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How to Create a Robust Security System for your Apartment Building

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    As a property manager or owner of an apartment building, one of the issues that keeps you up at night is security. You want to provide a superior living experience, and one of the best ways to accomplish that is to have a robust plan to keep your residents safe. It discourages those who would make trouble from coming onto your premises, increases the value of the building, and makes your property more appealing to a wider pool of potential residents.

    An effective apartment security solution consists of an interconnected system of digital and physical components that protect entrances and exits, common areas, parking lots, and other vulnerable areas. Below we will walk through the most common apartment security concerns and the best tools for achieving a safe living space.

    Common apartment safety concerns

    Apartment building owners face many safety challenges. Here are some of the most common:

    • Break-ins. When tenants forget to lock their apartments or leave them unlocked even for a quick errand, burglars can strike. This not only costs the residents their valuables but can also cause damage to your property.
    • Fire prevention. This is obviously a top concern for anyone living in close quarters. The catastrophic damage that smoke and fire can cause to people and property makes prevention an absolute must.
    • Bike theft. When a car is stolen, there are ways to locate it again. That’s much more difficult with bikes, which is why thieves often target them. A locked bike storage room can be an excellent deterrent.
    • Squatters. It can be difficult to keep an eye on vacant units, and therefore tough to spot people who would adopt them as a temporary home.
    • Stolen packages. Package theft is an all-too-common problem for apartment dwellers. In 2022, 49 million Americans had packages stolen, representing over $2.4 billion in value.

    After identifying your building’s security concerns, the next step is working out what kind of protection works best.

    Things to think about before choosing a system

    Before you can decide which security solution will work best for your property, there are many factors to consider. These include:

    • Size of the building. How much security apparatus – such as cameras, controllers, and door locks – do you need? If your building has four or eight units, that’s a far easier task than if it has hundreds. If time is an issue, you may want to go wireless to avoid the slow process of wiring each unit.
    • Your budget. The cost of your security systems will depend on the features you choose and the size of your building. Not only will the price of materials go up with more units but installation fees will also increase.
    • Complexity of installation. Is your new system plug-and-play? Can you install it yourself or do you need to call in the experts? Complex, high-end systems with fancy widgets are great, but if the installation costs break the bank, then you may want to look at other options.
    • Management and maintenance. Once your system is installed, you’ll need the technical know-how needed to troubleshoot and maintain it. This means either providing special training for your team or outsourcing management to a third party.

    Now that we know the safety challenges and logistical considerations that apartment buildings face, let’s dive into the must-have features of a security system.

    Access control

    The best way to keep your tenants and their valuables safe is to control who gains entry into the building. Key entry points should have alarm and intrusion detection. These include exterior doors and windows, electrical closets, mail/package rooms, bike depots, and parking garages. 

    Many access control solutions now have smart features that go beyond the locks and keys of the past. These features often include the following components:

    • Cloud-based software. All of your data, including video footage, resident and staff profiles, and other sensitive information, is stored in the cloud, accessible anywhere. Your managers can grant access privileges to certain individuals and instantly see a record of who goes in and out.
    • Wireless access. This is generally faster and less expensive than traditional wired systems. It saves installation time and the time needed to get your staff up to speed on how to use it.
    • Facial recognition. Some systems can control access to the building – and even individual units – by scanning and recognizing residents’ faces.
    • Window/door sensors. Some of the most effective alarms are door and window sensors, which activate when opened. You can customize them to go off only at specific times of day (or night), and they can be monitored and controlled from a smartphone.
    • Delivery/package management. These days, everyone from the local Vietnamese restaurant to Amazon is probably delivering to your building, so it pays to keep an eye on what’s coming in.

    Security gates

    A gate is your apartment complex’s first line of defense, making it easier to manage access to the property. There are a few things to consider when installing a gate, including where to put it, how much traffic you anticipate going in and out, and the cost of a video intercom, which is necessary to effectively monitor the entrance.

    Smoke/carbon monoxide detectors

    They are perhaps the least sexy of the features in this article, but they are certainly a critical part of any apartment security plan. And while traditional smoke/carbon monoxide alarms are effective, you might want to upgrade to smart sensors that can send alerts when residents aren’t home and when they’re about to go off. In cases of a false alarm, tenants or managers can switch them off from their phones. Some vendors even offer discounts if you order in bulk.

    Monitored video surveillance

    Security and doorbell cameras not only provide an extra layer of protection, but many tenants consider them a perk. A monitored video surveillance program can give your entire community peace of mind, knowing that professionals are looking out for them 24/7. Just make sure your cameras cover main and service entrances, garages and parking lots, storage areas for bikes and packages, and any outdoor spaces.

    Level up your building’s security

    When you improve your apartment complex’s security, you can increase efficiency, attract new tenants, improve the lives of existing tenants, and raise property values. Mobile Video Guard can guide you through the process of selecting the cameras that fit your needs. Our team of industry professionals will monitor your system around the clock. Call us today to get started with a free quote.


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