Property Management and Crime-Prevention

Landlord:I intentionally moved into an upscale neighborhood. All my neighbors are responsible citizens. There isn’t any crime here.’

Thief:Yikes, this is like taking candy from a baby. These rich folks leave their vehicles and homes unlocked and their streets are rather dark at night.’

It is rather naive to think that crime won’t happen in 'my' neighborhood. Criminals scout out all areas for an easy theft. Additionally, those who have never committed a criminal act just might be tempted if a tempting opportunity presents as too great to pass up.

Wherever you live - even if it is a gated community - criminals are present and waiting. Though it is impossible to guard against all possible criminal acts, there is much that can be done to dissuade the criminally minded (thieves, muggers, vandals, peeping Toms, stalkers, rapists, etc.) from acting.

  • Neighborhood Watch - if there isn’t one in your neighborhood, organize one. If one already exists, participate in it. If you already belong to the NW group, make sure it is operating effectively. There is an abundance of useful information online. One of the best aspects of a NW is learning how to be vigilant ‘noticers’ and to know what to do when something appears suspicious. Is your NW ‘tight’ with the local police?
  • Locked up - it isn’t being neurotic to make sure your vehicle is locked when you are not in it and that the doors and windows of your home are kept locked when you are away or sleeping. It has been reported that the majority of robberies occur in unlocked cars and homes.
  • Common Sense - keep valuables out of sight. Don’t bait the crooks by keeping your purse, camera, GPS, or other valuables in plain sight in your car - locked or otherwise. Additionally, close the blinds on your downstairs windows at night so that would-be thieves cannot see what you have for the taking.
  • Lights - if the area around your home is well lit, it discourages burglaries. Street lights, flood lights, and motion-detecting lights are useful crime reducing elements in every neighborhood. If a street light ceases to work, immediate call for a repair. Criminals like the dark.
  • Vegetation - though it may look beautiful to have nice hedges and trees around your house, if the appropriate plant and its placement is not well thought through, criminals will use what you call beauty to their malicious advantage. There are plants that can be used to dissuade criminals from your property and there are those that invite them. Learn the difference for you geographical location.
  • Imagine - stand back and look at your property. If you were a burglar or an individual with other nefarious intentions, how easy would it be for you to take advantage ‘your’ home?
  • Deterrents - in many cases a fence around your property can be an effective deterrent to would-be intruders. Also, motion-detecting cameras may be used effectively. If cameras are used, carefully consider where should they be mounted, what angle is best, what will be the quality of the images, and could the would be intruder easily avoid it or render it inoperative? Is your expectation that the camera will be used primarily as a forensic tool or are you willing to invest sufficiently in the use of cameras so that they can be an effective crime deterrent?
  • Liability - If you are a landlord, what security precautions does the law require of you? Beyond what the law may require, what does your particular neighborhood need in terms of security measures? Does your tenant(s) feel secure living in your property? Are the locks re-keyed between tenants?
  • False Security - security signs without followup and/or fake cameras may allow you to feel safe, but really aren’t adequate security measures for the motivated criminal.

For more information, here are some other resources:

National Crime Prevention Council 

National Neighborhood Watch Institute 

Crime Stoppers

Security Mistakes HOA's Make

* This isn’t intended to be a complete listing of crime prevention measures, but merely to encourage you - whether a property manager, landlord, or tenant - to give serious thought to your safety.