Home Safe Home How to Handle the Aftermath of a Crime in Your Co-op or Condo

Oftentimes crime stems from people who already have legitimate access to a property (iStock)..

Man is but a flawed creature, cursed by his very nature to succumb to his own worst impulses. And one of those impulses might lead to criminal activity. Unfortunately, crime is an inevitability, even in a fairly secure condominium or cooperative residential establishment. Whether perpetrated by an outsider or a wolf in sheep's clothing living among the residents, shady stuff is going to go down. And when it does, a board will most likely be faced with questions from its shareholders or owner base, such as “How can we keep everyone safe in today's uncertain world?” While that question cannot be answered definitively, there are certainly things that you can suggest and methods you can take to help placate a deservedly anxious community.

Big Brother

One of the easiest and most reliable ways to secure your property and put your residents at ease in the aftermath of a crime is to install additional surveillance equipment. That said, there's a fine line to walk here, as a board does not want to go overboard and turn its once-warm community into a walled police state.

Oftentimes your local police department will offer a service whereby an officer will walk your property and offer suggestions as to how it can be safer. If this is available in your neighborhood, it's certainly something you'd be advised to explore.

“The two things that the police department will invariably suggest to any board is to install additional cameras and additional lighting,” says Eliot H. Zuckerman, a partner in the real estate law practice at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP, which has offices in New York, Atlanta, Austin, Jacksonville and Washington D.C. “You'll want to illuminate areas that may be unclear, and survey areas that are not visible to everyone, like the mail room or the rear yard or a package room or stairwells or hallways; security may occasionally override privacy concerns, and you should look at that on a case-by-case basis.”

You're on Notice

Another tactic a board may take in the wake of a criminal incident is to encourage awareness among residents.

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