8 Mistakes Made by HOAs and Community Managers
By: Danny Holmgren, Commercial Vice President
1. THINKING THAT CAMERAS WILL SOLVE EVERYTHING
CCTV is not the solution. Often times, communities feel that slapping up a bunch of cameras will get rid of their problem. The problem is that the cameras are put up, but are not reviewed or monitored by anybody. So, the community sits and waits for an incident to occur and then is disappointed when the camera wasn’t pointed the right way, didn’t have the right angle, or couldn’t quite make out what happened with enough detail to take advantage. Don’t rely solely on cameras for security!
2. NOT HAVING A SECURITY SURVEY
A true security professional can help to assess where the problems are coming from, solutions that can help eliminate that problem, and make suggestions that will thwart off the next issue.
3. IMPLEMENTING THE WRONG SECURITY SOLUTION
This is one of the most common mistakes we see. Don’t be the type of customer who is penny wise and pound-foolish. We commonly get called out to “upgrade” an existing system that was purchased from Costco or Fry’s and has never been able to provide much good. Good security costs money. It needs to be considered an investment, if you really want to stop ongoing incidents.
4. RELYING TOO MUCH ON CCTV CAMERAS
We are often asked by customer’s to put camera’s in places that aren’t to solve problems that should not be the concern of the HOA. For example, installing cameras looking down the streets of a community. It is not the HOA’s responsibility to keep people’s cars from getting broken into in their driveways. Parking lots are another area of concern. To truly “cover” a parking lot can require dozens of cameras, if the goal is to monitor each vehicle. That is not your responsibility. Put cameras in places where community assets are in jeopardy, not individual resident’s assets.
5. INSTALLING INEFFECTIVE OR “DUMB” SECURITY SYSTEMS
Often in an measure to try and save a buck, the penny-wise, pound-foolish systems that we see installed by others, or by the community itself, would have been better to never be installed in the first place. Things like dummy cameras expose the HOA to culpability and don’t really provide great deterrence, unless the offender has seen evidence that those cameras are frequently being viewed and monitored.
6. SPENDING DOLLARS TO PROTECT PENNIES
We have frequently been told of issues that are petty. Annoying, but petty. For example, is it worth installing six cameras at a cost of $7,500 around a common area in a condominium complex to verify whose dog is pooping on the grass and their owner isn’t cleaning it up? Taking significant security measures should be motivated by a) protecting community assets from significant damage or loss, and b) making the community safer. If one of these two requirements isn’t met, don’t waste the money! We have seen customers want to spend $40,000 for a complete camera system along an exterior community wall that had been graffiti’d once. It cost them about $500 to get the graffiti cleaned up. That needs to occur 80 separate times before the cameras make fiscal sense!
7. NOT HAVING A SERVICE AGREEMENT
A system that is not working when you need it is completely useless. Let’s face it, a security system is a series of electronic components that are running 24/7 in very harsh conditions. Any system, regardless of equipment and quality of installation, is going to need to be serviced. A service agreement sets the expectation with the HOA board that there will be ongoing maintenance required to keep the system in good condition, helps to set consistent budgets, and provides confidence that the company will be there to take care of the system.
8. AVOIDING BUILDING AND LIFE SAFETY CODES
While an automated dart gun firing at a perpetrator immediately upon entering a facility without authorization would be ideal, it shouldn’t be done. Far less obvious violations are made every day by companies willing to install systems that sound like a good idea, but create a life safety hazard for the occupants. Make sure that systems being installed meet building/life safety codes and don’t expose your organization to legal implications.
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Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.