Over the past 20 years, most of our country’s larger cities have become safer places than they were in previous decades. But despite these positive changes, most Americans—both urban and suburban—are acutely aware of security: how much they have, how much they’d like, and how much they really need in order to have peace of mind. For many, it’s a question of adding up the costs and benefits of a security system, and assessing the viability of the system for their particular building, community or home.
Addressing the question of how much security a building or association needs is partially a question of how much security the community in question can afford. Depending on the number of residents and their financial means, hiring a full-time security guard may be an unrealistic expense, regardless of how secure such a measure might make people feel. For a small building of 10 or so units, alternative, low-maintenance security systems that don’t include a guard would likely be a better fit.
Knowing what level of security is appropriate—and economically feasible—for one’s individual community is essential. A security system that is monitored by a security guard in the building for eight hours a day could be a smart course for some buildings, but a financial impossibility for others. To address the security needs and budgets of different buildings and associations, security companies provide options that can be tailored to work for a wide array of community models.
Types of Systems
Closed-circuit television (CCTV), key-card entry and other security technologies have been around for some time. Newer systems involving emerging technologies like biometrics are available, but according to the pros, these haven’t caught on heavily in the residential building market yet. Lock-and-key security systems remain the standard — and new state-of-the-art security technology often is based on the old lock-and-key technology.
When it comes to electronic security, there are three main types of equipment: CCTV, burglar alarm systems, and access control systems, such as those accessed with a key card or fob. These systems are often combined, or integrated, says Mark Lerner, president of New York City-based EPIC Security Corp. EPIC Security Corp. provides uniformed security guards for residential buildings and houses throughout the tri-state area.