How to Develop the Infrastructure of a Safe Apartment Community
How to Develop the There are things you can do to make your property safer for residents, and doing them is increas- Get Social in Person and Online. Sure, you may keep a copy of a drivers licenseInfrastructure of a Safe ingly critical for marketing and retention purposes. Good Lighting Is Critical. or a photo of your residents on file, but how often do you look at it? Positive interaction with your tenantsApartment Community When a crime is easy to commit without the perpetrator getting seen or caught, it is more likely to builds good will and better communication and the knowledge of who belongs on your property and who BY BETSY ELAINE TYURIN occur. Make sure that you have good lighting installed doesn’t. Business Development Coordinator in your parking lot, common areas, and walkways. Not Creating a closed Facebook group for your World Builders Inc. only will this make your property more appealing in community can allow you to add your residents and re- appearance to your current and future tenants, but it strict the access of those who don’t belong, because you As an Angelino for 5 years, struggling to make my way will make potential criminal acts more visible to anyone can use privacy settings that only allow people to findthrough school at USC as one of the only students in attendance who happens to pass by these areas. or join the group if they are invited by someone whothat was not supported by a voluptuous pile of “mommy and is already a member. This is a great way to get yourdaddy money,” I found myself living in apartments in some of the residents to know one another socially, and share infor-worst neighborhoods of Los Angeles. mation about things they see going on in your property Living alone as the first white woman on the block in that they might not otherwise be calling or emailing toSouth Central in a one bedroom directly across from a liquor report. You can also use a group to post documentsstore, and often being responsible for tens of thousands of dollars Restrict Access to Nonresidents.worth of cinema school equipment meant my apartment was a Guests of residents should always be accom-prime target for attempted break ins and vigilance was an abso- panied by the resident. Unsupervised visitors to yourlute necessity. property are often the perpetrators of crime, and their Later, in the Koreatown neighborhood, where I lived for presence can devalue the ammenity experience yourthe latter two years of my stint in the City of Angels, shootings residents pay for when your fitness center or pool areand race related crimes were a regular occurrence. Riding the bus overcrowded.from the corner of Olympic and Alvarado to work at the Century Nonresident visitors not accompanied by a “Without individuals feeling safe andCity mall often meant walking exposed through the hood after resident are more likely to damage the property, leave having an environment of safety, theydark past hookers and bums, and, on one embarrassing occasion, litter in common areas, and create nuisances like run- then have reluctance of taking part ingetting mistaken for one. ning your public bathrooms out of toilet paper without the city, of being active. They wind up Moving to Dallas has made me realize the huge differ- notifying your management to replace it. In some wanting to leave the city.”ence between a community that was built to withstand a high - Dick Powell instances, I’ve even witnessed homeless people sleep-crime location and one that was in a once nice neighborhood that Remove Visual Obstructions. ing and bathing in fitness centers and common areashas digressed with the economy. Muggers and rapists tend to try to lure or catch like swimming pools or dog parks. This can become a Properties that were developed in bad neighborhoods their victims in secluded areas where they can easily resident perception nightmare.from the beginning often offer better safety features than com- be trapped and prevented from escaping or calling for According to the Dallas Police Department, theplexes originally built in nice neighborhoods. Some of these help. Narrow walkways and overgrown hedges or small best thing a tenant or member of management can dofeatures, such as gated parking under the building with remote confined areas like laundry rooms or pubic bathrooms when an unaccompanied nonresident is identified is tocontrol access, cannot easily be replicated on existing structures, make unsuspecting tenants easy targets. call 911. The police can ask the nonresident for ID andand others that can be, such as installing bars on the windows, These opportunities can be mitigated by ensur- issue a trespassing warning. If the nonresident leavescan be a poor fit for the culture of the tenants you already have. ing that overgrown shrubbery is cut back to a height the property before the police arrive, there is nothing Revamping the safety factor of your multifamily prop- of three feet or less, or removed. For small enclosed they can do, so officers recommend not directly engag-erty can be a daunting and expensive prospect when crime has rooms, make sure there are two exits so that someone ing with the trespasser. First time violations will get amoved into your neighborhood, but with the recent economic in the room cannot as easily be trapped by someone warning, and second offenses can be arrested. It is updecline, communities everywhere are seeing increases in break- blocking the door. Consider installing windows in these to both residents and management to ensure that theins, muggings, robberies and trespassing. areas so there is a sightline to an open area. property is not overly inviting to unwanted guests. ☐
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