Recent nationwide crime statistics show that New York City and its outlying suburbs has become one of the safest cities of its size in the past 15 years. Nevertheless, in a sprawling metropolitan area encompassing New York and New Jersey, security is always a concern.
“People are either interested in security or they’re not. There are plenty of options out there for a condo or co-op to better protect their building,” says Harry Squasoni, senior vice president of American Security Systems, based in Long Island City. “Most buildings still have keys, which is the worst security alive. Keys go to girlfriends, boyfriends, contractors…you have no idea who has keys to your building.”
As technology has advanced, security system options for multifamily buildings and homeowner associations have broadened as well. The key is getting boards and management companies to institute the changes.
“There is a fear of change and a fear of technology sometimes,” says Colin Foster, vice president of sales and marketing for Manhattan-based Virtual Doorman. “The biggest hurdle is working through a democratic process. When you are dealing with a board and there are 8 to 10 people making a decision, it can be a long, slow process,” he says. Boards and managers need to do their due diligence to determine what will work best for their building and decide if the security improvements won’t soon become obsolete.
“When management companies select a security system, they should consider one that’s upgradeable, modular and easily fixed,” says Lucien Bohbot, founder and president of Unitone Communications Systems, Inc., a Manhattan company that has been designing, manufacturing and maintaining top-of-the-line video intercom and alarm systems since 1981. “I believe the best option for residential managers and board presidents are systems that give them what they need—and not necessarily all the ‘bells and whistles’,” he says.