There are many options for developing security of residential communities. The ideal security program is one that offers many layers of defense, while ultimately meeting the unique needs of your community. Intangible elements also play a role in the overall plan for security and safety in addition to the physical and personnel layers of security. Homeowner involvement and communication is key…
How To Set Up Layers of Defense
There are three main areas when creating layers of protection and below is a breakdown of what those security layers should include. Also, remember to periodically review and assess your security plans. What worked for a nearby community, or looked good on paper may not work as expected. Once the program is put in place, security reviews will give you the opportunity to record any changes that were made.
Exterior Layer: Crime prevention through environment design can be an important part of the exterior layer of defense. Besides exterior fencing, this outermost layer of security can encompass a large number of items including landscape items that will prevent entry such as No Trespassing signs, large boulders, gates, lighting, security officers who patrol the community perimeter, and intrusion detection sensors.
Middle Layer: The middle layer of security offers protection closer to the interior of the community – the residences. The middle layer can include locked main doors, a manned gatehouse or reception area, access control systems, elevator controls, CCTV, delivery/package reception and logs, and visitor identification systems. This middle layer of security should also consider non-residential items such as maintenance sheds and storage closets. These areas could create shelter for intruders or the possibility of theft and should therefore be locked and monitored. Also locked and access controlled should be utility or electrical closets, gas and sewage service, and rooms or stations for water.
Interior Layer: The interior layer is the most critical layer. This layer is the final step between the residents and potential dangers. This should include access controls for primary parking areas, residence doors and locks, motion activated lights and emergency procedures, and security officer patrols. All of these play an important role in the interior security. The interior layer will include anything involving access or entrance to residences.
Often tying all of these pieces together will be security officers that can be an active part of each of these layers, through both patrols and specified posts.
Individual community and other items will dictate what to specifically include in each layer. Some of these items are lighting and CCTV, and security officer patrols which can overlap playing an important role in more than one layer within the same community. The most important thing to recognize is that one security element simply isn’t enough. To deter, detect, and protect you must build layers, both visible and discreet layers. It is also important to understand that all of the layers are of equal importance. While the lock on a homeowner’s front door may appear to be of the utmost importance, you must not overlook the exterior and middle layers.
Be aware that not every security issue comes in the form of an intruder or other unwelcome individual. Utility interruptions and floods that are preventable can also fall into the realm of security. There will still be security issues despite best efforts and large budgets. A primary exit road made impassible or a community left without power due to a natural disaster should also be considered as part of your security program. While these occurrences cannot be prevented by any security measure, preparedness and evacuation plans, along with communication needs to be in place so the security team can take lead on those initiatives. Security is often the first call, if a homeowner experiences any sort of problem. For the homeowners who are a part of the community, being prepared to handle any situation will go a long way.
Community association leaders and homeowners should work together with their security company to proactively prevent crime. Creating a safer community can be done through simple actions. The importance of knowing their residence is a priority with high quality security officers, and homeowners should also get to know the security officers. This not only opens the line of communication, but helps to further the security relationship. Homeowners reporting suspicious or unusual activity to the security staff should be without hesitation. Calls for volunteers and involving homeowners who are not part on the association board by way of events or newsletters will also be fruitful. It is the responsibility of the entire community for security.
Lastly another layer is a relationship with the local authorities. Along with your security provider and the local police and fire departments, you can produce security and safety awareness programs for residents. Communicating with the police about any security and emergency plans developed, inviting them into your community, and becoming involved in the safety initiatives of the police will extend the layers of security you already have in place.