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RESIDENTIAL SECURITY

Our range of services include Apartment Security, Contract Security Guard Service, Resident Screening Security Service and Burglary Security Service.

Apartment Security

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Security Guards in Apartment Housing

Owning, managing, and living in rental housing can be a challenging experience. Apartment owners have certain legal duties to provide reasonably safe rental housing. Apartment residents rely on property owners and managers to a large degree to make the premises reasonably safe. An apartment unit should be the sanctuary for you and your family...but is it? Is your family really safe once they get inside your apartment and lock your door?

Use of Security Guards

Is there a difference between a uniformed security guard and a courtesy officer on an apartment property? The name obviously; but their function is often identical. It seems that some apartment managers believe that calling a uniformed security guard a "courtesy officer" somehow reduces their exposure to civil liability. This belief can’t be farther from the truth. Call them what you will, but know that it's the security guard uniform and conduct that will define their true job function.
In practical terms, the primary difference between the two is that the contract security guard is employed by the contractor and not by you. The in-house courtesy officer is an employee of the property management company and usually lives on the premises. The courtesy officer may not be in traditional uniform and may only wear a logo shirt. There are advantages and disadvantages of both types. The biggest advantage of a courtesy officer over the contract worker is the ability to have them live on-site and get to know the property and residents better. Most carry a pager and can respond quickly. Many courtesy officers offer superior service and become very loyal to the property they protect.

Many courtesy officers are off-duty police officers, and with them come superior training and experience. However, don't assume that off-duty police officers know how to provide adequate security to an apartment property. Apartment security isn’t taught at the police academy. Also, remember that off-duty police officers may be tired and may not want to wear another uniform or do a lot of foot patrol. However, many courtesy officers are mere civilians and can have the disadvantage of a lack of professional security or police training. Obviously, the training problem can be overcome with a little effort.

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The question that we are most often asked is, "How do I find a quality contract security guard service for a reasonable price that will perform the patrols responsibly?" To answer this question you must first accept certain facts as being true.

Accept the fact that the words "quality and reasonable price" are often contradictory terms. Accept the fact that paying the highest or lowest price for a contract security patrol officer doesn't always equate to the quality of service, although there are exceptions. Accept the fact that all contract security agencies are drawn from the same labor pool for potential employees. If your market area has high employment the security guard labor pool may be substandard. In fact, many poorquality security officers will drift between contract agencies until they exhaust the supply of employers. Security guards are often transient and this is the first job they find after hitting town. Because of this fact, it can become a kind of a crapshoot sometimes as the contract agency sends a different security officer to patrol your property each night.

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The best way to head off this problem is to practice resident screening and enforce clearly defined and articulated community rules that are emphasized during the lease application process. The resident needs to know that their tenancy may be in jeopardy if they bring in an unauthorized (and unscreened) occupant. Proof of this method is well documented in apartment properties all over the country, as police calls for service seem to fluctuate proportionally as resident screening standards and rule enforcement vary following management changes.

Good resident screening involves proof of identity, proof of employment, credit check, rental history, and criminal background, if available. A good screening plan should call for all non-dependent occupants to be included on the lease and subject to the same resident qualifications. All children should be identified on the lease along with maximum occupancy limits.

In this day and age, resident screening is more than just establishing the ability to pay rent. In my experience, properties that tend to have a higher percentage of unauthorized occupants don't enforceoccupancy rules and have lowered their screening standards on credit, rental and employment history, and don’t do available criminal background checks. A policy of collecting higher security deposits or getting co-signers for an otherwise unqualified applicant is asking for trouble down the road and is unfair to the other good residents.

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By far, the most common threat to an apartment unit is burglary. Burglary, by definition, is a non-confrontational crime, but being victimized can leave a family feeling vulnerable and violated. To prevent a burglary, it is important to first gain an understanding of who commits them and why. The majority of apartment burglaries occur during the daytime when most people are away at work or at school. Burglaries also occur at night when there are obvious signs that no one is home. Most apartment burglars are young males looking for things that are small, expensive, and can easily be converted to cash. Items like cash, jewelry, guns, watches, laptop computers, and other small electronic devices are high on the list. Quick cash is needed for living expenses and drugs.

Statistics tell us that more than 30% of all apartment burglars gained access through an open door or window. Ordinary household tools like screwdrivers, channel-lock pliers, small pry bars, and small hammers are most often used by burglars. Although apartment burglaries may seem random in occurrence, they actually involve a selection process.

The burglar's selection process is simple. Choose an unoccupied apartment with the easiest access, the greatest amount of cover, and with the best escape routes. What follows is a list of suggestions to minimize your risk by making your home unattractive to potential burglars.

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