameras, and key fobs or access cards.  More completely, a hybrid approach to security is advisable involving both technology and people.  The chosen approach by any community depends on the size of a property and its location.

Every building has its specific problems, challenges and priorities.  What is needed in a downtown luxury building differs from what may be necessary in a suburban community.

Security resources include intercom systems, surveillance cameras, access control devices, alarms and recording systems.  Information systems are necessary for knowing who resides in a building, who is visiting and for recording interactions.  People can be trained to use and respond to these systems rather than sit and watch screens waiting for something to happen.

Residential buildings are inherently less secure than office buildings where everyone must show identification.  Residents don’t like to show identification which leads to a security breach.  This can be addressed by using technology to help identify those who live in the building by sight, or by asking for identification. The same applies to deliveries, vendors and service people.  Residents who ignore or work around building policies are a problem.  There is a lapse in security if the regular person is not at their post, or when a replacement doesn’t recognize faces.

The best security systems require a combination of people and technology.  People require training in using technology and dealing with a residential community.  Confrontations need to be handled properly.  Any interpersonal issue, domestic dispute or building intrusion has the potential to turn violent.  Even minor disagreements can quickly escalate to verbal or physical assault.  De-escalation and knowing when to call police are essential skills for security staff forced to deal with violent or aggressive people.  Well-trained security personnel transmit a sense of being calm and genuine, and conveying an interest in what is bothering someone while being respectful, clear and setting boundaries.

Comprehensive security requires a concentric approach.  What locks and barriers exist on the perimeter of the property, and are they effective?  Is there a glass door where indoor spaces can be seen from the outside?  Once the outermost level of security is breached, such as a fence or door, what is the next level of security?  Are existing doors and locks adequate?  Once an intruder enters through a door into a lobby or hallway, what can be done to stop or deter them?

Concierge and security should be familiar with the building’s residents and established procedures.  This includes use of security technologies and systems for continuous monitoring.  They should have a situational awareness and a plan for most situations.  Their focus should be on preventing harm or injury to others or themselves.  Property is replaceable.

A good concierge is trained to monitor body language, notice things and ask questions of those they don’t recognize while maintaining decorum and without being rude.  When an elevator lobby is secured by a door, concierge or security can greet people without recognizing them.  If individuals don’t have secure access to the elevator, they can’t gain access.  This blending of people and technology allows a single individual to effectively secure an entire building so long as they remain at their primary station.

If the concierge suspects something improper is occurring in a unit, they alert building management who can look into the issue and provide instructions on how to proceed.

Security is about making residents secure in the belief that their home is safe.  This requires a combination of technology and people to meet the goals and priorities established by the condo board.

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