Security is a tough nut. Everyone wants it, yet no one can guarantee it. Most lease agreements make that clear. But as you well know, resident safety is not completely out of your realm of responsibility. So let’s take a common-sense look at some of the legal, ethical and business aspects.
If bad things happen on your property, your security efforts may come under close scrutiny. You may even have to testify in legal proceedings. Diminish the risks on all fronts with a proactive security plan. Make it part of your everyday practices. Consider these ideas:
- Notify residents when criminal activity happens in your area.
- Encourage residents to report suspicious activity.
- Get to know your local law enforcement officers; ask for their help.
- If they have safety-tip pamphlets, keep them on hand for your residents.
- Get in the loop with neighborhood watch initiatives.
- Regularly examine your locks, lights, gates, fences, walkways, parking and trash collection areas.
- Document all your efforts with dates, times and activities. Make sure you’re prepared to show that you have an active plan aimed at resident safety.
Residents want to be kept informed. If they know there’s a threat, they’ll take measures to stay safe. Put yourself in their place. If you knew about criminal activity in your own neighborhood, would that affect your behavior? Your residents deserve the same consideration.
Simply put, resident safety is good for the bottom line. People want to live in a safe community. The perception of safety deeply impacts retention and attracts new residents. Your plan doesn’t have to drain the budget. Not all measures are costly. But the high cost of criminal activity can be long-term. Implement a proactive plan. Keep your residents aware and document your efforts to protect yourself and your property.