Securing Your Multifamily Building Early in Design

When discussing the topic of security in a multifamily environment, what typically comes to mind are alarms, video surveillance and other technology systems. While technology systems do play a large role in offering security for residents, crime prevention cannot be solved by these systems alone. It’s vital to secure parking and entrances early within the building’s design. Once established, it is important to promote security to existing and prospective residents.

Secure Parking

Parking garages are one of the most vulnerable areas in a multifamily community. According to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 11 percent of property crimes take place in parking garages or lots. One way to minimize unauthorized access is to provide separate parking and building access for residents and visitors. This will make it easier to monitor who is entering and exiting by directing possible intruders to secured, well-lit common areas.

The increasing popularity of mixed-use multifamily developments poses another challenge for parking. Residential, commercial and retail parking should be separated as well. Security in a surfaced parking setting should not be disregarded. Open, designated parking can be assigned for visitors and a fenced barrier arm can separate parking for residents.

It’s also worth planning how vehicles and individuals enter parking structures. Cars often tailgate allowing an opportunity for a possible threat to gain access to your property. We suggest developing a “man trap”, a fenced area (large enough for only one car) just past the first gate, with a second gate that opens only after the first gate closes.

Secure Entrances

Forget the dated physical door key, developers today should consider proximity cards, keypads or fob entry solutions. These tech solutions prevent lock bumping and add value to your property. Some systems even have the ability to log who is entering and at what time. Another advantage of the smart door entries is that it’s easy to enable and disable misplaced keys - a convenience for both residents and management.

Constantly Market Your Building’s Security

It’s best to limit the number of entries to your building while complying with egress and ingress codes. More exterior entrances provide opportunities for intruders to gain access to the community. Well lit exterior entrances, watched by video cameras, are strong deterrents.

It’s important to promote and market the security features on your property. Security is an amenity that is highly valued when apartment searching, especially for millennials. According to a survey conducted by lock manufacturer Schlage, 86% of millennials would pay more for a smart apartment that includes devices such as a smart lock. The survey also found that over 61% of millennials would rent an apartment specifically for electronic access features, such as key-less entry doors.

Creating a safe environment for your residents may seem complicated and expensive. The truth is that it is only complicated and expensive if it is not given a priority early in the design process. As competition in major urban markets continues to strengthen, don't neglect the importance of security during design. Security will be a determining factor in the selection process for many residents. Start the conversation with REES on security in your multifamily building today!