Making the Case for Multifamily Video Monitoring
As a property manager, you’re responsible for filling vacancies, collecting rents, and resolving the hundreds of problems that can crop up in a typical day on a multifamily property. It’s a job that’s challenging under normal circumstances. Add some crime–vandalism, assaults, burglaries, even something as mild as pool hopping–to the mix, and your job gets much more challenging. Now your tenants are angry, and it’s harder to fill vacancies.
Many robust security solutions exist, but they can be costly. So the protection better be worth the price. One such solution is multifamily video monitoring, which offers incredible protection if you invest in a quality system.
If your owner or board doesn’t want to increase overhead, how do you make the case for security measures like multifamily video monitoring at your property?
Step 1: Explain Benefits, Especially Financial Ones
Increased security does a lot more than make your job easier. It also boosts earnings and reduces costs. Your owner or board would likely appreciate the following upsides.
No one wants to live in a high-crime area. And they especially don’t want to live in a complex doing little to keep them safe. If break-ins and assaults plague your complex, more and more tenants will leave. Those extra vacancies could force you to lower rents. Keep your occupants safe to keep your occupancy rate high.
Your best tenants (those with favorable income, savings, and credit rating) can leave if your complex becomes ridden with crime. The tenants who will stay likely lack the resources to move. These tenants are often just one life emergency–fewer work hours, a layoff, an extended illness–away from not making rent.
Evictions are more than a pain. They’re also costly due to legal fees, court costs, and lost rent. According to TransUnion data, the average eviction costs $3,500 and can last three to four weeks.
No one wants to deal with evictions. The easier solution: attract and retain great tenants by providing a secure living space.
Higher-income tenants want to live in buildings with enhanced security measures. This is true regardless of the overall crime rate in the surrounding community. Monitored systems make them safer, and they’re willing to pay higher rents for that peace of mind.
Enhanced security can help you save money in many ways.
- Reduced maintenance: Less vandalism and fewer break-ins mean fewer doors, windows, and light fixtures to replace and less graffiti to clean up.
- Lower legal costs: According to the “reasonable care” legal standard for liability, property owners must exercise the same degree of caution that any rational person would use in the same circumstances. Put another way, tenants have a right to expect a reasonable amount of safety and security when they are on your property. If you don’t provide it–and something happens to them or their belongings–they can sue you and win. A safer property means fewer legal fees, settlements, and the like.
- The possibility for insurance discounts: The courts are finding more and more multifamily owners liable for crimes on their properties. As a result, many insurers offer discounts for enhanced safety and security measures. And fewer incidents might keep your rate down.
Be prepared for your board to ask, “But this isn’t a high-crime area. Why do we need to worry about this? And why now?”
The truth is that criminals are much more likely to target buildings without security systems, even in low-crime areas. High-quality tenants appreciate security measures, regardless of the crime (or lack thereof) in the surrounding neighborhood.
Step 2: Create a Security Plan
Once your board or owner understands how enhanced security can improve the bottom line, it’s time to discuss options. This is where you can seal the deal because state-of-the-art security is often less expensive than many think.
For your multi-family residential security plan, consider the following options:
- Improved lighting, especially in common areas like parking lots
- Keys, keypads, or keycards for entry doors
- Smart locks
- Window and door sensors for the ground floor
- Glass break sensors
- A door attendant (more about this option below)
- On-site security guards (more about this option below)
- Security cameras (more about this option below)
You may not need all the above solutions. For example, perhaps your complex already has floodlights installed in critical locations. So, when drafting your security plan, focus on what’s missing and what’s the most cost-effective. That brings us to…
Step 3: Evaluate Your Plan for Cost Effectiveness
Once you’ve listed all the possible ways to increase security around your complex, it’s time to evaluate each solution to ensure it’s worth the price tag. Let’s look at the pros and cons of three security solutions: door attendants, on-site guards, and security cameras.
On-Site Guides and Door Attendants
Many property managers assume they need a team of personnel to patrol the property constantly. While hiring security guards is an appealing option, it comes at a steep cost.
One guard or door attendant can cost anywhere from $22 to $100 an hour or more. Because of that, you’re looking at anywhere from $500 to $2,400 per person on duty per day. That doesn’t include any money you might spend on benefits, uniforms, and the like. No matter what way you slice it, that’s a huge chunk of your budget.
This expense also comes with downsides. On-site guards cannot be in every area of your property at once. If your complex is large, it might take several minutes for a guard to get from one location to another, even in an emergency. Many professional criminals plan for this time lag, getting in and out before a guard has time to catch them. Better coverage requires hiring even more guards. And that means even more money.
Another sad-but-true factor is that guards are only human. And, as such, they’re prone to make human mistakes. Even the most well-intentioned and well-trained guard can lose focus or miss a critical threat.
Don’t get us wrong: On-site guards–especially front desk or door attendants–can be helpful. They might make sense if you can afford them, as they provide peace of mind and a friendly face for those high-quality tenants. But other, less expensive solutions exist.
Security Cameras and Multifamily Video Monitoring
Monitored cameras are one of the most powerful and cost-effective multi-family residential security solutions.
In a survey of 500 convicted burglars, 37% said the presence of a security camera would stop them from attempting a break-in. And Deep Sentinel’s system offers several special perks. The cameras use AI to identify suspicious activity and escalate the feed to a live security guard. Then, the guards use the system’s two-way audio and sirens to intervene. This is usually enough to scare criminals away before they break in. The live guard can also notify local authorities, dramatically increasing the likelihood that the criminals will get caught. All this place within seconds.
Compared to onsite guards, Deep Sentinel’s multifamily video monitoring solution offers superior coverage and eliminates the risk of human error. And all of this is for the fraction of the cost of hiring your own security team. You get more protection and a faster response for less money.
Step 4: Add Specifics
Once you’ve decided on your security solutions, it’s time to fill in all the specifics. Make sure your plan answers three key questions:
- How many?
- How much?
For example, if you want to invest in security cameras: How many do you need? Where do you need them? How much will it cost?
(If you need help with any of those specifics for Deep Sentinel, just call 833.983.6006.)
Once you’ve got all the above information, you’re ready to present your solution to your board or owner. Know your options and come prepared with the most effective security solutions for the cost. If you do that, you’re likely to hear, “Yes, let’s do this.”