These Days, Are Safety Measures More About Protection From Lawsuits?
The media have been blasting headlines about rising crime, but the message doesn’t seem to be getting much traction with many community associations. While they may have implemented what ostensibly are security tools, these associations are deploying them more to monitor residents than to combat crimes against people or property.
“Security these days is less about safety, more about compliance,” says Ken Bertolucci, president of NS Management in Skokie, Ill.
With this apparent change in priorities, here’s what so-called security looks like in some associations right now.
Bertolucci reports that his clients are investing in security cameras: “One in particular has invested in a really expensive network.” But he says the system has turned out to be a double-edged sword.
“On the one hand, the board has more control when people break the rules. They have it on video, so they can see if the person really did drag a bag of garbage through the lobby and stain the rug. On the other, it’s a Big Brother thing and not the friendliest way to live. They’re living in kind of a police state.”
The system also is creating more work. “The manager there is constantly getting asked to review the footage,” Bertolucci says. “Owners want to make sure their cleaning people really came or see if their daughter’s party spilled out into the hall. It’s kind of become more of a nuisance.”
Fake cameras are cheaper and less hassle but probably ill-advised. “Nobody should be hanging up dummy cameras because you’re implying something that’s not really there,” says Brad van Rooyen, president of HomeRiver Group-Florida, the management company for about 160 associations in the state.
“An owner who gets attacked could argue in court that he went to the dumpster area at night because the cameras made it seem secure. You don’t ever want to make an implied warranty that you’re providing security.”
Learn more about the current state of park and pool protections, guardrails, and more:
Associations Shift Focus with Their Security Measures