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by Avi Ben David

Some low cost tips to make your building more secure:

Outside your building:


You want outside lighting with motion detection units.  When a thief sets off your lights in his midnight prowl around your complex, he is most likely to run to another, less well protected building.


Landscaping: . Your basic interest is to landscape in such a way that criminal elements don’t have hiding places.  A few tips:Keep your landscaping in good shape. Overgrown grass and foliage advertise to criminals that you are likely to be neglecting your responsibility in security as well.Tall shrubs are hiding places for thieves. You want shrubs that aren’t higher than three feet and are full of thorns! Ask your local gardener for best ones. Many shrubs act as a sort of natural “razor wire fence” to your building.


Fences and Gates:Every gate should close completely, be nearly impossible to force open and the latches should be shielded with a protective plate.  The "pickets" (the vertical parts of the gate and fence) ideally would terminate at the top with a sharp decorative point or fleur-de-lis.


Entrance Door Ways and Locks:

Fully one third of all "break-ins" occur from people who have keys to the building. Don't allow your tenants to lend out their keys to domestic help or handymen. While this help may be honest, their connections may not be.

Lots of times "bad guys" come into the building "in the footsteps" of your residents. Educate your tenants that they need to be personally responsible as they enter or exit the property through your pedestrian entrances and your parking lot.

You want real high security locks and keys. The most popular and most dependable being the brand Medeco.

You are probably familiar with the "do not duplicate" keys with the square head. That’s not what we mean: this type of key can be duplicated just about anywhere.True high security locks and keys are not available from your typical department or hardware store; they are only available from authorized distributors.

In order to get a duplicate key made, the person authorized from your building must interact with the authorized distributor again. The distributor has a security procedure that is gone through to make sure that the new duplicate key is gotten into the right hands.Aside from this duplicate key protocol, this type of lock is the most "pick proof" of any residential or commercial lock you are likely to purchase.
 

Door closers.

Most condominium buildings are built with doors that are built with a mechanism that makes them "automatically” close after they have been opened. You should frequently check them to make sure they are working properly.They should close and latch securely without having to be pulled or pushed into place. The mechanisms can be tricky and need to be correctly adjusted. If you’re not certain you know how, hire a professional to adjust them. Often times they can be put to right by lubricating the latches with WD-40. (Never put WD-40 in the closing mechanism or in lock cylinders.)
 

Indoors:


Indoor lighting:  all your common areas should be brightly lit. Of particular importance are the laundry rooms and the parking lot. But, good lighting is a must throughout all your common areas.Most parking lot crime occurs in the very late night or early morning. Without causing alarm, make sure your residents understand that women and children particularly should avoid the parking lot during these time periods or visit them only when accompanied by a strong male presence.


See that your CCTV cameras are working and optimally positioned with good lighting. You want CCTV at your entryways, laundry room, parking lot, mailbox area and at your swimming pool and playground areas.Check that your DVR is recording properly with clear images in a secure location.  Your DVR should be in a lockbox with only trusted personnel having keys.


These are basics and most can be put in to place with little time or expense.  Do more to improve things as you can, but get these basics implemented first.

Avi Ben David is the owner of Mulholland Security Centers, Inc., in Los Angeles (www.MulhollandSecurity.com). Mulholland has implemented security systems for hundreds of HOAs throughout Southern California and also handles security concerns for businesses including Kaiser-Permanente, Trader Joe’s, the Burbank Airport, and Sysco Foods Supply.  You can contact Mr. Ben David through our website or by calling 888.562.5638.