Security is a big issue no matter where you live, but in a sprawling urban environment like New York City, it's toward the top of residents' list of concerns. For co-ops and condos, addressing this means not only providing residents a safe and secure place to live, but staffing it with workers who know what to do in the case of an emergency.
Boards and managing agents may be the ones to map out their building security and emergency plans, but most likely, building staff members such as the super, doorman, maintenance crew, and others will be the ones to actually carry out those plans, or be the first responders in case of an emergency.
Many people today specifically seek out buildings with doormen and full-time staff because they feel safer and more secure knowing there’s somebody on watch at all times. “Doormen normally act as the front line of defense,” says Peter Grech, a longtime building super and the director of education of the New York City Superintendents Technical Association (STA). “They know the residents, and over time get to know the regular visitors to the building. They even know the habits of residents.”
There are some co-ops and condos that employ an on-site security guard or someone with similar responsibilities. While in year’s past, almost anyone could have been hired for these positions, recent legislation has stipulated that only trained professionals are doing the guarding.
“The security industry as a whole has vastly changed throughout the years,” says Timothy M. O'Brien, president of Criminal Intelligence Administration in Astoria. “The most important change within the training realm involves the enactment of the New York State Security Guard Act. Prior to the act, the industry was unregulated and untrained. The license and criminal history checks [enacted since] ensure that criminals are not entrusted to hold the ‘keys to the castle.’ The training requirement ensures at least the bare minimum is being taught by employers and that training is reinforced on an annual basis.”