Are condo buildings dangerous? Almost never, but with so many people living, visiting and working in one concentrated area, there are bound to be some accidents.
Condo associations hire security staff for two main reasons; to help maintain the value and integrity of the building, and to ensure residents can enjoy a safe and relatively peaceful living environment. Often, condos are located in busy areas of a city, meaning they do receive unexpected visitors from time to time.
A top-notch guard will be someone who is reliable, proactive, and good with people.
Responsibilities of an unarmed guard
Armed security guards are trained and licensed to handle firearms. They carry a firearm at all times and are authorized to use it when necessary. Unarmed security guards are a better choice for the majority of condo buildings because they are more affordable, create less of a liability risk, and are just as qualified as armed guards to handle any issues that arise in a condo community. Furthermore, residents might feel a greater sense of fear if they see an armed guard on the property.
Unarmed guards are expected to do a lot. They are exceptional multitaskers, and quick thinkers. They must be able to analyze and defuse a situation in a couple of minutes (or less). Below are some of the key responsibilities of an unarmed security guard.
Prevent unwanted and inappropriate actions/incidents
Condo boards or managers hire guards to minimize unwanted or harmful activities such as locker thefts, car break-ins, vandalism, conflicts between residents or non-residents, disruptive parties, etc. As such, guards need to maintain a high visibility presence. People should be aware that they are on the premises. That’s because individuals are less likely to act poorly if they know they will be reprimanded for their behaviour.
To minimize unauthorized guests, guards may also be expected to monitor all entrances and exits, and require visitors to sign in before passing through the main lobby. Some buildings hire a separate concierge team, while others have a team that acts as security and concierge. Again, having a professional guard present can discourage unauthorized visitors from entering the building.
Monitoring alarm systems and video surveillance systems are also part of the job. These systems can help guards identify a potential issue before it becomes a big problem. If they do detect something isn’t quite right, it is important that guards follow up as soon as possible.
Perform regular patrols in and around the facility
Unarmed guards play a special role in condo buildings. They watch out for the things that others don’t even think about. Scheduled patrols will be assigned to guards during their shifts so that they have an opportunity to inspect the premises. The patrol may take them to the parking garage, through stairwells, into boiler rooms, and past back and side entrances. Patrols increase the guard’s visibility in busy areas, enhance residents’ feeling of safety, and allow guards to take a closer look at areas of the building that are hidden or generally avoided. Low-traffic areas can be the perfect spot for vandalism or theft.
Patrols are more complex than many may think. Guards must know the building very well, know the patrol route, know what the purpose of each patrol is (the purpose does change depending on the time of day and the route), and know what to do if something unexpected occurs. Having a guard tour system can be incredibly valuable to any unarmed guard.
A system like Patrol Points provides an effective and convenient security solution to security guards and companies using cloud-based technology. Managers create routes for their security staff, and place NFC-enabled tags at designated checkpoints. The tags are discrete and durable, so they can be placed indoors and outside. Once the tags are registered and the routes are ready to go, the patrol guard scans specific tags assigned to the route using their smartphone. The system will direct the guard to the next checkpoint.
Management can even leave notes at certain checkpoints for security guards as they conduct a patrol. This way, they never forget about tasks that need to be taken care of during a patrol.
The system allows guards to take notes or attach photos as well if they encounter an issue or incident. This information is added to an incident report. Incidents can be filed in the middle of a patrol, and updated if necessary.
Because Patrol Points has an online and offline mode, security can scan every checkpoint, add comments and take photos without WiFi or data.
Guards never know what they will encounter during a patrol. But, having a reliable guard tour system can eliminate some of the variables that make the job more difficult.
Guards must have strong communication skills. That’s because they are constantly interacting with people, be they managers, colleagues, or homeowners. Guards are expected to offer help to residents or visitors; they must be knowledgeable and respectful. They must also be able to effectively communicate with people in stressful or tense situations, and defuse the situation without causing harm to anyone. How you say something can be just as important as what you say.
Furthermore, guards must prepare and maintain clear and detailed logs for shifts, patrols and incidents, if applicable. Managers and colleagues should be able to read and understand the logs on their own. That means including the time and date, people involved, description of what happened before the guard was on the scene, and what happened after they arrived, whether police were called, whether the issue was resolved, etc.
Good communication is invaluable. It is often the thing that separates good security guards from great security guards.
Additional duties as required
Depending on the building, and the client, unarmed guards may be asked to take on additional responsibilities. Some of these duties can include:
- Performing maintenance checks on security systems
- Ensuring equipment is in good working order
- Providing keys to authorized personnel
- Letting guests into visitor suites
- Inspecting suites once guests have left
- Assisting with package deliveries
- Reporting rule infractions and violations
This list is not exhaustive, but it does offer an idea as to some of the responsibilities that guards may be asked to take on.
Unarmed security guards work very hard to maintain the peace and safety of a condo community. While it is rare for a building to experience much violence or serious criminal activity, guards do encounter issues such as doors that have been left open, bike thefts, and parties that have become too loud. It is their job to minimize these occurrences, and intervene if an incident does arise. Guards should never put themselves in danger, but they do need to be proactive and keep the property and the residents safe whenever possible.
Security companies that equip their guards with a simple, reliable guard tour system end up setting the entire team up for success. Not only can guards benefit from the useful security features, but clients will also appreciate the transparency and accountability that accompanies this type of system.