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Property owners and building managers will be well aware of the risks and responsibilities that come with protecting both physical structures and the people who live, work and enjoy leisure time in them. A considerable amount of time and effort must go into mitigating threats and promoting building security, while also ensuring the secure building feels accessible and welcoming. All of these responsibilities require round-the-clock attention, which can put a strain on property managers and security staff. 

A 2022 study revealed that 88% of companies have reported an increase in physical security threats in recent years, and the FBI estimates almost 7 million property crime offenses to occur each year. Faced with these figures, it is essential that commercial and residential property developers commit to implementing reliable and adaptive building security systems in order to assist property managers in this crucial aspect of their jobs. 

To help reduce property managers’ workload, and in turn contribute to a more efficient and effective building security policy, this guide will cover the common threats posed to commercial and residential buildings and outline actionable solutions to improve building security.

Why building security is vital for commercial and residential properties

Security for buildings covers all actions designed to protect property, assets and people from intruders, acts of violence and any unsafe or potentially dangerous situations that could lead to physical harm or damage. Building and property management security seeks to detect, deter, prevent and respond to security threats as quickly and effectively as possible, with the aid of smart technology and solutions. 

Developing, installing and maintaining an intelligently designed building security system helps property managers to improve incident response times and prevent potential threats before any serious harm can occur. In turn, this helps to facilitate a secure building for all residents and staff to enjoy. 

Types of security in commercial and residential buildings 

Modern systems for secure property management will typically contain several integrated technologies configured to share real-time data, as this helps teams to develop informed security responses. By enabling each aspect of an installed building security system to alert wider connected devices and features, property managers can better understand unfolding events as they happen. 

Common building security features include: 

  • Access control — Typically consisting of credential readers installed in doors and entryways, though also used to secure access to digital systems and facilities, access control devices are used to prevent any person without pre-approved credentials from accessing certain locations. 
  • Sensors and alarms — In addition to access control, motion sensors, alarms and detection systems can be deployed to automatically alert property managers to the presence of potential threats such as intruders, weapons, fires or incidents of damage and theft. 
  • Surveillance systems — Commercial camera systemsCCTV cameras, license plate readers and AI-powered video analytics software can be utilized to monitor and record areas of interest as well as help property managers to better understand potential property security issues or threats. 
  • Security staff — Employed property security team or security guards, cybersecurity professionals and property managers can be stationed around the property to act as a physical deterrent and to operate installed security devices to enforce building security protocols. 

Types of threats to property’s building security

Even buildings equipped with comprehensive property security systems and intelligently designed security policies will likely experience some degree of environmental or security threat. Though if property managers are prepared for such instances with future-forward building security measures, elements of risk can be mitigated. 

To ensure that all staff, residents and property managers remain safe and protected from harm, it’s wise to understand different types of common security threats, as this will help teams to invest in the right building security technology in order to ultimately develop effective incident responses. An awareness of property security trends will also help building security managers to find appropriate solutions using the latest technology. 

Forced entry attempts 

Attempted forcible entry occurs when an intruder tries to gain property access by breaking into a secured door, window or another similar entryway but abandons the attempt before entering the building. This is the most reported type of burglary incident, present in 55% of cases. 

Forced entry events can be deterred by installing and operating visible security cameras near to all noticeable access points, as well as by utilizing motion and pressure sensors with real-time alert functions to enhance property safety. This is supported by data suggesting 60% of burglars will avoid homes with visible alarms; choosing highly visible external security for buildings is a fast and effective way of deterring criminals.

Unlawful entry

Unlike forced entry, in unlawful entry events offenders gain building access via unlocked doors, unsecured entryways or through acts of deception such as pretending to have a valid reason to enter a property. Unlawful entry events are often hard for property managers and security teams to identify, but technological property security trends can be of assistance. 

The installation and operation of advanced access control systems helps to improve security in buildings as any unlawful entry attempts will be prevented if the intruder does not possess valid credentials. By utilizing video cameras with AI-powered video analytics software, security staff can be alerted to the presence of any unknown individuals that may have gained entry using stolen access credentials. 

Additional features that can aid security in buildings by preventing and recording unlawful entry events include license plate recognition cameras capable of identifying and alerting property managers to suspicious vehicles, and cloud-based sensors used to inform staff of motion in secured locations. 

Armed intrusions 

Any intrusion events using weapons or acts of violence can pose a significant risk to building occupants and, in some cases, the physical structure itself. Property managers and security teams must be prepared to not only react appropriately to such incidents with an effective lockdown building security policy, but also to detect such events using modern technology. 

Installing an integrated cloud-managed building security system can help to improve incident responses to armed intrusion events by leveraging multiple physical security measures to create an automated lockdown procedure. Cameras equipped with AI analytics can detect intruders from afar, sensors can alert staff to areas of interest and alarms can be triggered to contact law enforcement. 

Additionally, access control readers can be installed and programmed to lock entrances in response to invalid credentials, with metal detectors and other related sensors used to alert building security teams of intruders carrying weapons. Property security trends increasingly point towards the benefits of integrated systems, as each of these devices will be able to share real-time data as events occur. 

Improving security for buildings with cloud-based technology

For property management security teams tasked with protecting large buildings, organizations with multiple properties and those faced with hygiene-based proximity restrictions such as hospitals or locations under strict social distancing regulations, operating cloud-based devices can be essential. 

By connecting all active building security features such as access control, surveillance cameras, visitor management and alarm systems via a centralized cloud-based management platform, teams can monitor, adjust and operate building security devices remotely at any time using a web-based dashboard. 

Utilizing such a system allows property managers to perform essential day-to-day tasks such as issuing or revoking property access, checking visitor management logs and reviewing recorded security camera footage without needing to be physically present to access on-site interfaces. 

Tips for secure building management 

  • Always be aware — The key to mitigating security risks often lies in detecting possible incidents before they can escalate. Always be aware of your surroundings and pay close attention to any unusual events, for example, if residents are arguing be prepared for a possible domestic dispute that could quickly become violent. 
  • Install strategic cameras — When developing a building security system, property managers must assess the site to locate areas of interest which will benefit most from the installation of security cameras. Primary entrances, parking lots, exits and secluded walkways should all be covered to deter criminals and protect residents. Remember that property safety extends beyond the building, all the way up to the site perimeter.
  • Consider personal safety apps — Property management security teams will often be spread out across the property during daily patrols. Implementing a policy in which all staff are told to use a personal safety app, can quickly alert building security team members to the presence of any potentially dangerous events. 
  • Develop screening procedures — Before issuing temporary credentials to visitors, or welcoming a new tenant into a residential property, building security teams should screen each individual to ensure that they won’t pose a threat to existing residents. This will typically include criminal history checks as well as an in-person conversation. Smart access control devices can help property managers to keep track of visitors who are issued with temporary credentials. These systems make it easier to issue, manage and revoke visitor access, ensuring greater visibility and a more secure building.
  • Communicate with residents — Maintaining an open and frequent dialogue with staff and/​or residents can be an effective way to improve security in buildings and property safety. By ensuring that all residents are aware of building security policies, and by fielding their concerns, teams will have a better understanding of potential threats. The most effective ideas for secure property management often come from the people who use the premises every day, since they are in the best position to spot areas of improvement. 

Building security & property safety checklist

To help improve security for buildings, and to keep residents safe on a daily basis, property management security teams should perform frequent safety checks. Examples include: 

  • Regularly check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors 
  • Secure deadbolt locks after working hours or use access control to set door schedules
  • Frequently check lighting, especially in areas covered by CCTV 
  • Secure sliding doors and windows 
  • Make sure emergency exits are accessible and visible 
  • Ensure appliances are maintained and in keeping with safety codes 
  • Post and update lockdown procedures and emergency numbers 
  • Frequently update building security devices and related access control and property management software programs 
  • Regularly check in with residents and offer security training and property security services
  • Conduct regular building security system audits to identify potential vulnerabilities or property security trends in your data

Keep your commercial or residential property secure

Property managers are responsible for keeping people, properties and buildings safe and secure from outside threats, but an individual can only achieve a certain amount – not to mention the many other tasks a property manager is responsible for on a daily basis. Managing security for buildings requires constant situational awareness, and vigilance in maintaining property safety standards and protocols; building security technology can help a property manager gain greater oversight of events around a site without becoming overstretched.

Modern secure property management covers a range of methods and tools. By following property security trends and developing an integrated network of devices, a security guard or security teams can measurably improve incident responses and help to facilitate a safer environment and secure building for all to enjoy. 

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