When homeowners move into a neighborhood overseen by a homeowners association, what do they expect? They’re looking for convenient amenities, a clean, orderly environment and, above all, safety for themselves, their family members and their property.
The most direct way to make sure residents feel safe is by implementing neighborhood security systems. These include both technologies and policies, encompassing everything from digital security cameras to occupancy and tenancy ledgers that will provide an accurate log of which properties are in use at any time.
As living patterns change — driven by massive upheavals such as COVID-19 — homeowners’ needs and expectations around community security are also shifting. Even seemingly small changes can lead to new security needs. For instance, increasing use of e-commerce has led to more thefts of packages from front porches.
Management companies and homeowners associations that are able to evolve with the times can increase their appeal, providing potential residents with a greater sense of safety and assurance.
What’s the state of HOA security systems today?
Community management systems and their security features are currently undergoing a period of evolution. Technology is making its mark, but not every community has successfully integrated high-tech tools into its overall security posture yet.
Making the jump and smoothly integrating new solutions into an overall safety operation could be the mark of a forward-thinking homeowners association or management company. This means not just installing new hardware — such as license plate readers or badge scanners — but also making sure the components will work with the software in place. A failure to build out a compatible system could mean going back to the drawing board.
Many management companies maintain approved guest lists and use amenity registration systems to make sure everyone on community property is supposed to be there. The difference between merely adequate neighborhood security and superlative systems comes from the ways in which residents interact with these systems.
If security-related functions are managed centrally, through an easy-to-access digital portal, there’s nothing stopping residents from using them in their intended way. This lets them live up to their promise, making sure everyone gets approval to move in the neighborhood and helping personnel notice anything suspicious.
If the technology is hard to use, on the other hand, residents may either become annoyed by it, harming their experience, or not use it at all. In these cases, the security systems can’t have their intended impact. Only management companies that can offer a smooth, effective security experience are truly delivering effective neighborhood safety performance.
How are HOA security cameras and other systems managed?
Security cameras installed by homeowners associations and community management companies can provide an extra set of eyes in the common area, helping make residents feel more secure — and helping with investigations if there is an incident such as violence, theft or property damage. Of course, neighborhood security solutions go beyond the security cameras themselves and include a whole suite of capabilities.
Live monitoring access
Real-time data on who is and isn’t on the property at a given time is valuable for community management personnel overseeing the security of the area. With a modern digital system, it’s possible to track which residents have come in through the gates or gone out and to create logs of this information for future reference. Live access to tools such as a common area video surveillance security camera system allows careful verification.
Managing these systems in today’s connected and digital age means implementing effective, centralized software tools. Specialized databases can prove especially helpful, allowing the community management company to keep comprehensive records. For instance, cameras at entrance gates can capture information about the license plates of every vehicle that enters or leaves, creating a comprehensive record of who was visiting the community at a specific time.
Digital tools for staff members
Implementing more automation and technology doesn’t necessarily mean phasing out guards and other personnel. Larger communities can employ staff members specifically tasked with keeping the neighborhoods safe and secure, and then use technology to help them do their jobs. For example, an application connected to the community management system can help them check residents and their guests in and out.
Access control zones
Not every part of a community will be held to the same level of oversight and monitoring. Some amenities will be closed during specific hours, or have stringent entrance policies, and digital systems help management companies oversee these zones. Implementing access control and logging databases around these areas is a simple expansion of the overall security system.
Vendor approval lists
Digitally stored and accessed lists aren’t just for residents and their guests. Community management companies can also set up databases of approved vendors and contractors who work in the neighborhood. This allows service personnel to go about their business easily, while maintaining oversight of who is entering the area.
Considering the large amount of e-commerce purchases that occur today, it’s valuable for security systems to track those deliveries, guarding against potential theft during the delivery process. A modern digital platform can track a package from arrival in the neighborhood to final delivery, sending alerts to the recipient.
Notifications for residents
Package delivery isn’t the only event that can trigger a notification for residents. In fact, dedicated community management platforms allow managers to set up custom alerts and notifications. The messages can be sent via email or text, allowing homeowners to know immediately if there is activity around their property.
What’s the impact of neighborhood security solutions?
As with many other technology tools, creating a better community security system is a way for a management company to improve life for residents in the neighborhoods it oversees, while also benefiting HOA board members and the management company’s own employees.
Every group stands to gain from using modern technology to enhance security:
- Residents: A digitally enabled security system gives homeowners a sense of safety, coupled with convenience. The combination of modern security cameras and digital systems allows residents to make sure only approved guests and contractors enter the community while also safeguarding their property. The system is also simple to use, which means less wasted time and frustration interacting with those security features.
- HOA board members: The members of a homeowners association board need to create a feeling of security and well-being for the residents of the community — ideally in a way that will also be easy and hands-off to oversee and manage. Working with a community management company that offers effective, digitally enabled security systems is a way to deliver this balance and satisfy homeowners.
- Management companies: Automation and digitization help management companies get the most out of their employees, lowering the amount of manual activities and interactions needed to deliver a positive experience for residents in the neighborhoods they’re tasked with overseeing. Having these effective and work-saving digital systems in place can also improve a management company’s appeal to HOA boards, helping the organization win new business.
While community management companies that are still using largely disconnected, manual or analog methods to manage their security systems may struggle to keep up with modern security demands. Making the upgrade is a natural decision today, as the benefits reach everyone from office workers behind the scenes and security guards on the premises to HOA board members and the residents themselves.
How does community management software impact HOA security?
The ideal way to deploy safety-focused tech tools such as HOA security camera system controls isn’t as separate, disconnected systems but as parts of an overarching community management software platform.
Some features, including amenity reservations, straddle the line between security tools and everyday resident conveniences. Keeping a careful list of who is using a pool or other communal resource is important from a security and access control perspective — but also as a simple matter of calendar management and organization. Using a comprehensive platform ensures all these matters are handled in a streamlined, effective way.
The ideal solution will also give residents a convenient way to access digital information, including guest registration, delivery alerts and more, alongside other features such as architectural requests and work orders. In today’s mobile-dominated world, it also pays to offer a mobile app that gives the same functionality as the web portal.
Community management software creates a digital set of tools that everyone can use to interact and complete daily tasks more effectively, residents, HOA board members and management company employees alike.
How can your management company optimize security offerings?
Working with FRONTSTEPS is the ideal way to deliver a fully digitized, convenient and comprehensive community management approach. The platform is simple to integrate with communities’ security systems. Because the FRONTSTEPS platform is compatible with security and access control devices from numerous manufacturers, there is less need for costly and time-consuming reconfigurations.
Alongside security features, FRONTSTEPS offers a smooth experience for residents and your own employees. Mobile functionality, simplified online portals, an integrated billing experience and more deliver a high level of performance that can impress residents and help your organization win contracts with HOA boards.
Get started with FRONTSTEPS to discover how the right platform can modernize and elevate your security approach.