The Link Between Security Patrols and Safer Condo Communities
By: Kim Brown
Date Published: January 28, 2021
Security guards play an important role in keeping condo communities happy and safe. Patrols allow them to monitor the building, maintain a physical presence, deter unwanted guests or activity, and provide immediate assistance if necessary.
Guards also deliver critical information to their managers, and the building’s manager or board members. They are often the first to notice potential security issues, and are a good source of support to condo communities that want to keep their building and residents as safe as possible.
It takes knowledge, skill, and strategy to protect a residential condo building, but there are things guards can do today to ensure their patrols are effective and productive.
Aligning security goals
Boards or managers who hire a security company usually do so because residents have asked for greater protection, or because the building is experiencing issues that they cannot resolve on their own. Hiring a security company is a significant investment for some associations, so they trust that the company they hire will deliver the results they need.
The first step to ensuring patrols are done well is to understand what the condo building’s goals are, and make those goals clear to your security team. Some associations may be struggling with car vandalism, while others want to minimize the number of unauthorized visitors entering the building.
Different goals will require different patrols. Management can design routes and create checkpoints based on what needs to be achieved during a patrol. You may find that the building’s goals change over time. Do your best to be flexible and adapt to changing needs. Frequent communication between guards, management and the board will help ensure everyone is on the same page. Keeping records from patrols can help you make stronger cases and prove that your team is making a difference.
Plan, plan, plan
Effective security patrols are organized, usually scheduled ahead of time, and routes are familiar to both the guard and the supervisor or manager. Every guard should understand what they are responsible for before they are on duty. Surprises are not wanted or welcomed when guards are working. Remove any element of uncertainty whenever possible.
Tour guard systems like Patrol Points allow your team to view upcoming patrols from their phone or desktop so that they are better prepared for their shifts. You can even specify what time the patrol should begin, and leave a comment for the person who will be covering the route.
Finally, guards should be prepared for any “what ifs” while they are on duty. What if a fire is discovered at the back of the building? What if a fight breaks out in front of a unit? What if the guard finds themselves in serious danger?
Knowing how to respond when presented with serious situations can greatly alter the outcome; a few minutes may save a life.
Guards also need to know things like what the most immediate escape route is, where fire extinguishers are located, where to find light switches, and how to turn off building equipment.
Don’t get complacent
No matter how skilled or experienced your team is, it’s important to stay alert and follow best practices. Once employees become comfortable with their roles, they may let their guard down a bit, and take shortcuts once and a while. But complacency can lead to mistakes, and that’s not something guards want to risk when they are on duty.
Even if they are completing a routine patrol, guards should always remain alert, fill out any forms or notes that they are required to complete, and follow instructions provided to them by their manager or supervisor.
Guards usually have uniforms that they are supposed to wear for every shift, and there’s a good reason for that. The proper attire makes a big difference for guards. For example, poor footwear impacts their ability to move freely or quickly and can negatively impact their health over a long period of time. Because security guards are always moving, they need footwear that will keep up with them, not slow them down. Similarly, guards should make sure they are wearing uniforms for each shift. Not only are they designed to allow guards to perform their duties without being restrictive, but they help owners (and people who do not live on the property) easily identify them.
Switching up patrol routes is another important step in keeping guards safe and vigilant. This ensures guards don’t get bored taking the same routes, but it also minimizes security risks. No one but the guard and management should know the guard’s patrol route, but their routes may become obvious if they continue to follow the same routine. In order to keep your guards’ movements unpredictable, and make the planning of unwanted activity more difficult, try and vary the routes your security guards take to patrol checkpoints.
Use checkpoints strategically
Speaking of checkpoints, it is essential to strategically place checkpoints in and near areas that are both very public and hidden. Guards need to patrol stairwells, main entrances, gyms, parking garages, back and side exits, mechanical rooms, and any other areas that are susceptible to vandalism or danger.
These checkpoints shouldn’t be impossible to find or difficult to access, but they shouldn’t be right beside a handle or doorknob, either. Some checkpoint hardware, such as durable NFC tags, are designed to endure harsh conditions, which means they can safely be installed outside as well as underground, in hot mechanical rooms, and near water.
When executed well, patrols help to reduce crime and boost safety in condo buildings. However, in order to effectively protect others, guards need to make sure that they are strategic and alert when on duty. Every condo building will present its own challenges, so guards need to be prepared for the unexpected, while management must tailor patrols and security strategies to the unique needs of the association.
No matter what challenges your team is dealing with, make sure to plan ahead, be familiar with the building’s layout, and encourage your team to communicate. Reliable information and data are key to minimizing and preventing crime. It’s also necessary to help keep your client happy. While the value of having a security team on the premises is obvious to you, condos need proof that they have made a valuable investment.
Make sure your team is prepared to deliver more than average service. Having a regimented system that includes good recordkeeping and strategic patrols can set your company up for success and help you stand out from the competition.