5 Security System Tips Every Property Manager Should Know
As a property manager, you’re responsible for the security and safety of your tenants. Whether you lease apartments, offices, warehouses, stores, or homes, you’ll need a comprehensive commercial security system for each building you take care of. That means access control, surveillance cameras, and alarm systems to cover the problems you and your tenants will face.
1. Risk Assessment
The first step for property managers in securing their property is performing a risk assessment. A detailed examination of your site will tell you what you need to protect against and give you a security plan to work from. Ideally, you’ll be installing your security system as the building is constructed, but it can be done after the fact. Regardless, you’ll need to figure out what threats you’ll be up against at that site and how to combat them. Building security doesn’t just happen overnight; you’ll need to make sure you make the necessary modifications to the exterior spaces as well as the interior rooms.
2. Access Control
Managing your tenants and controlling access to your site is a critical part of keeping your property safe. You may not want fingerprint scanners on every door, but you definitely want a way to keep track of your tenants and visitors while keeping out undesirable elements. Physical keys are the traditional solution, but they don’t provide entry logs. Key cards and PIN codes are a common solution, but key fobs or even smartphone credentials are alternatives.
Keyless entry systems give you more control over your premises, allowing you to manage your tenant database in real-time. Handling the inevitable turnover and accidental lock-outs remotely is a huge benefit, especially if you are a property manager that manages more than one property. Visitor management is also much easier with an access control system, ensuring you restrict access to only approved guests.
3. Surveillance Cameras
Combining cameras with your access control system is an excellent way to increase your security. What used to take a number of security guards and complicated patrol patterns now only needs a few guards in an office with a suite of security cameras. Line crossing detection and other video analytics cut down on irrelevant data and highlight important events. The remote viewing capabilities of modern NVRs let you see who’s trying to buzz in – or break in – even when you’re off-site. 2-way intercoms (or the equivalent speaker-and-microphone combination) will let you communicate with a tenant that forgot or lost their key or scare off intruders. Surveillance cameras can also help limit your liability if an accident does occur on your property. Having a clear record of what happens on your property gives you the right information to deal with problems and make changes in the future.
4. Alarm Systems
Cameras and entry controls are great tools, but if there is an incident in spite of them, you need an alarm system to alert the proper authorities. Intruder and fire alarms are just as important as the rest of your security system and can’t be disregarded. Door and window contacts in your main lobby will alert you if someone does decide to break in. Verified or monitored alarms will get the authorities to your door even faster, since the real emergencies will be treated as an event-in-progress.
5. Additional Security Measures
Security is more than your systems – it’s also about your practices. If you’re making your security plan while the building is under construction, you can work with the architect to increase natural security. Windows and open spaces facilitate better surveillance, and strategically placed exits make access control easier. Planning the landscaping in conjunction with your security systems reduces blind spots for your cameras and sensors, and designating specific visitor and tenant parking can lessen confusion and traffic. Having clearly established security procedures and practices doesn’t just mitigate problems when they occur. An obvious, proactive approach to security streamlines your day-to-day routine and can act as a deterrent, preventing security issues before they arise.