Many apartment communities struggle with safety and security related issues. Especially in metro areas such as Albuquerque, New Mexico where STT Security Services has been established for over 15 years. “Security Service” is a very broad term and there is a big difference between the types of security services traditionally used in residential or community style settings.
Security guard patrol service…or a dedicated security officer for your property – which is the right decision? Maybe you’ve been experiencing automobile break-in’s, vandalism or other undesirable activity – you have to do something to straighten out the image at your property and ensure safety.
When comparing these two potential options for security at your location you must first realize that they are entirely different in many ways. Overall, cost and effectiveness are the major differentiating factors between these two security options. Well, before you make any decisions, or recommend security options, consider the following advice from David Rusch, President and Founder of STT Security Services.
For many customers, commonly apartment communities for example, a security patrol or “vehicle drive by” service is often times contracted to establish a security presence on the property. There are plenty of companies providing this type of security service and the cost is relatively low. Typically, the security company will establish a contract with the client for a certain number of visits per day, often times limited to only a few per night. However, this will all depend on your individual agreement with your provider and costs may vary accordingly.
For those familiar with the security service industry it is a known fact that a security patrol service is considerably less expensive that a security officer permanently dedicated a single location. This is for obvious reasons, a patrol company can divide the wages and expenses for that officer over sometimes up to 30 clients or more. But what does this mean for your property and the value of service? It often times means that when something happens: a tenant needs assistance, a vehicle is broken into, a door gets left unlocked, that it may be quite some time until the security patrol is available. It’s a great example of, “You get what you pay for.” In our opinion you get 1 – 30th of the service.
The security patrol service serves a limited, yet somewhat useful security purpose, depending on your security goals, objectives and the challenges you facing. If you want to be able to say, “We have security” this is an option. However, will they be there when you need them? It will be obvious to those who want to take advantage that security is only on-site briefly.
A patrol service provider, or any security provider for that matter, should provide you with a written set of Standard Operating Procedures that they’ve developed. This should be developed in coordination with you as the client, as to what exactly they will do while they are on-site to accomplish your goals. Will the patrol service simply make a quick drive by through the property with their lights on, be a visible deterrent, jot down some notes in their daily report and be on to another client’s property to do the same thing?
Have you considered the following….
- Will the patrol company be providing a dedicated phone line or communication method for your tenants should they have a security issue?
- What happens if they are attending to another client’s needs when your property needs assistance?
- Will they complete other value added tasks like making sure certain areas and or doors are secure, note maintenance issues, coordinate with police, remove banned people from property, enforce internal violations, pick up trash, etc. These are all important questions you need to ask potential providers when you compare costs and consider what goals you’re trying to really accomplish.
Random and infrequent patrol does not allow the security officer enough time to observe loiterers or differentiate between the customers, the residents, and the criminals. Many drive-through patrols consist of only a high-speed pass and offer little in the way of observation or scrutiny of suspicious activity. Because of the nature of the drive-through patrol, customer contacts are infrequent and suspicious groups are not likely to be confronted. Drive-through is better than not doing anything, but understand the limitations of infrequent and non-confrontation security services. Due to fear from prior litigation claims, signs supporting the random drive-through security patrol are not always used on retail and rental housing settings for fear of misrepresenting to a consumer that security guards are always on-site.
One inherent flaw in contracting for drive-through security patrol service is supervision of the officers. Unless someone is checking, the drive-through patrol may not occur or the service may be insufficient. A common problem for some security patrol services is that they overbook, and assign too many accounts to their officers. It is impossible for patrol officers to properly inspect a site if they must make a high-speed pass to keep on schedule. It is important at the beginning of the contract to establish the quality and timing of the patrols and then follow up if you suspect that the service is inadequate.
Worse yet, is when security officers falsify reports indicating that they patrolled when they had not. To avoid these problems, security patrol officers need to know that they are being supervised in some manner. This can be accomplished by a patrol supervisor but will usually involve additional costs. Other methods are to incorporate a mechanical or electrical check in device. Make sure any potential provider has a way to prove to you that they are doing their job!
Dedicated Security – On-Site Security Officer Service
Alternatively, a dedicated security officer assigned to your property provides an entirely different value to the property, tenants and community. A dedicated security officer makes a clear statement that, “We take our property security seriously, security is here and security is looking after your assets and safety.” The officer does this by conducting proactive foot patrols, interacting with those on-site, making constant observations, responding to calls for service, investigating issues and much more. The dedicated officer is trained to specific needs of the property and has the opportunity to learn first-hand the community’s needs on a daily basis. He or she will be there, during all contracted hours of coverage, solely dedicated to the needs of your property.
Additional Resources Provided by STT Security Services
STT Security Services utilizes electronic tour verification systems to ensure our staff are conducting patrols and can provide electronics tour verification reports at any time. Our supervisors review these reports on a regular basis to ensure the officers dedicated to your site are doing what they should be. Our staff will work under a Site or Area Manager, as well as the STT Corporate Office, who conjointly conducts on-site inspections to ensure service quality.
Your account manager will be available to your management team at all times. He/ she will continually work with you to update and improve policy and procedures as desired. Also, every client is welcome to reach out to our corporate leaders at any time as needed.
For clients who desire, STT has the ability to deploy other valuable resources such as our proprietary Reporting Software. This software houses electronic daily/ incident reporting, statistical information generation, time keeping as well as many other beneficial information gathering technologies. For example, when used, if a client asks us how many times our Officer had a disturbance call in building A for any given period of time, we can access that information and provide accurate documentation. This system also allows you to receive daily activity and incident reports electronically via email should you wish. Overall, it is a tool which our clients to make more informed decisions.
For more information about STT Security Services visit us online or contact us today!