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Although condo crime – as in apartment break-ins – is 60% less common than townhouse complexes, condo common areas are easy targets. Thieves can access vehicles, lockers, bikes, and more all under one roof. Therefore, board members should keep their eyes on local crime to understand how to keep the building secure.
What Types of Crimes are Occurring?
First, your board should understand what types of crimes occur in your area:
- Bike Theft: Since 2020 bike thefts at Toronto high rise residential complexes have risen. In 2020 alone 4000 bikes were reported stolen with Toronto condos a key target. Bike theft is high in the waterfront, Bay Street Corridor, Church-Yonge Corridor, Niagara and The Annex areas.
- Car Break-Ins: Criminals targeting vehicles tailgate residents entering the secure parking area. Thieves don’t necessarily steal the vehicles themselves but break vehicle windows to steal property. In the Gamble and Pape area of Toronto, 20 vehicles in the same apartment parking garage were robbed in one night by the same person.
- Storage Lockers: Once a thief gets into the locker area, they can help themselves. Often the same thief commits a rash of break ins in the same condo building.
- Apartment Unit Theft: Although risk in condo units is low thanks to security such as FOBs, end units near stairwells are the most vulnerable to break ins. This is a more common issue in Northwest Toronto.
By understanding local crime trends, your board can identify security vulnerabilities and keep your building secure.
How to Minimize Condo Crime and Improve Security
When criminals spot vulnerabilities, it opens the door to escalating occurrences of crime. Therefore, a quick response to security incidents is necessary for condo boards. Some steps you can take to reduce condo crime include:
Monitor Video Surveillance
Video cameras only provide evidence after the fact. They can help deter some condo crime, but in the end, you need real-time monitoring. Pop-ups and bump-up monitors alert security guards when activity occurs. This draws attention to the monitor so security guards can act quickly.
Improve Stairwell Unit Locks
Because burglars target stairwell units, adding metal door wraps and high-security deadbolts to these suites can make it difficult for thieves to gain access.
Improve FOB Management
It is close to impossible to manage how residents and owners share their FOBs which ups the chances for condo crime to occur. However, FOB software such as CCure and Lenovo offer inactive features. Management sets an agreed-upon period for inactivity at which point an alert goes to the administrator. Cards either become inactive at this point, or management can contact the owner to find out why the card is not in use. As a result, you reduce the risk for misuse of lost or stolen FOBs. This is especially important in units used for short-term rentals.
Inform and Involve Residents
When a condo crime occurs on the property, inform residents immediately. You can involve residents in safety measures such as avoiding holding the building door open for strangers. If someone tailgates to access the parking garage, residents should inform security right away. A community that follows basic safety practices is less vulnerable to criminal activity.
Because criminals are always on the look out for opportunities, your board must be just as diligent to help deter crimes.
At CPO Management Inc, a Toronto property management company specializing in condo management services, we can help improve security measures, as well as resident communication and education regarding crime. For more information about how we can assist with your property management, or for any other questions reach out to us today.