One of the major benefits of living in an HOA community is the feeling of safety and security you get that’s not available to those in a public community. However, in order to ensure that HOA security is effective, there are certain measures that must be taken.
Ensuring Effective Security in Your HOA Community
Following are 10 ways to ensure that the residents in your HOA community are safe and secure at all times.
Perform a security assessment
Safety and security within your HOA community start with an assessment. Without performing an assessment, there’s no way to know how vulnerable your community is. If you’re not sure what a security assessment is, it’s an on-site inspection that helps to determine the areas of your community that are exposed to threats. The assessment pinpoints potential security issues so that you can find cost-effective solutions to address them.
It’s possible to do a DIY inspection. However, if you’re not trained in security, you could be missing key details. Hiring a professional to perform an inspection will ensure you are using effective security practices.
Stay informed of premise liability laws
Laws vary from one state to the next. However, HOA communities may be held liable for third parties injuring themselves or others. This is known as premise liability. Find out if this is true in your state, and if so, be sure to place signage informing the community of these laws.
Premise liability involves a wide variety of things, from slip-and-falls to dog bites. Additionally, premise liability includes elevator accidents, water leaks, toxic fumes, injuries caused by inadequate maintenance, swimming pool accidents, and more. In order to prevent issues, make sure that proper maintenance steps are taken in all common areas.
Also, be sure to check building codes and ordinances that are applicable to your HOA. Make sure that you are not ignoring these codes, as it could put your HOA in danger.
Guarantee that security measures are effective
Keep in mind that even though you put security measures in place, you still must make sure they are effective. For example, if you have a security fence, it needs to be more than 3 to 4 feet tall to keep people out.
Another example is to make sure that you install warning signs letting residents know what they can and can’t do. There are some HOAs that will put security measures in place without enforcing the measures, just so they can say they have them. To ensure adequate security, you want to make sure your HOA never does this.
Consider forming a committee over the safety and security of the community that is monitoring these security measures and issues. The committee can discuss concerns and propose action plans for the board to consider.
Have an annual review of resident security
The HOA board needs to be checking with residents annually to ensure that the security measures are doing what they are intended to. Find out if there are any situations or areas where residents feel unsafe. This will help determine what security issues need to be addressed. Of course, this will be part of the initial security assessment, but it’s always a good idea to follow up with residents annually to stay on top of things.
Schedule maintenance of security systems
It is essential that you schedule regular maintenance and repairs for any security systems in place. You should set up a service contract with the original manufacturer or a service provider that is familiar with the security system.
Hire a virtual security guard
Some HOAs have on-site security guards that patrol the community. However, this opens you up to increased liability risks. To avoid these risks, consider hiring a virtual security guard. This way, you can be sure that your community is protected with 24/7 monitoring and efficient response to threats.
Use landscaping to your advantage
Most HOAs don’t realize how much of a role landscaping can play in the prevention of crimes. Criminals can hide in overgrown foliage and extended tree branches can be a way to access second-floor windows. You can prevent these issues by making sure landscaping is properly maintained and trimming shrubs, trees, and foliage regularly.
Of course, you can also use landscaping to deter criminals by planting thorny shrubs as barriers. If your community is enclosed, using thorned plants in addition to fences can keep potential offenders out of the area.
Make sure residents are educated
The HOA is only responsible for the common areas. They are not responsible for ensuring safety within private homes. The best way to ensure the residents are safe in their homes is to make sure that they are educated on safety and security measures.
Have a meeting with residents to explain proper security procedures to them, including:
- Installation of CO detectors
- Proper use of portable generators
- Installation of home alarm systems
- Inventory of personal belongings
- Leaving a light on at night to deter potential intruders
- Asking neighbors to bring in newspaper or mail when out of town
- Not hiding a spare key in obvious places
- Encouraging them to speak up if they see something suspicious
Get together with local law enforcement
When it comes to community security, the HOA board doesn’t have to act alone. Build a relationship with local law enforcement to help with crime prevention. Invite them to HOA meetings and don’t waste their time with trivial complaints. They likely have a lot more experience than you, so trust them to do what needs to be done to ensure effective security for your HOA community.
Consider hiring a professional security firm
There is always the option to hire a professional security firm to ensure that your HOA community is protected. They have the experience and the tools required to handle security issues. Of course, this will cost more than handling it yourself, so it’s important to have a budget in place.
If you decide to hire a security company, make sure that there is no conflict of interest with board members. It should be an independent third party. If there is a conflict of interest, it could increase your liability risk.
One of the most significant advantages of living in an HOA community is the safety and security provided that is not found in the general public. However, there are certain steps that need to be taken to ensure effective security in your HOA community. These ten tips should help provide a better understanding of your HOA security needs. You can contact Securiteam to schedule an assessment, and we can help you with the entire process, from the assessment to installation and monitoring of security systems.