Few things are more precious to people than feeling safe and secure in their homes. We all want to feel protected from crime and prepared for any emergency that might arise, and in urban co-op and condo communities, the issue of security and emergency preparedness is particularly important.
The reasons for this are obvious: cities have higher crime rates per capita than suburban and rural communities, and life in a multi-family building means that an individual resident can't control who enters a building the way someone who owns a house can. In addition to that, high-rise buildings present more complicated evacuation and emergency logistics challenges than smaller structures.
Realizing this, says Terence B. Hoey, CCP/PSP of Hoey & Associates Inc., a New York City-based security management consulting firm, "There's a higher degree of tolerance on the part of residents when it comes to participating in improving procedures and also in drills and other issues of preparedness."
There are lots of ways to protect and prepare a building, and what managers and boards need to do is determine the needs and desires of their residents to provide the safety they expect.
On a small scale, the nuts and bolts of keeping a building secure is preventing crime by keeping unwanted intruders away. Various devices can help keep a building safer: alarms, cameras, and access-control devices such as card scanners. Technology is always getting better, but the impact of simple, old-fashioned watchfulness and a real, live guard can't be underestimated. Though cost is a factor, many co-op and condo buildings in the city want the services of on-site security guards.