Crimes and other security issues at apartment complexes are hard to quantify. There are some regional exceptions, however.
The City of Marietta, Georgia, for example conducted an analysis over a 12 month period in 2017 tracking crimes reported in the city’s various apartment housing complexes.
The crime classifications were established according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
There were 384 reported “Part I Crimes” which include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, and auto theft. In addition, a total of 368 reported “Part II Crimes” including assaults other than those listed as Part I crimes, narcotics offenses, arson, vandalism, weapons offenses, prostitution, gambling, and disorderly conduct.
In total, there were 752 crimes reported at apartment complexes in the Marietta, or about two incidents per day. It is assumed that an unknown number of incidents went unreported. What is significant in this 12-month snapshot of criminal activity in apartment complexes is that these numbers were only slightly above the national average.
But getting an accurate, comprehensive picture of the most common issues for apartment complex security is next to impossible.
Apartment Complex Crimes: Security Issues That are Lost in the Mix
In a 2009 article from Multifamily Executive magazine this problem was highlighted,
“Unfortunately, the level of criminal activity at apartment and condo communities nationwide is incredibly difficult to gauge, thanks to inconsistent record-keeping by national and local enforcement agencies.
For instance, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reports that all manners of crime went down as the country sank into recession between 2007 and 2008: Murder fell 4.4 percent; robbery and property crime also fell, 1.1 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. The only crime inching upwards was burglary, which rose 1 percent.
But the agency doesn’t delineate crime by property type and rarely segments out residential crime. In a letter to Multifamily Executive, the FBI wrote, ‘There is not a separate designation for apartments. They are included in the ‘residence/home’ category.’”
According to the FBI, burglary is the most common residential crime. In fact, there were an estimated 1,401,840 burglaries in the United States in 2017 alone. This means, based on the number of households in the country that year, an average of 1 out of 10 homes were burglarized. What we can’t know for certain is how many of those homes were apartments.
And what we can know is largely regional, local, or anecdotal.
For example, in 2008, out of 64,528 crimes committed in Dallas that year, 17,033 – over 26 percent – occurred in apartment buildings. And, much more recently, some troubled cities like Memphis reported more than 300 criminal investigations at apartment complexes over the last two years.
What is additionally distressing for those apartment complex owners and managers is that many are being sued for failing to provide sufficient security measures to mitigate the number of crimes occurring.
The Three Most Common Security Issues for Apartment Complexes
Fortunately, for the vast majority of multifamily units and apartment complexes throughout the United States, the incidence of violent crimes is low. While some areas in certain cities and states may have higher than average violent crime rates occurring at apartment complexes, these are the exception rather than the rule.
What is far more prevalent is the commission of these three criminal activities:
Simply put, theft is the act of taking someone’s property without his or her permission or knowledge. For example, when someone takes a bicycle off the front landing of an apartment, that is considered theft.
Unfortunately for tenants and management, vehicle and property theft have long been ongoing issues at many apartment complexes. The theft of automobiles, or property inside of them, along with personal property theft from tenant premises are continuing issues, as is the theft of apartment complex company property.
Burglary (and robbery) are more serious and sometimes violent crimes that involve breaking and entering and even the use of a deadly weapon. As apartment complex managers know, tenants have a reasonable expectation to live in peaceful communities, free from security issues.
This is why, when on-going break-ins occur, many residents no longer feel safe, and some will take these as a signal to vacate. Having an item stolen from the front steps of your apartment is one thing; knowing that someone has come into the sanctity of your home is both violating and frightening.
Although vandalism rarely involves outright theft or violence, it is still a disturbing act for tenants to witness and can add significantly to a sense of unease and lack of security. Vandalism can be graffiti, broken windows, gates, and other company property, and even apartment doors and windows damaged during attempted break-ins.
For property owners and managers, not only is there the cost of repairs to vandalized property, there’s also the added psychological cost of tenants asking about vandalized property. In addition, there is the added risk of vandals and others seeing the property as an easy target for additional criminal activity.
Mitigate Apartment Complex Security Issues with Smart Video Monitoring
It is likely a given that your property is equipped with a video surveillance system. However, the standard video camera, no matter how high quality, can merely record criminal acts such as theft or vandalism, as they occur.
They can do nothing to actively prevent these security breaches.
However, the integration of Blue Eye’s AI software technology can transition your security cameras into detection and breach sensors. These can then allow your system to analyze and even anticipate threats with the result being a real-time, interactive surveillance system using advanced security and surveillance technology to transform your video camera network into a smart security system.
Blue Eye’s advanced, proprietary managed service platform provides state-of-the-art technology and performance that will provide your multifamily property with a highly enhanced security network.
When a criminal threat is detected at your apartment complex, an alarm is immediately sent to our command center. This is where our highly trained Video Surveillance Technicians (VSTs) will respond to the threat in real-time by assessing the situation and taking appropriate action.
That action can range from giving a verbal warning broadcast over a loudspeaker system to calling the police or your contracted security service. In fact, using the direct audio system actually thwarts incidents almost 99 percent of the time. Which simply means that we rarely need to dispatch the police.
With AI-enhanced video surveillance from Blue Eye, remote personnel safely maintain video monitoring in a secure environment, while having the ability to dispatch security or police to the property, if needed. By integrating both artificial and human intelligence, our approach allows for an effective security solution, all while utilizing the cameras you already have installed at your property.
If you would like to learn more about our unique approach to provide security for your site, call us at 855.258.3662 or email us at [email protected] and let us design an effective solution for your apartment complex.