As we enter 2012, and the holiday season has passed, I hope everyone had an enjoyable and safe New Year.
A few weeks ago, I addressed "How to be safe during the hoildays season." This time I want to give you some low-cost tips on how to secure your property, be it a building or a private residence.
Let's start with the outside perimeter.
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. 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 the 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 are by people who have keys to the building. Don’t allow your tenants to lend out their keys to domestic help or handymen. While these workers 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 heads. That’s not what we mean: That 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 have doors that are built with a mechanism that makes them automatically close after being 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 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.)
- Indoor lighting: All of 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 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 need 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.
From all my experince, seeing it again and again, I say it's better to be safe than sorry.
Feel free to contact me for any security qustions or concerns, and I will do my best to assist you.
Direct Office: 818-980-1241, ext. 7010; or check my websites for more info and tips: www.ProfessorSecurity.com; www.MulhollandSecurity.com.