HOA Community Safety Tips
HOA Community Safety Tips

HOA Community Safety Tips

Safety should be every HOA community association’s priority. Lighting, security cameras, gate locks, electronic access card, and private security guards can help keep communities safe. The following guide goes over several HOA safety tips, in hopes of helping you build a safer community.


Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)

Why not head off a crime before it starts? Eliminating hiding spots for criminals such as thick hedges and bushes can help reduce the potential for crime. An HOA should assess and possibly change the community’s landscaping. Doing so could also help reduce the association’s liability for any crimes that do occur. Making your HOA landscaping safer doesn’t need to be expensive or involve major modifications to your existing landscaping. Use the following tips to make your homeowners association’s landscape safer:

• Plant thorny shrubbery:  By limiting the number of access points at a community, criminals will be less inclined to make a stop there. Planting thorny shrubs at the perimeter of the parking lot and between your HOA and the neighboring community can limit the number of entrances and exits for criminals.
• Trim the height and width of other shrubs: With the exception of thorny shrubs, overgrown plants that are easy to hide behind can actually increase crime. Eliminate these hiding spots for criminals by trimming the height and width of shrubs in the parking lots and other common areas.
• Trim trees: Trees with low or overgrown foliage can be a perfect place for a criminal to hide while waiting for a victim to pass by. The HOA Board can work with the landscaping company or a professional tree trimming service to trim the trees to a safe level. Also, make sure that the trees don’t become overgrown to the point where they obscure lighting. Improperly lit areas create another advantage for criminals.

How Residents Can Take Action

There are security measures each individual resident can take in securing their home. In addition to having an active Neighborhood Watch program, each renter can make one or more of these one-time investments to better secure their homes against intruders:

• Install a home alarm system registered with the police department: This way, should your alarm go off, you will immediately be notified. If Your HOA will allow an alarm inside that is.
• Install a dead bolt on your doors: Or install a locking pin if you have sliding exterior doors. Regardless of which, just locking your home can deter criminals. An alternative to a locking pin for sliding doors is a rectangular piece of wood (measured to fit the space between the sliding door and wall).
• Make an inventory list of your property: Also, make sure your renter’s insurance is up to date with the current value of your belongings. If you do not, robberies could go unnoticed at great monetary loss.
•Leave the light on or set a timer when you are away:  This is especially important if you are going to be gone overnight. One of the biggest robbery deterrents is the illusion that someone is awake and home, so just leaving your light on at night can stop a potential burglary.
• Don’t let mail pile up: Arrange to have a neighbor collect your mail and pick up your newspapers while you’re gone, so your mail isn’t vulnerable to theft and your home doesn’t appear dormant.
• Don’t leave keys in obvious hiding places: These are the first places burglars look when attempting to gain access to your home. Consider using an exterior lockbox, if you need your extra key in a reachable place.
• Implement a “See Something, Say Something” policy: If you notice a crime or a suspicious activity, regardless of how small the incident may seem, notify your HOA board members or HOA management company, association security (if applicable), and the police immediately.

If you have questions about security modifications you’d like to make, don’t hesitate to call your HOA Board members or HOA management company.

Hire Private Security

The above tips can only do so much, the most effective way to prevent crime is hiring private security as stated in the points below.

Prevention

Simply having a security guard present is a great deterrent to crime. Thieves will think twice about targeting a business that has uniformed protection. Professional guards are trained to look for suspicious activity on the spot. They can assess a situation and react to security breaches. A guard is a greater visual deterrent than just camera surveillance or a standard security system. It sends a message to potential criminals that you are serious about the security of your community and its residents.

Round The Clock Protection

The reason why you HOA should consider this type of security is because protection is guaranteed around the clock. Having a guard on the grounds shows you are serious about security (and gives residents another reason to stay). Many residents work during the day, and having a guard or team or security patrolling the grounds during this time can put them at ease. Residents that know they can walk safely in your community at night is a big deal.

Quick Response

When security issues arise, you can expect nothing less but quick response from your security guards. It does not matter the time of day or night there will always be a trained personnel to resolve any security problem that you are facing. This is better and faster than waiting for the police depart to respond. Moreover, those who respond to emergency cases are well trained and prepared to handle any dangerous situation.

Keep Your Residents Informed

If your HOA has a newsletter, use it to pass on valuable safety information, security information, and HOA tips to your residents. Keep your community updated on safety plans and crime prevention tips, as well as recent reports of problems in the area.

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