building security challenges

5 Common Building Security Challenges for Apartments

Building security is a unique challenge property managers face, whether you are managing an apartment building or high-rise condominium. It’s not enough to just put a lock on the building door. There is parking lot security to consider, and even the walkway from the parking lot or street parking to the building door.

You are not alone in your mission to improve building security. Here are five of the most common building security challenges, and tips on how to solve them.

What is Building Security?

Before we get into those safety and security tips, let’s cover the basics about what it means to have a truly secure building.

Trespassers are always a concern in an apartment or condominium environment. A homeless individual might seek out an empty apartment to squat in. A criminal may enter a building to loot an apartment or do harm to a resident.

The building is more than you might think. Building security involves managing entryway access to the building. It also includes the building front door, exterior windows, balconies or patios, storage rooms, and sliding glass doors.

When your building is secure, incidents and theft are minimized for both you and your residents. Overall, you will achieve a sense of well-being at your property.

Building Security Tip: How to Manage Trespassers

The standard definition for trespassing, according to Nolo, is someone who:

  • Intentionally enters a building or remains on a property
  • Uses or enters someone else’s property like a car in the apartment lot or a rented garage
  • Does not have the authorization to be on the property.

Remind residents regularly not to let people into the building if they don’t have a key. Ask them to send the person to the front office or property manager for help. Also, remind them not to open the building door if the office is closed for the day.

Don’t overlook the parking lot when searching for trespassers. The FBI reports motor vehicle theft went up by 4.1 percent in 2017.

Building Security Tip: How to Secure a Bike

Portland is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the United States. That means you probably have a lot of bicycles on your property, whether in a secure bike storage room or locked up outside near the entryway to the building. That also means you have a liability on your hands, because bicycles are always appealing to criminals.

When it comes to bike theft, one of the most proactive approaches property managers can take is to offer residents a bike rack and advise them how to lock bikes safely. Even in a secure bike storage room, residents should lock their bike.

There are many types of locks available, but the most effective is the all-metal u-lock. Cable, chain, or corded bike locks are easy to cut through. When you lock your bike, loop the u-lock around the rear wheel and frame, then secure the lock to a bike rack or staple.

Building Security Tip: How to Report a Crime or Incident

Always call the police by dialing 911 if there has been a crime inside an apartment or in the building. After the authorities have secured the area, you can take the next steps in your security process.

If you are working with a security services company like PPS, submit an incident report form immediately. It’s important to communicate any incidents with your security service provider to make sure they know all of the details. This way they can take appropriate steps to decrease these safety concerns in the future.

A security services team investigates the crime and recommends solutions that improve your building security efforts long-term. They often collaborate with the police to find the criminal to prevent a repeat crime by the same individual in the future.

Building Security Tip: How to Secure a Storage or Utility Room

You should secure these spaces the same way you secure the apartments—with a sturdy door and strong door lock. Install a “deadbolt” lock with at least a 1 ½“ to 2” bolt throw.

Make sure the only people who have a key to the door are property employees or your security service provider. If each apartment has a storage area, change locks on those doors when residents move out, just like you would with key fobs on the front doors.

Building Security Tip: How to Secure Patio and Balcony Doors

Make sure all apartments with patios or balconies have secure sliding doors with high-quality bars and a Grade 1 lock. Patios and balconies are prime entry points into flats that are often forgotten when assessing building security.

Balcony security is necessary even for apartments on higher floors. In most cases, someone could shimmy from one balcony to gain access to another. The more locking points on these doors, the better.

Being a property manager can be highly stressful. Security issues come up, and you have to act quickly.

While there are building security improvements you can regularly put into practice, the next step is bringing on a professional building security provider. Hiring a security services team is another layer that will relieve stress for you and help your residents feel more secure where they live.

In search of a building security provider? The PPS team is here to help.