The New Three P's?
If you live in or work for condominiums you've heard of the three p's: people, pets and parking. These are three of the most common sources of problems in condominiums. (It really boils down to one problem - people - but let's leave that aside for now.) Lately, it seems like condominiums are encountering problems related to a new set of p's: pot, prostitution and petty crime. Here we use "pot" to refer to drug activity generally, "prostitution" to include related crimes like human trafficking, and "petty crime" to refer to other sorts of criminal activity, such as vandalism and bicycle thefts. For some really unfortunate condominiums they experience all three of these at once. It can take months or years to fully resolve these sorts of problems. It is rarely quick. It is often costly. It can be complex. It normally involves a number of people and organizations, like the local police service or fire department. These situations are almost always the most disruptive, anxiety-inducing situations for the other residents. There is no perfect solution to these problems. It often takes a number of different approaches to solve the problem. Today, we share some approaches that have reduced or eliminated these problems for some of our clients. Prevention Before we get into approaches aim at reducing or eliminating these problems, we will spend a few minutes on approaches for preventing them. Some of the most commonly mentioned tips from security experts and police are:
- Physical Environment - ensure the physical environment does not encourage criminal activity. Eliminate hiding areas, like overgrown bushes and untrimmed trees. Bright lights and security cameras can be a deterrent to some criminals. No trespassing signs may deter some (and can be used to remove people if a problem exists). Some police services will walk the property and provide recommendations to improve security. Private security companies can do this as well.
- Regular Maintenance - do not allow the property to deteriorate, such as not fixing broken windows or removing graffiti, as it gives the wrong impression to outsiders. The "Broken Windows Theory" is a criminological theory that states that visible signs of crime, anti-social behaviour, and civil disorder encourage further crime, anti-social behaviour and disorder. The solution is easy: keep up with regular maintenance and fix broken or damaged items quickly after you discover them.
- Security - hire security personnel. This could be a full-time service provided to the residents 24/7 or a part-time service. Sometimes the part-time service is scheduled for peak times for the criminal activity, like between midnight and 6 a.m., but other times it is random so provide an element of surprise.
- Community - build a strong community. In condominiums with regular social events or gatherings people get to know each other, making it easier to spot outsiders on the property. The residents look out for each other and report suspicious people or activities to the manager. A strong community will normally identify problems quicker than others.