7 Questions Property Managers Have About Surveillance: Answered
Property managers are expected to be jacks-of-all-trades. Successful managers must be fluent in facility maintenance, real estate transactions, landlord-tenant laws, customer service, and many more skills, including security technology.
As a property manager, you know that security is an important investment for your property. Not only will it help protect it, but it will also make your tenants feel safe and help decrease turnover.
As you conduct your research, keep in mind the answers to other property manager’s most-asked questions about surveillance.
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Please note that this information is based on our own experience working with property managers. All legal advice should be discussed with professional legal counsel before making a final decision.
1) Is it legal to install surveillance inside units?
Most lease agreements detail rules about the installation of surveillance cameras inside units. Ultimately, it is the landlord’s decision whether to allow them or not.
Prospective tenants should always ask about rules governing camera installation and find out if the landlord will use surveillance equipment to monitor the unit or the surrounding area.
2) If a tenant asks to review footage, can I let them?
As landlord or property manager, you own the surveillance equipment, so allowing a tenant to review footage is entirely up to you.
3) How do I avoid wasting hours reviewing video footage?
The best way to save time is to know the specific camera and time of day you need to review. Often though, you won’t know exactly what time the crime occurred.
If you know which camera recorded the footage you’re looking for, that dramatically speeds up your search process. Once you isolate that footage, you can start narrowing down the time frame.
For example, if you know a car was stolen overnight from a garage, start your search by going back to a point in the footage when the car was still there. Then, instead of fast-forwarding until it disappears, skip ahead a few hours.
If the car was there at 9 PM and then gone at 3 AM, skip to 2 AM. If it’s there at 2 AM, you’ve now narrowed a search of several hours into a search of one hour. This technique is useful for any instance of ‘before’ and ‘after’ crime.
When you’re looking for a specific person or vehicle on high-traffic cameras, the process gets trickier, and usually requires you to manually search the footage.
That is, unless your cameras are equipped with facial or license plate recognition and Smart Search technology. With Smart Search, you can find the footage you’re looking for in seconds, not hours.
4) How do I prevent illegal dumping on my property?
Illegal dumping is a common problem for property owners, and it’s hard to stop since it typically occurs after hours when no one is around. Putting locks on dumpsters and giving tenants keys can help. But often, illegal dumpers will simply leave their trash next to the dumpsters.
We’ve found that the best solution for illegal dumping is remote guarding. Remote guard services pair the latest surveillance cameras with highly trained guards that monitor your camera footage from a central command post.
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Cameras are set up to create virtual perimeters around your dumpsters. When a person or vehicle crosses that boundary during non-business hours, cameras immediately send an alert to guards who can use two-way audio to speak directly to the intruders.
Guards identify the illegal dumper, notify them that they’re being recorded and monitored, and tell them to remove their garbage and leave immediately. And, in the vast majority of cases, that’s exactly what happens. See an example of this here.
5) I had a break-in, what should I do next?
Contact your local police department and make a report immediately. This report is vital to any insurance claim you want to file.
Next, review any recorded surveillance footage available so that you can provide it to the police for their investigation. Video evidence can help catch the perpetrator and make it easier for you to file your insurance claim.
6) What kind of security system is right for my property?
The best security systems take into account a wide variety of considerations, from operating hours and tenant types, to property location and local conditions. That means the best security system for your property is one that is custom-designed specifically to meet the needs of you and your business.
Talk to a security professional to find out exactly what features, cameras, and services are a great match for your business.
7) How do I keep unwanted visitors off my property?
Trespassing is a gateway crime that leads to everything from burglary to vandalism. That’s why stopping trespassers in their tracks is one of the most desired features of an effective security system.
“No Trespassing” signs are a cheap option, but they’re almost universally ignored by people who are determined to get on your property. Security guards are another option, but they can only monitor one area at a time, are usually very expensive, and are easily distracted.
We’ve found that surveillance cameras with integrated analytics and remote guards are the most effective and affordable option. With remote guarding, you get a custom video surveillance system that can include features like heat mapping, perimeter protection, and facial and license plate recognition.
Powerful analytics help cameras create alerts within seconds of an intrusion. Those alerts are then sent to remote guards who monitor your footage in real-time and use two-way audio capabilities to identify and dissuade intruders from engaging in crime. And, if it doesn’t work, remote guards can contact local authorities to establish an on-site presence.
In most cases, criminals identified by remote guards leave immediately.
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