Calling the Police - PR Nightmare or Liability Protection?
Calling the Police: PRNightmare or LiabilityProtection? BY BETSY ELAINE TYURIN Business Development Coordinator World Builders Inc. A police car pulls up outside your propertywith sirens blaring. Invariably a crowd of residentsgather and begin speculating about what may be goingon. Many property management companies providetenants with information about these incidents via emailor flyer to help control the conversation andreassure tenants of their safety or need to be vigilant,while others remain silent. The statistics above were published by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation as a statistical representation of The Questions to Consider: reported crimes over a period of time. More information is available at fbi.gov.• How will gossip and speculation affect the resident Being able to personally see security footage can It is important to have your management team experience if nothing is explained? make your tenants feel safer and be more deterred from document all noise complaints with specific detail, such as• Will providing information about an incident that committing crimes against the property or other residents if the noise was music versus someone yelling or fight- might have gone unnoticed create unnecessary because they are aware that their own actions might be ing. Many incidents of rape and domestic violence go panic? seen by others. unreported because the victim is fearful of retaliation, and• Are my tenants or my staff at risk? Controlled Access having the police investigate incidents in which noise com-• What safety measures can I provide if I don’t call the Making your entries and exits to gates, am- plaints involved fighting can save the lives of victims who police? menities and other common areas restricted to electronic haven’t found their own voices. According to an article published in Multifam- key card access can allow you to know exactly who was in Having the police visit your property can be a redily Executive on October 19, 2009, studies have shown these parts of your property at any time. The microchip flag that something unsafe has happened, but if your man-that sexual assault, and assault and battery are the two in the key card logs the name of the card holder and the agement provides appropriate communication with yourcrimes most likely to result in premises liability lawsuits exact date and time he or she used the card at each point residents, it can show your commitment to ensure a safeagainst multifamily property owners and managers. of access. environment and mitigate some premises liability issues. The best way to prevent these lawsuits from Noise Complaints The key is to control the way the information is presented,happening is to know how to utilize your property’s Noise complaints are very common in apart- which means not staying silent, which allows for gossip.safety features and create a set protocol for your ment communities where tenants live in close proximity. Alarms and Monitoring Servicesmanagement for when and how to react when an unsafe They can be about inconsequential things like the jock Installing alarms with monitoring for burglary/situation comes to their attention. who plays his stereo too loud, the girl who gets drunk fire/medical emergency services in each unit of your prop- Security Cameras and noisy at odd hours, but sometimes the noise can be erty can raise your property value, decrease your insurance You may already have them installed, but how related to serious concerns like rape or domestic violence. rates, and make your residents feel safer.often is your staff actually checking them? New blue Often tenants will voice these complaints to Multi-building property on an open site? Con-tooth technology allows residents and management management because if they address the situation directly, sider installing an emergency call box in the parking lotthe capability to see what the camera sees in real time it could create an angry or retaliatory situation with and other dangerous areas so that residents and staff canvia their computers or mobile phones. Is it time for an someone that they are contractually obligated to live next call for help even if they are caught without their cellupgrade? to for the remainder of their leases. phones. ☐