Security is a primary concern among homeowners, even those who live in HOA communities. One solution some associations take is to hire HOA security guards. But, do security guards actually pose any benefits?
Top Reasons to Hire HOA Security Guards
Homeowners associations are known for providing convenient services to residents. While the most common services include trash collection and landscaping, there is also a fair share of communities that also employ security services. Security guards, in particular, are favored by many, posting them at various access points.
But, is hiring security guards really worth the money? Here are the benefits of hiring homeowners association security guards.
1. Deter Crime
Crime is a huge problem in the United States. In fact, over 1 million burglaries happen here each year, with nearly half a million of those occurring during the day. Because HOA security guards are quite effective at deterring crime, a lot of communities invest in them. Plus, residents tend to feel more at ease when they live in a neighborhood with great security.
Uniformed security guards serve as authority figures. And while they can’t actually arrest anyone, their mere presence is often enough to keep crime at bay. People are less likely to commit theft, vandalism, or trespassing when there are guards posted everywhere.
2. Control Access
Gated communities and condo complexes are known for exclusivity. These types of communities are usually only open to residents and their guests. And while there are automated ways to control access, a common practice is to hire security guards to screen those entering the premises.
But, exclusive communities are not the only ones who can benefit from controlled access. Any community with facilities or amenities that are only available for member use can post a security guard to keep watch. Security guards can make sure outsiders or unauthorized visitors don’t make their way inside.
3. Enforce Parking Restrictions
Many homeowners associations have parking rules and traffic restrictions within their communities. And although it is primarily the board’s job to enforce these rules, a security guard can serve as an extra pair of eyes. Security guards can stop unauthorized vehicles from entering the community and regulate parking. This is another way they can help keep the community safe.
4. Stop Unsafe Activity
Security guards can monitor the neighborhood for any actions that could damage property or put the safety of others at risk. For instance, if a fight breaks out, a security guard can be the first to step in to stop the violence. Any suspicious behavior can also be quickly spotted and reported to the local authorities.
5. Patrol the Neighborhood
Many communities have started their own neighborhood watch programs as a way to deter crime and keep residents safe. But, neighborhood watches are not always a good idea. Volunteers don’t often have proper security training or usually don’t know how to respond to a crisis. Plus, the association may find itself liable should a member of the watch suffer injury or worse.
By hiring HOA security guards, the association can ensure that someone with proper training patrols the grounds. Moreover, if the HOA employs the guards through an agency, the agency will typically take care of all insurance needs.
HOA Security Guards vs HOA Security Cameras
Security cameras are a popular choice for heightened security in homeowners associations. They are easy to configure, allow you to monitor the grounds remotely, and can store footage if necessary. Security cameras are also known to deter crime because criminals are afraid of getting caught even after the crime has taken place.
So, is it better to hire security guards or install security cameras?
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all kind of answer here. It really depends on the needs, size, and nature of the community. Boards also have to consider the association’s budget and whether or not there is room for these kinds of investments.
That being said, a good approach to security is to have a combination of personnel and equipment. The association can install security cameras, lights, locks, and alarms, as well as employ guards at the same time. The HOA can have guards posted 24 hours a day or only during certain hours.
Of course, it is important to keep in mind that security guards are not police officers. They have no authority to make arrests. But, they can add to the safety of a neighborhood by monitoring the community and reporting any suspicious activity to law enforcement. Guards who act beyond the scope of their duties can make the association vulnerable to liability claims.
Who Pays for HOA Security Services?
Because security guards typically fall under the services an HOA provides, it stands to reason that the association includes it in the computation for homeowner dues. Thus, while the association technically pays for HOA security guards, it still sources those funds from the dues it collects from members. The same goes for security cameras.
Boards should include the fees for security services as one of the anticipated expenses in the budget. From there, they can divide the cost evenly among all members. Boards should explain the reasoning clearly to homeowners so they are aware of what they are paying for.
Reminders for Homeowners
Homeowners should know that the HOA is not solely responsible for security in the community. Therefore, they should not exclusively rely on the association to protect their homes. Homeowners should take their own precautionary measures to protect their property and themselves.
Common recommendations include installing a home security system as well as investing in good locking mechanisms for all doors and windows. If a homeowner goes on a vacation, they should coordinate with their neighbors and ask them to help watch the house. They can even ask a neighbor to park an extra vehicle in the driveway to make it seem like someone’s home. In the same way, a light system that automatically turns on at certain hours of the night can deter crime.
An Investment Worth Making
As you can see, HOA security guards provide a lot of advantages to a community. And while it is essentially the homeowners who fund the services of security guards, it is fundamentally for their benefit. Thus, instead of considering it an expense, homeowners should view it as an investment.
Elite Management Services offers expert HOA management services to homeowners associations and condominiums. Call us today at (855) 238-8488 or contact us online to request a proposal!
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