According to the Criminal Justice Department, instances of burglaries have dropped down by 37.1 percent in the US. A significant decrease from last year; most people credit this reduction to the availability of cheap alarm systems, as well as efficient building watch programs.
The Importance of a Building Watch Program
Also known as ‘apartment watch,’ ‘home watch,’ or ‘community watch’ program, building watch programs are frameworks that involve citizens in keeping their residential spaces and communities protected. Implemented in community settings, these systems play a significant role in reducing criminal activities such as burglary, theft and vandalism.
In most buildings, the system comprises three components that all residents need to be aware of, namely:
- The “watch” component
- Property marking
- Home security survey
However, when it comes to keeping citizens in a residential building protected, the procedure is different in significant ways.
Steps to Making an Effective Building Watch Program
– Survey Your Building
Let’s say you’re a building owner or a property manager. Your first task should be to review your building’s existing security measures and observe where they may be lacking.
Broken windows, flimsy locks, security camera blind spots—anything that might make the building susceptible to danger should be repaired straightaway.
– Contact Your Local Police for Instructions
Ask a representative what your building watch program requires. If your district has a local law enforcement agency with a crime prevention officer, they may be able to help you organize the initial meeting and guide you on how you should communicate with your community.
– Call for a Meeting
If possible, contact other residents in surrounding buildings and hold a meeting in a local gathering place, like a library or a recreational center, so all of them can participate.
Ask your crime prevention officer to come to the meeting and give out tips on how the building can stay safe, and what people can do to help individually.
– Come Up With the Right Rules
Of course, with a building, there really is no need for a watch, per se. But there are some rules you can implement in your building that can help keep it safe:
- Install a keypad lock system at the main gate
- Gather monthly funds for keeping the surveillance system repaired and maintained
- Implement regular surveillance of any guests coming in and going out of the building
- Limit access to certain key areas of the building to just building residents, like the basement or the roof
- Develop a number of safety procedures in case of emergencies
– Keep Everyone Informed
Use building communication platforms like mycoop to keep everyone in the loop.
If your building residents do decide to come up with a patrol system, use the communication software to keep them all informed.
And encourage them to use the software to report anything or anyone suspicious, or to inform others that they won’t be at home for certain days. This will decrease the chances of any mistaken identity cases.
Make Your Building Safe!
Alongside your building residents, work with local stores to create safe areas for people in case of emergencies. And emphasize the limits of your watch program.
Remember, your residents need to know that their duty is not to be vigilantes, but to be alert enough to know when something is amiss, so the real professionals can take over.
This way, your residents will not only stay safe, they’ll also build a healthy bond with other members in their community, keeping each other safe and genuinely take care of one another.