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Multifamily Property Crime on the Rise

A recent survey on multifamily crime highlighted a significant increase in criminal activities over the past year. The survey included three new questions...

Multifamily Property Crime on the Rise

A recent survey on multifamily crime highlighted a significant increase in criminal activities over the past year. The survey included three new questions related to crime in multifamily properties.

The summary of the results indicates that over 25% of respondents observed a considerable increase in crime compared to the previous year. More than half reported a general increase in crime, but none mentioned a decrease.

In the survey, property managers identified their top three safety concerns. The primary concern was car break-ins. Property managers and owners are worried about these incidents because they can lead to liability and vacancy issues. This concern is not surprising given the rise in car-related theft across the U.S.

The Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ) noted a significant rise in vehicle-related thefts in 2023 compared to the previous year. Specifically, there was a staggering 93% surge in carjackings from 2019 to 2023, with motor vehicle theft incidents increasing by 29% between 2022 and 2023, resulting in over 50,000 cases.

The second most significant concern after vehicle break-ins was package theft, cited by close to 20% of respondents. The third major issue was trespassing.

Preventing Multifamily Crime

Protecting multifamily residential properties is challenging due to residents' varied schedules and the fact that they tend not to know each other well. The property staff might not recognize unfamiliar faces, making it difficult to identify trespassers or potential criminals.

Implementing the right video surveillance systems with remote monitoring can help mitigate these issues. Such systems also show residents and employees that their security and safety are taken seriously.

Here are the top reasons why successful multifamily properties use remote video surveillance:

Deters Crime: Remote monitoring involves offsite trained operators working with video analytics to oversee the property continuously or as stipulated in the contract. Investing in video analytics paired with human intelligence is crucial to detect potential issues before they escalate.

Video analytics can scan all cameras simultaneously, looking for matches to pre-programmed scenarios. When a match is found, the system alerts the monitoring operator, who then assesses the situation and responds appropriately. This significantly reduces false alarms and enhances the chances of preventing crimes.

Monitoring operators can use onsite audio speakers to warn intruders. This not only deters crime but can also prevent accidents. For instance, at one multifamily property, an operator used an audio speaker to warn a child who was climbing a fence near a pool, potentially preventing a tragic incident.

Visible security cameras can deter some crimes, especially when accompanied by signs indicating surveillance. However, it's essential to have active monitoring; otherwise, the cameras could lead to liability issues if residents assume they are being watched when they are not. Dummy cameras can create a false sense of security, potentially resulting in lawsuits if a crime occurs and there is no monitoring.

Attracts and Retains Residents: Safety and security are paramount for residents. The National Apartment Association reports that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers prefer buildings with video monitoring and security systems. Many older adults seek multifamily living to reduce maintenance responsibilities and costs.

Research by Schlage and Wakefield indicates that over 60% of Gen Y residents prioritize security. Reduced turnover, resulting from higher resident retention, can increase net operating income (NOI) by avoiding the costs associated with turnover.

Reduces Need for Additional Security Guards: While having a trained security guard on-site is beneficial, guards can only monitor their immediate surroundings, and criminals can evade them. Increasing the number of guards can be costly, and some guards may have problematic histories, as reported by CNN and the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Combining a security guard with video surveillance can maximize security and safety. Remote monitoring operators can oversee the entire property, including areas inaccessible to guards. They can detect potential crimes early and issue verbal warnings before contacting authorities, deterring crime and preventing damage.

Increases Property Value: Properties with live video monitoring have seen their values rise. Security is a critical factor for residents, and those who feel safe are more likely to stay longer, reducing turnover costs. Visible security measures, such as cameras, provide constant reminders of safety and security.

Provides Recorded Evidence: In case of a crime or liability issue, having recorded footage can be invaluable for police, insurance investigations, and court proceedings. It helps avoid disputes by providing clear evidence of events. Video monitoring systems can record continuously and retain footage for a specified period, depending on the vendor.

Prevents Package Theft: Package theft is a top concern, and remote video surveillance can help mitigate this risk. A C+R Research survey found that 43% of Americans experienced package theft in 2020, affecting multifamily properties with and without doormen. The pandemic has increased online shopping, leading to a higher volume of deliveries.

A Yahoo! Finance article revealed that residents receive an average of 10 packages per month, rising to 14 during the holiday season. For a property with 100 residents, this means managing 1,000 packages monthly, or about 33 per day. Video surveillance can help manage this volume effectively.

Enhancing Security with Video Surveillance

Residents across all generations value safety and security. A security camera system with remote monitoring can meet this need and provide numerous benefits, including potentially increasing NOI and property value. Stealth Monitoring's clients managing low- and moderate-income housing have been able to moderately raise rents after installing video surveillance.

Video surveillance is no longer a luxury but a necessity. It can pay for itself quickly, with many Stealth Monitoring clients achieving a return on investment within months. Regular system health checks ensure all cameras function correctly and catch problems early.

To avoid becoming a multifamily crime statistic, property managers should find the right security partner. Stealth Monitoring offers a video surveillance safety checklist to simplify the selection process, recognizing that each property has unique requirements.

For more information about proactive security for your multifamily residential community, contact Hakimo.ai.

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