Month: October 2011

Stagger Hours of Part-Time Security Patrols

Twenty-four-seven security patrols can be very expensive and, if your community doesn't experience a lot of crime, you may be tempted to cut corners and use only part-time patrols. But if you do this, stagger security guards' shifts to keep criminals off guard. If you change the shifts your security patrol works every day, it will be more difficult for criminals to anticipate when the best opportunity for them to commit a crime by avoiding the patrol will be.

Use Landscaping to Boost Security, Reduce Liability

To eliminate potential hiding spots for criminals on community property and reduce the potential for crime, consider assessing and possibly changing your community's landscaping. Doing so could also help reduce your liability for any crimes that do occur, says attorney and security expert Norman Bates. That's because, if a crime occurs, the victim may sue you for negligence, claiming that you didn't take reasonable steps to prevent the crime.

Basic Approaches Can Prevent Burglaries

The Alarm Association of Florida recommends six safety and security tips that can help you keep your community crime free:

Tip #1: Avoid having trees or hedges that block doors or windows.

Tip #2: Install motion detector lights for the property's perimeter and areas that are typically dark at night.

Tip #3: Periodically update locks for doors in common areas or other areas of the property where criminals could hide.

Tip #4: Beware of cheap security cameras and alarm systems sold door-to-door or online.

Crime Spikes at Florida Gated Communities

Recent statistics show that homeowners who assume they're safe because they live in gated communities are wrong. Jeffrey Braxton is one of these homeowners, but the full force of his South Florida community's vulnerability to burglary was driven home with the loss of a family heirloom: a pink piggy bank, a gift to Braxton's daughter from her grandmother who passed away.

Don’t Remove Graffiti Before Taking Photographs of It

Before you remove or cover up graffiti at your community, take color photographs of it, suggests property owner and manager Kevin M. Fogel. Your first instinct will naturally be to remove graffiti immediately so that it doesn't send the message that your community is in decline or give the vandals the recognition they want, he says. But graffiti is a crime, he adds. And the police can use color photographs of graffiti to identify, track, and prosecute the graffiti artists responsible, he explains.

No Duty for Association to Provide Security at “Vast” Complex

Facts: The parents of a teenage son owned a unit at a complex containing 372 condos on approximately 27 acres. One night, the son's friend arrived at the complex with a classmate to visit the son. The three left the condo and walked to the friend's car. As they approached the vehicle, the friend noticed three individuals sitting in a car “about three spaces down” from his.

Association Not Required to Approve Handicap Ramp for Owners’ “Convenience”

Facts: The owners of a custom-built house in a residential development asked the homeowners' association for permission to build a wheelchair access ramp on the front of their home leading to the front door for their disabled son to use. After the owners submitted to the architectural review board several incomplete applications for permission to build the ramp, the association denied the owners' request.

New Law Sparks Maryland Associations’ Activism

Prompted by Baltimore County bills passed in September that affect owners of homes in Baltimore's planned communities and their homeowners associations, the Reisterstown-Owings Mills-Glyndon Coordinating Council (ROG) is encouraging the county government to change how it does business. ROG, which meets monthly to discuss community association issues, is comprised of area community association leaders.