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  • Karel Costa-Armas

Community Security and Local Law Enforcement


Most residents living in an association, with a barrier such as a gate, or a buffer such as a front desk staff, expect an increased level of security. While living in an association comes with many rules to follow and standards to be maintained, the level of service when it comes to security is expected to be more than the usual neighborhood. Those living in condominiums particularly, expect to be phoned or notified of a guest or vendor arriving to meet with them. In gated communities, the security guards, or remotely monitored access system serves to allow only those guests authorized to be on site.


What can be expected at your community as far as security is concerned?

The first thing I look to is the budget. What are you budgeting for? Are you paying a decent hourly rate for a good security company with sharp employees? Or are you paying the minimum and expecting high level service? Let’s be realistic now. The job market is tougher than ever, and wages have increased at least 30% for positions such as janitorial and security services. While 2020 was paying a decent security guard $12 per hour (in metropolitan area of Florida), the new standard is $17/hr. You should expect this line item in your budget to increase 30% or more for the years to come (don’t forget those super-duper insurance increases that are looming as well).


Another thing you will want to evaluate with your security in place is the actual physical grounds and resources. Is your front desk, gate house, or workplace for these employees attractive and equipped with the proper resources for security? If their workplace is dingy and falling apart, it will not attract quality security employees that will want to remain working there. The turnover will drive the board and management crazy. What about a good camera (CCTV) system? Do you have one in place? Can multiple areas be monitored simultaneously? Do you have the ability pull the recording of an event?


Local law enforcement resources and the professionalism of your security staff play a vital role. Your security staff must be trained well enough to know when to call the police department. Security officers are not usually trained for engagement of violent situations or the enforcement of criminal activity. They should be trained to witness situations, prevent what they can, document incidents, and assist law enforcement in the gathering of information for serious situations.


If you live in a high crime area or a high-profile area with lots of foot traffic and the potential for an active nightlife, you may want to consider hiring off-duty police officers. This need not be a 24/7 position but frequent enough that the potential bad guys can easily see a police car outside the property and move along somewhere else. Many times, bad guys will not be deterred by security officers and the local sheriff may need to be present, even if it is an off duty/extra-duty officer. This too should be in your budget. Determine how many days and hours per year will be committed to this service and budget it in. Having worked as a police officer myself, I would recommend you schedule this far in advance so they off-duty coordinator at the police department can schedule officers far in advance.


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