Trespassers and Squatters

November 2022

If you reside in or manage a high-rise community in an urban area, trespassers and squatters are likely a recurring problem.

The same conveniences and attributes that make it desirable to live in an area are attractive to trespassers and squatters.  It may be an individual looking for a quiet doorway or stairwell to sleep for the night, or someone looking for an opportunity to steal or cause damage.  Anyone in need of a warm place to live may find refuge in a vacant utility room, underground parking area or accessible suite.

Protecting your home from theft, damage or misuse may require some changes to the physical environment.

Good lighting in common, low traffic and isolated areas is important.  Individuals intent on mischief often seek out low light areas where they won’t be noticed or disturbed.  Good lighting prevents this.  Studies have found that good lighting can reduce crime by 35 percent or more.  Good lighting makes residents feel safer and discourages undesirable activities.  When evaluating lighting, be sure to consider both sides of all exit doors plus loading and garbage areas, storage locker spaces and parking areas.

Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting is preferable for security.  It delivers a bright white light superior to incandescent and fluorescent lighting.  This provides superior illumination for security cameras and improves facial recognition.  LED lighting is energy efficient and longer life which reduces maintenance costs.

Painting walls and ceilings white or off-white increases reflected light in stairwells, common areas and low traffic areas.  This helps eliminate shadows and makes areas less desirable to trespassers.

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