Crime is a big problem in our society, and unfortunately strata communities are not immune from it.
Blogger: Stephen Raff, CEO, Ace Body Corporate Management
Often cited as one of the big advantages of community living is the thought that because multiple people have a vested interest in a property there will naturally be a reduction in crime.
This is only partially true, as crime can appear in a variety of ways and strata communities by design may lead to multiple people being affected at the exact same moment. Vandalism or damage to common property may determine that the whole strata community is liable to the costs associated with the damage even if a lot owner’s individual property was not actually involved.
Vandalism to common property resulting in broken glass, graffiti or damage to a property’s structure will normally be covered by your strata insurance policy; however, this can often lead to lengthy wait periods and reduce the overall appeal of your property in the meantime. The best policy is to prevent crime from occurring at your strata community in the first place.
During my time in the strata industry, I have seen numerous examples of quality and effective security measures that have added financial value to owners' property as well as peace of mind knowing that they live in a secure environment. In contrast, I have also seen properties with no security features at all and others with expensive security systems that have been poorly installed and bring no actual safety benefits to the strata community.
There is an upcoming book by Andrea Barratta titled ‘Making Buildings Safer: A 5-step strategy to reduce crime in our community’, that provides a clear and structured blueprint for strata communities, strata managers and developers dealing with security concerns. Mr Barratta suggests having an adaptive rather than reactive security design and notes that the security technology must match the needs of the actual strata community.
Reading through this book gave me a number of proactive ideas that strata communities should consider to make their community safer, as ultimately even the most advanced and modern security system can have weaknesses.
Crime creates a climate of fear and mistrust in your strata community, many people begin to withdraw into their homes and lose contact with their neighbours. As people become a recluse in their own homes, crime will naturally increase as residents stop being visible to outsiders and relinquish any sense of community that they once enjoyed.
What should I do?