Though every community is different, most associations face some type of crime – whether graffiti, the occasional burglary, vandalized cars or crimes of opportunity. If news papers and door hangers are piling up in front of a house, the grass is over grown and there is no discernible human presence, a criminal may see an opportunity ripe for a burglary.
The steps an association can take to fight crime are many, but there’s no definitive solution. A good manager should help a community find the best possible methods to deter crime.
Johnson takes a comprehensive approach. Cameras are in place at the association clubhouse, a service provider replaces exterior light bulbs around common areas and police take an occasional drive through the community. However, she believes the first and most important step is informing and educating residents.
“Keep homeowners informed of (crime) incidents and what they can do to prevent their families from becoming victims,” she says.
Consider posting the crime report (which can be obtained from your local police department) in the clubhouse or another central location such as the website. Also consider using email and the associations newsletter to spread information about new or developing situations.
Encouraging homeowners to meet their neighbors is another important step. If residents begin to know their surroundings, such as who is usually around, who is on vacation and which homes are vacant, they will notice potential safety and crime situations and report with more confidence.
Keep kids, especially teens, busy and provide them with the opportunity to stay out of trouble. If there’s nothing better for them to do, some teens will turn to spraying graffiti and skateboarding on private property.
Reminding homeowners of community rules also can help prevent crime. “Per rules and regulations, many associations require that garage doors are kept closed for aesthetic and property maintenance reasons, but also for safety and security purposes.”
by Daniel Brannigan