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Security camera systems for apartment buildings are a must for landlords, building managers, or anyone who owns or runs a multi-family complex. As apartment buildings feature multiple points of entry, common spaces shared amongst residents and car parking facilities, there are plenty of opportunities for security concerns.

CCTV security cameras can help deter criminals and prevent break-ins and burglaries from happening, provide valuable evidence in the event a crime occurs, and help landlords, property managers and security staff monitor for hazards and emergency situations.

This guide will provide information on the importance of commercial security cameras for condos and apartments, and look at the various types of cameras and systems available for apartment buildings of all sizes.

The benefits of apartment complex security camera systems

Multi-family residential security camera solutions are a worthwhile investment for property managers or landlords and are an essential component of a comprehensive apartment building security system. This is because multi-family residential live camera security not only improves safety and deters criminals, but it also empowers security staff to respond faster to critical incidents and ensure the building and its inhabitants stay safe. 

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, burglaries of residential properties accounted for 62.8% of total burglary offenses in 2019. Installing security cameras in an apartment building not only acts as a deterrent but, in the event a burglary occurs, also makes it more likely that the perpetrators will be caught and stolen goods returned to their owners.

Condo security cameras can also help to provide early warnings of fire, flood, vandalism and other hazards and can work together with a multi-family door entry system to facilitate efficient evacuations or lockdowns. This allows property managers and operators to respond more quickly to minimize damage, reduce the cost and scope of repairs, and keep tenants and staff safe. 

Avigilon H5A cameras for apartment buildings

Improve visibility across all your apartment buildings, condos and multifamily complexes with high-definition cameras and powerful video analytics. Feature-rich and available in multiple resolutions, the Avigilon H5A camera line offers superior image quality for both indoor and outdoor installations.

  • Available in dome, box and bullet models to fit any space
  • Wide dynamic range and Lightcatcher™ technology ensures clear images even in bright and low-light environments
  • Equipped with next-generation video analytics for improved object detection and classification
  • Weather and water resistant to IP66/67 standards, plus IK10 impact rating for vandal resistance
  • ONVIF compliant for easy integration across all your sites

Use cases for multi-family residential security camera solutions

Choosing condo security camera systems, multi-family residential security camera solutions, or the right security cameras for an apartment building can be tricky, with various different types of models available. It can be helpful to think about the use case for apartment building security cameras when selecting them.

Prevent theft and vandalism

Dome or fisheye cameras for apartment buildings provide wide viewing angles, ensuring security operatives can keep an eye on a bigger area of a complex, such as in a lobby or parking garage. Discreet cameras such as indoor and outdoor dome cameras can be helpful for monitoring apartment building security without feeling intrusive. 

But to discourage theft, a bullet camera is more noticeable, acting as a deterrent for thieves. Bear in mind that the more noticeable a camera is, the more likely it is to be covered, damaged, or removed before theft or other crimes take place. Security cameras for apartment complex installations should be tamper resistant to ensure footage isn’t interrupted when you need it most. Cloud-based devices leverage cloud storage for security cameras, hosting live and past camera footage on a third party server, ensuring that the footage isn’t destroyed even if the physical camera is.

Faster emergency and incident response

The best security camera system for apartment buildings will enable a faster response to attempted break-ins, as well as emergencies like flooding and fire. For example, if there are unauthorized individuals gaining access to a property through a stairwell commercial security door propped open, with a security camera with built-in analytics, an alert can automatically be sent to security staff so they can check the footage and respond or call emergency services. If staff are monitoring camera footage around the clock, they will see a break-in or security incident happen in real-time and can respond immediately to minimize potential damage. For a break-in use case, a camera with a wide field of view that can accurately adjust for sharp detail in various lighting conditions is essential. If cameras need to be able to see in dark environments such as stairwells or hallways, a camera with adaptive IR is a must. 

Resolve resident disputes

Security cameras are also useful where there are disputes between residents. For example, parking lot video surveillance footage from security cameras could help resolve a dispute where a resident claims another resident damaged their car.

Manage deliveries and visitors

A security camera system, such as a cloud-based camera system, can be helpful to visually verify delivery personnel who may be delivering parcels to residents or staff, as well as reducing the risk of packages being stolen. Visitors to the complex can also be identified using condo security cameras, which could be useful in the event of any disturbances or complaints. Cameras can also increase peace of mind for residents, particularly in gated condo communities, as there’s always a visual record of who is entering and exiting the building at a particular time.

Boost tenant retention and acquisition

Potential tenants who are viewing apartments are more likely to feel safe and secure if they spot a security camera system installed, particularly if the apartment building in question is in a busy urban area. Camera installation could also help with tenant retention, as tenants will feel safer in their own homes if there are cameras monitoring the building. Even if a disturbance or break-in were to occur, security cameras for apartment complexes are a reassuring presence for tenants that will help police or building staff to identify the perpetrators and deter similar situations in future.

Key questions to consider when choosing residential complex and apartment building security camera systems 

We’ve discussed the benefits of apartment building or condo security cameras, but how do you know which are the best security cameras for your apartment complex? Ask yourself the following questions when choosing cameras for apartment buildings to make sure there are no gaps in your system.

1. How big is the apartment building, where will cameras be located and how many are required?

Whether installing apartment complex security cameras around a building’s perimeter, interior, or both, it’s vital to consider how big the building is. A building with multiple floors, entrances and exits will require more security cameras — and these should be installed at the building’s entrances, exits, and landings.

Cameras will also likely be needed in elevators, stairwells, parking garages and other shared spaces, such as laundry or storage rooms. 

Installing dual-head or fisheye security cameras may mean it’s possible to use fewer cameras for broader coverage, saving money. Consider whether cameras are for indoor or outdoor use and look for features such as extended temperature range and IP ratings for outdoor installation.

2. What features should you consider?

First, decide what type of camera is most suitable, and whether wireless connectivity or a wired connection works best. For example, a dome camera is less obtrusive, and better for installation in lobbies and amenity spaces, where a bullet security camera is more visible and can act as a deterrent around exterior entries and parking garages. Then, think about what level of visibility is required – for example, what resolution is needed and whether a wide field of view is essential. 

Also, consider lighting conditions – a dark stairwell or landing may require cameras with IR illuminators for low-light recording.

Other features to look out for include: 

  • Audio recording and video recording
  • Extended temperature range so that cameras can resist extreme heat or cold
  • Motion detection and analytics
  • NEMA 4x rating to ensure cameras can withstand windblown dust, water and corrosion
  • Remote access and connectivity to smartphone apps
  • Multi-tenant intercom system functionality for visitors and deliveries

3. Will the new security camera(s) need to integrate with an existing apartment security system?

If new apartment building security cameras in common areas need to integrate with existing security systems, it’s essential to check if new cameras are compatible. Cameras for apartment building security may need to integrate with access control systems, such as on-premise vs cloud security access control, tenant apps and even wireless locks managing entry to the building. For new deployments, you have more flexibility to select systems that work together. However, for apartment buildings with existing systems installed, work with a security system integrator to ensure any new technology is compatible.

It’s also important to check if you’ll be able to add existing cameras to the video management system, as not all brands and models of camera will work well together. Incompatible apartment building security cameras and devices could mean having to monitor separate feeds and activity dashboards, which means your team is more likely to miss a critical event. Security cameras for apartment complexes that are ONVIF compatible are easier to integrate with existing hardware and software, and can help you save on deployment costs for new devices.

4. What is the budget for procuring new security cameras?

This will likely be the deciding factor when choosing the best security camera system for an apartment building or choosing the best security camera for condo buildings. Be sure to consider the building size, where cameras will be located and how many cameras are needed. Remember that a mix of cameras may be required to cover specific building areas, and that wireless security cameras for apartment buildings are easier to install, without running wires or cables or the need to connect directly to backend devices. A commercial security camera installer company can assist you in determining your budget based on the features and models you choose for your unique property.

Also, note that more expensive cameras, such as fish eye cameras, can support split views to increase coverage, meaning fewer cameras are needed up-front. Expensive cameras with all the bells and whistles may not be necessary in every location, either. For example, dark stairwells or parking garages should definitely have cameras, but by also installing better lighting, you can probably find high-quality cameras for those areas that fall within your budget.

Don’t forget potential costs associated with things like video management software and optional features, as well as the cost of maintaining cameras and sensors over time.

Have questions? We can help

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