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Security and Guard Services for HOAs

Security and Guard Services for HOAs

Security is paramount. Home ought to be the ultimate safe place. Buyers and potential tenants prioritize properties that have active security programs in place. While there are many ways to secure a building, security guard services are among the most effective.

An on-site security guard is a deterrent and offers peace of mind for residents. Still, many aspects must be considered to ensure a practical, cost-effective solution that meets everyone’s needs.

Security services benefit HOAs in many ways, including:

  • Reduce theft and vandalism
  • Ensure only authorized people on the property
  • Enforce parking rules
  • Reduce risk and liability
  • Added comfort and safety for residents and visitors
  • Shows that you care about the welfare of your residents

Today we’ll talk about security guard services for HOAs and how to ensure you have the right solution for your property.

What Kind of Security Does Your HOA Need?

When initiating a security program, the first thing you need to do is to identify your top priorities.

Assuming the building already has security gates with key or fob entry, there may still be some unattended or remote access areas that are hidden from plain sight. In this case, the priority should be installing lighting and cameras to cover those points.

Cameras also require monitoring. Most security systems can be monitored remotely, and many security companies offer 24/7 oversight and response should a breach be detected.

Some buildings might also consider on-site monitoring for an extra layer of protection. An on-site guard knows your property and its residents and can react immediately when needed.

Live patrol is another option. A live security presence is an excellent deterrent outside the building, but the service may not include direct intervention. Not all live patrol and security services are equal, so be sure you think about what you need and ask as many questions as possible to the security company so you understand what they can and cannot do.

For example, not all on-site security is armed. Armed guards raise the HOA’s liability, so it’s critical to determine whether it’s really necessary.

While you may not feel that you require armed security, you want to ensure you have coverage appropriate to the threat level in your area. If the community experiences a lot of crime, an armed guard might be something to consider. If the threat level is low, an armed guard might make visitors and residents uncomfortable—in addition to increased liability—and you don’t want that.

Should You Hire Independently or Go with a Security Firm?

It’s always nice to have a dedicated person on staff. However, payroll, benefits, and managing employees might not be the best use of your budget.

Security firms can provide you with a dedicated person for consistency, but they will also send in a replacement if your guard is ill or on vacation. A security firm also maintains compliance with training, licensing, certifications, background checks, and drug testing, which reduces risk significantly.

Additionally, all guards employed by a security firm are covered by their employer’s workers compensation policy and insured for damages and injuries incurred due to their actions. That said, the HOA should always check the fine print on security contracts to ascertain what is and is not covered.

When you contract with a security firm, you’ll know that the guard they place with you is well-equipped and trained to do the job properly and safely. They will also work with you to help you choose guards that align with your building’s culture and vibe.

Getting Started: Conduct a Security Assessment

Before soliciting a security firm, it’s a good idea to assess the state of your building’s security and identify weak points that can be addressed with new locks, key or fob access systems, cameras, lighting, and technology. These types of solutions are easy to deploy and immediately improve your building’s security posture. They will also make it easier for any security firm you hire to monitor and keep your property safe.

Even with new equipment and systems, you must also consider maintenance. Keeping your security solutions in tip-top shape ensures they won’t fail when you need them most. Implement frequent checks, tests, and assessments (as appropriate) and repair or replace when needed.

Educating Your Residents

No matter how locked down your security might be, getting your residents on board is vital. Get them involved in the process from the beginning so they can share their concerns. You might even learn of past incidents or issues you weren’t aware of, which could inform your decisions.

Every HOA should have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan (DRP) that includes detailed security protocols. Processes and procedures, contact numbers, and all other pertinent info should be shared directly with residents and also posted in common areas. Knowledge is peace of mind, and everyone sleeps better at night when your residents feel safe and secure.

Choosing a Security Firm

Contracting a security firm is akin to taking on a business partner. You need a reputable vendor that cares about your property and the welfare of your residents. If the guard is to be on-site, they should be personable, presentable, professional, punctual, and able to communicate easily with residents and staff.

Ideally, you’ll want to choose a firm with knowledge of your neighborhood and its challenges, and it never hurts to have someone familiar with the systems and technology you use.

Consult with neighbors, other HOAs, and property management professionals for recommendations, and consider multiple quotes before you sign. Budget is always a consideration when making decisions for the HOA’s benefit. Security is an investment, and you don’t want to make a hasty decision and risk under or overservicing your property.

If your HOA is considering security services in Southern California, Belwood Properties can help. Our extensive list of reputable vendors includes several vetted security firms. We’ll work closely with you to ensure you have the right security solutions for your community’s needs.

Give us a call or drop us a line today to learn more.

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