How your homeowners association, community, and home security are connected.
Living in a homeowners association (HOA) community, there is an expectation of an additional line of defense. This could be a gate or gatehouse, gated access, guards on patrol, fences – all great measures for deterring unwelcome crime. HOAs also usually provide security by keeping lighting and street lighting in proper working order, employing security cameras and monitoring, and establishing working relationships with local law enforcement agencies. HOAs general provide security systems in community areas.
Within your HOA neighborhood, you and your neighbors can contribute to your overall security too. Keeping your homeowners association neighborhood safe is a community effort:
Meet your neighbors. Get to know your neighbors. Since you live, work, and play in your neighborhood, everyone who lives there know best the usual coming and goings and whether anything is out of place or different. Plan block parties and fun neighborhood get-togethers to meet and get to know each other. By developing a sense of community, everyone is more likely to keep an eye out for each other.
HOA security tips. If your HOA publishes a newsletter for residents, put together some monthly safety tips that the HOA can include. Topics such as HOA security policies, municipal ordinances, and general or season home security tips will fill your space in no time. You can also print the sheet and post it in your HOA community room or common areas.
Have your HOA board connect with local law enforcement. Some law enforcement agencies assign community liaison officers as the neighborhood or area’s main point of contact. These are officers who will patrol the area regularly and get to know residents.
Invite the officers to speak at board and community meetings, or have friendly community meet-and-greets so that neighbors connect with them. When law enforcement and fire departments have community events, gather neighbors and volunteer at the event. By getting to know your first responders, your HOA and neighbors create community beyond your HOA.
Contribute to the HOA security policy. Meet with neighbors and discuss your security concerns, which could be anything from a security patrol service, to tree trimming on roads or in community areas and areas that need better or more lighting.
Work with your HOA to create an annual review of your current security processes and systems. Community residents sharing ideas about what security measures work and what can be improved provides valuable input to your HOA.
Employ a “see something, say something” community policy where neighbors can notify the HOA security team, management company or board members when they see something suspicious or out of place, regardless of how insignificant it might seem.
The HOA’s security responsibility generally is limited to common areas. This means your own home security is your responsibility. Here are a few quick suggestions that can be implemented fairly easily:
Consider keyless entry on your doors. You can find DIY and easy-to-follow instructions for changing your door locks. Depending on the system, keyless entry allows you to assign codes for specific people and delete those codes when later. You will also be able to track who comes and goes and when.
Common hiding places for extra keys are eliminated with keyless entry. However, avoid leaving extra keys under a welcome mat, flower pot ,or over your door as these are common places burglars look.
Install a locking pin on sliding glass door.
Set exterior and interior lighting on timers or through a smart home system. An important burglary deterrent is to make your home look lived in, even if you are not there.
Install motion detector lights in darker spots of your property, as well as over a garage or to illuminate a front lawn or the sides of your home.
Keep an inventory of your property. If your home is broken into, you’ll have a record of your valuables to report to law enforcement. Keeping photographs or videos of these items will further help identify them when they are recovered.
Don’t leave mail, deliveries or newspapers out. If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, ask them to bring in your mail when you go on vacation. And return the favor when your neighbors are on vacation.
For more information about how to make your home more secure, read our full article about Home Security.
Although an HOA’s primary responsibility is to protect the community and property value of the HOA, the organization generally does offer the benefit of a safer community and public spaces. Working with your neighbors and HOA will help the community keep the highest level of security possible.