Upgrading Security in Apartments

SECURITY professionals say that many co-op and condo forums now quietly re-evaluating their buildings’ protection desires. ”Since Sept. 11 we’ve had a brilliant growth in calls to conduct background investigations on new personnel and new people getting into buildings,” stated Michael G. Kessler, chief executive of Kessler International, a Manhattan-primarily based safety consulting company. ”And some of companies we cope with within the enterprise of putting in alarms and surveillance cameras have visible their commercial enterprise skyrocket as nicely.”

Mr. Kessler said that at the same time as each building has unique strengths and weaknesses, there are some large categories to be tested. The maximum apparent, he stated, is the bodily safety of the building itself. Basically, Mr. Kessler stated, this means stopping unauthorized individuals from having access to the building and to apartments within it.

Another important detail, he stated, is to make certain that people who are authorized to be inside the constructing do now not themselves pose a hazard to residents. That, Mr. Kessler said, can be achieved with the aid of accomplishing heritage tests on personnel and possibly even new residents.

And a 3rd element of a safety and safety plan — emergency management and evacuation planning — has less to do with stopping troubles than with responding to those that arise.

”Everyone seems to be a little more vigilant now,” Mr. Kessler said. ”And we’re seeing a move on the residential aspect to protection techniques that have been in location in business homes for years.”

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Michael Cherkasky, president and chief govt of Kroll Inc., a Manhattan-based totally worldwide safety company, stated that for a co-op or condominium board to assess a constructing’s wishes, it must first determine the building’s safety profile. ”Some buildings have higher protection profiles than others,” he stated, explaining that buildings which might be near capacity goals of terrorism — government workplaces, overseas consulates, or even, possibly, church buildings and synagogues — will have better security profiles than buildings that are not close to such objectives.

And folks that stay or work in a constructing could have an impact on the constructing’s protection profile. ”You may have one tenant inside the constructing whose presence modifications the profile of the complete building,” Mr. Cherkasky said, stating that authorities officers, diplomats, corporate executives and positive celebrities can increase the want for tighter safety in a constructing.

”So the first aspect a co-op or condominium board ought to do is get an evaluation of the sorts of dangers their precise building is uncovered to,” he said.

Dave Aggleton, president of Aggleton & Associates, a Manhattan-based totally security consulting company, agreed.

”It is imperative for boards and constructing owners to investigate safety desires earlier than developing safety answers,” Mr. Aggleton stated. ”Most residential buildings do no longer have mainly excessive tiers of safety. But the activities of Sep 11 have furnished a very good possibility for human beings to reconsider what their safety needs simply are.”

Mr. Aggleton, who is also vp of the International Association of Professional Security Consultants, a change company based in Buena Vista, Calif., stated that the maximum apparent region initially a bodily security plan is at the the front door.

”You can always lock the front door,” he stated. ”But keys are very effortlessly duplicated.”

An opportunity to keyed locks on the outdoors the front door — or an indoors vestibule door — is the magnetic card-kind device used in lots of hotels. ”The maximum commonplace card reader now could be the proximity reader,” he said, explaining that as opposed to requiring a card to be slid right into a slot, a proximity reader will unencumber the door whilst the card is held near the reader’s digital sensor. Even the ones devices, however, aren’t foolproof. ”The card reader is most effective checking the cardboard, not the person that is the use of it,” Mr. Aggleton stated.

In truth, he said, the most secure access systems available nowadays are ”biometric get admission to manipulate systems.” Such systems, Mr. Aggleton stated, recognize some particular feature approximately the man or woman trying to benefit get right of entry to. ”There are some of distinct kinds of biometric gadgets,” he stated. ”Some will do a retinal eye scan, a few will scan the iris, some will apprehend a fingerprint and a few will do hand geometry checking.”

Andsome biometric gadgets are not almost as highly-priced as one may think, he stated. Available for as little as $900, ”fingerprint readers are handiest approximately three instances the rate of a ordinary card reader,” he stated. And whilst extra system is wanted to install an entire device — which include a controller panel, a pc, software program and an electric locking mechanism on the door — it’s miles feasible to put in a brand new biometric access manipulate system in a building for much less than $10,000.

Mr. Aggleton added that every one capability factors of access to a building want to be secured. For example, he said, if a constructing has a service entrance, it is probably wise to have an electric locking device at the door that can be opened by way of a building employee in the foyer who’s monitoring the carrier front over a closed circuit tv camera. It is likewise feasible to put in cameras inside the vestibule that make it possible for occupants to look who is calling on them with out leaving their flats.

Gregory J. Carlson, government director of the Federation of New York Housing Cooperatives and Condominiums, stated that one manner for a building to increase safety without putting in luxurious electronics is to have a individual stationed within the foyer. In some homes, Mr. Carlson said, a doorman might be enough. In others, the doorman can be supplemented with a uniformed security shield. ”You could have a defend on duty for one shift, two shifts, or on a 24-hour basis,” he said. ”You simply tailor the settlement to fulfill the needs of the constructing.”

Security guards, who generally fee $10 to $15 an hour, may be beneficial even in buildings with a doorman. ”You can use the security defend as an escort for whilst humans come into the building to study flats on the market,” Mr. Carlson said, including that during huge buildings or homes with parking garages, additional guards can patrol one of a kind parts of the building or the garage. ”In the constructing wherein I live, we’ve got an extra defend who is available in at night time just to look at the storage,” he said.

Mr. Kessler of Kessler International said that even if get right of entry to to a constructing is tightly managed, it is still essential to make certain that those who’ve been granted get entry to do no longer themselves pose a protection risk.

”A lot of forums are asking us to do heritage checks of latest employees and people moving into the building,” Mr. Kessler said, explaining that such investigations generally involve following up on information approximately the person’s past that has been supplied via the person. ”We will go out and interview human beings they’ve labored for and talk to humans in places where they have got lived,” he stated.

In some cases, Mr. Kessler delivered, public data will be checked to determine if a prospective worker or tenant-shareholder has a file of any crook convictions. ”There are exceptional levels of historical past exams you could do,” he said, including that such an research can range from some hundred to three thousand bucks.

A essential detail of any constructing security plan is to have a plan in location in the occasion an emergency happens. Daniel J. Satoma, a Manhattan legal professional who specializes in emergency management, said that for the reason that safety of constructing citizens is ultimately the responsibility of the building owner — whether or not that proprietor is an person or a organization — it’s far vital for owners and co-op and condominium boards to ensure that there may be an emergency evacuation plan in location.

”Tenants should recognize exactly how they need to be exiting the constructing,” Mr. Satoma said. ”They should recognize wherein the emergency exits are positioned, they must realize that some of the building systems might not be running, and that they need to realize in which to go upon exiting the building.”

In addition, Mr. Satoma stated, a building’s management must determine whether there are any tenants within the constructing who will require assistance getting out after which make plans for offering such help.

”Communication among citizens and constructing control is vital,” he stated. ”Owners and forums who keep in mind that will have an opportunity to create a more secure and more at ease environment for the people of their homes.

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