By Chris Vetter, Transcend Security Solutions
A Community Association Board has many responsibilities including, but not limited to, setting goals and approving budgets, developing and enforcing CC&R’s, and hiring quality vendors such as landscapers, security providers, janitorial companies, pool companies, etc. While the Community Manager’s responsibilities include many areas of service, providing the board with guidance in making important decisions is certainly one of the most important.
Crime within or against a community not only has an emotional impact on the community; it has a financial impact as well. In-the-end, Community Association Boards have a responsibility to protect the investments of their community members, because a home is typically a person’s largest financial investment. Consequently, protecting property values should be a core concern of any Community Association Board.
In that vein, one of the toughest decisions for any Community Association Board is the selection of a contract security provider. Community Association Boards that make this decision based solely on price often find themselves dissatisfied with the services provided and end up moving from security company to security company, which can create a lack of confidence between the Community Association Board, the residents, and ultimately the Community Manager. This is where the expertise of a Community Manager is of vital importance.
The general goal of this article is to provide Community Managers with some guidance, useful tips, and practical tools for themselves and the community they represent before, during, and after a security program is put into place.
Prevention is the most effective action against crime. And the only way to accomplish “prevention” is to put into place an effective security program, targeted specifically for the community it is being put into practice for. Factors to consider before establishing a security program or selecting a new contract security provider:
- What potentials for danger and crime exist in your area? Utilizing free online crime statistics reporting outlets such as Community Crime Map (www.communitycrimemap.com) assists greatly in the overall development of a sound security program.
- What security related requirements are in a community’s governing documents?
- What exactly and/or who specifically does the community want to protect?
- Who will be responsible for researching, implementing, and evaluating the security program?
- Are there insurance considerations and/or security related liability issues?
- How will a community measure the effectiveness of their security program?
If the determination has been made to implement a security program, it’s now time to select a capable security provider. In order to ensure that all efforts are made in selecting a capable security provider, and to make certain that their Community Association Board is obtaining all of the information and experience they require and deserve, here are some relevant questions for Community Managers to ask those security providers who enter the bidding process to provide community security services:
- What does the application process entail? (Phone Interview, face-to-face interview, virtual interview, etc.)
- Are assessments conducted? (How are officer candidate competencies verified)
- Do they conduct and meet your state, and/or local municipalities training requirements?
- Is additional training provided?
- Is community-specific training available and/or provided?
- How is the training conducted (live, on-site, virtual, etc.)?
- Is the training verifiable?
Reporting & Verification Process:
- Is reporting done with pen and paper or electronically?
- How long are reports stored?
- Can the Community Manager access reporting data?
Equipment & Technology:
- Are there added costs for equipment? (cell phones, tour systems, bikes, etc.)
- Who owns the equipment and technology at the end of the contract?
- Is the technology provided proprietary?
- Will the Community Association Board and/or Community Manager have access to incident, maintenance, and analytic reports?
- Is a waiver of subrogation provided?
- Is a primary and noncontributory endorsement provided?
- Is the policy a “per policy” or “per project” policy?
- Do they have a key loss endorsement?
After a security program has been implemented, it now becomes essential to determine if the security program is actually working. The security provider, together with the Community Association Board, should be able to answer the following on an ongoing basis:
- Has overall crime increased or decreased?
- Has crime affected property values? (this information is typically gathered by the Community Manager)
- What is the security providers response to crime?
The bottom-line is simple, contracting with a competent security provider is not only beneficial to the community, it is essential to provide a safe environment for the community residents.
Chris Vetter is chief executive officer and co-founder of Transcend Security Solutions. Chris brings more than 20 years of leadership, expertise, and executive management experience to the company. Through Chris' leadership, the company has experienced rapid growth since inception, allowing Transcend Security Solutions to be recognized as one of the premiere contract security providers in Arizona.