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  • Posted By Scott
  • |
  • May 29, 2021

3 Steps for Reducing Crime in Condominiums

At the time of the writing, Ontario is being subjected to a rash of bike thefts and a lot of condominiums are being targeted repeatedly. As we have stated previously, we believe that the reason that condominiums get targeted so frequently is that, historically, condominiums are very soft on security. When a security problem arises, the traditional method of dealing with it is to look for the cheapest (or free) method to address it, rather than the most effective.

Slowly, condominiums are starting to change their position on security and there are those that have gone pro-active on this front. We are of the opinion that there may be an issue with the incomplete advice that is being given to condominiums by either municipal or provincial organizations. Obviously, these organizations cannot tell condominiums that they need additional security in their buildings, because it could then be taken as a reflection on their job performance (“you cannot protect our property? What do we pay taxes for?”). Quite frankly, from an administrative point of view, these “free fixes” are also easier to implement, so management may jump all over them. Our understanding is that it is very hard to recommend to a condominium that they may have to spend money to protect the residents and their property.

Let’s take a quick look at what some experts say is necessary to reduce crime:

1. Address the underlying cause of crime.

2. Deter offending activity by ensuring the cost outweigh the benefits.

3. Reduce the opportunities.

#1 - Address the underlying cause of crime: The is a social-political conversation that would go beyond the ability of a condominium to address. In the example used above, a condominium has no ability to address the current shortage of bikes. This shortage is causing bikes to be targeted and some have been taken at knifepoint. A condominium may not be able to do anything to address a province-wide problem but being aware of the situation allows them to take steps to protect their facility.

#2 – Deter offending activity by ensuring the cost outweigh the benefits: We have spoken to the topic in the past when discussing the potential response time of a condominium to react to a security incident. In order to deter the offenders, there has to be a very real risk that they can be caught and prosecuted for their bad behavior. If an adversary (also known in security parlance as a “bad actor”) is confident that he/she will not be interrupted in their commissioning of a crime and will be able to accomplish their objective (in our example: removing the bike from the property), they are more likely to attempt the theft. Condominiums that have a reputation in preventing crimes and making arrests will be less likely to be targeted as the cost is too high to the adversary.

#3 - Reduce the opportunities: In addition to curbing the motivation of the adversary, condominiums look for ways to reduce the opportunities for crime to take place in the condominium. We are seeing an increasing number of condominiums that are commissioning security audits in order to assess their risk and to develop strategies to mitigate them. These strategies may include increased lighting, better locking mechanisms, mobile patrols, CCTV monitoring and response, static security guards, intrusion detection systems, and many more. By having a complete security plan in place, a property is able to determine what is working and adjust what is not. A security plan is a living document that changes, in this example, according to the factors recognized in #1 (underlying cause of crime).