As a property manager, you juggle a myriad of community responsibilities from collecting rent to maintaining a safe environment for tenants.
In the event of emergency calls and safety scares, not only can your residents feel uneasy and restless, but you also risk your neighborhoods paying for and losing money to property damages if you don’t take steps to keep crime at bay.
Here’s what you can do as a property manager if you’ve received one too many late-night emergency calls, or if you've noticed an increase in crime around your communities.
Establish a Close-Knit Community
Through community-wide events and activities, encourage and help establish friendship among your residents. Plan small holiday gatherings like Friendsgiving brunches or Super Bowl parties, allowing residents the chance to come together, meet each other, and meet their property managers.
Consider using social media as a platform to bring together. Private Facebook groups are an easy, free way to pass on updates and to allow residents their own space to share news with each other. If you’re worried about time spent monitoring a social media platform, try setting rules on your page so you can spend less time patrolling your group.
Friendly neighbors are more likely to look out for each other and to care more about the community in which they live. By building a community mindset among your residents, you’re letting them know that they are not alone, you care about their well-being, and you’re paying attention to their needs.
Maintain Adequate Lighting
Studies have shown that less crime occurs on well-lit streets. This doesn’t mean you have to throw up lights on every corner on your properties. Since lighting your properties can be expensive, be strategic about how and where you place lights.
If you have parking lots in your communities, make sure they stay well-lit. If you have houses in your communities, ask residents to install motion-sensor flood lights on the outside of their homes.
Adequate and strategically placed lighting not only deters burglars, but it also helps contribute to your residents’ sense of safety.
Enforce Landscaping Rules
Landscaping is a fast and inexpensive step you can take to make your communities safer for residents.
A good landscaping rule of thumb to follow is the three-feet, six-feet rule. Shrubs low to the ground should be no more than three feet high, and the lowest hanging branches on trees should be six feet and higher. This instantly eliminates potential hiding spaces for burglars.
Schedule a Security Walkthrough
Another inexpensive way to make your properties safer is to perform a security walkthrough yourself, or with the help of your local police. Many police departments have community liaisons who are more than happy to conduct a walkthrough with property managers. This liaison is also happy to provide minimal-cost safety upgrade tips during the walkthrough.
Walkthroughs are typically performed at night and with a group of three or more people to watch for details just one person might miss. The key things to look for are lighting adequacy, neat and tidy landscaping, security of amenity areas, and accessibility of community entrances and exits.
These steps will help your residents feel safer in the communities you've worked hard to maintain.
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