Owning a property that you cannot actively monitor or inhabit yourself comes with a high level of risk. From newly renovated communities to buildings with age to them are equally prone to a wide variety of illegal acts including drugs, gang activity, domestic violence, and destruction of property. These events can be overwhelming and sometimes seemingly impossible to fix when troubled tenants refuse to leave after eviction.
It may seem easy to determine if any criminal activity is happening on your property. But unfortunately, criminals are only getting smarter and violent. According to a survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in 2019, only 40.9% of violent crimes and 32.5% of household property crimes were reported to authorities. To supplement that statistic, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) identified the most common form of property crime in 2019 as larceny/theft, followed by burglary and motor vehicle theft. Among violent crimes, aggravated assault was the most common offense, followed by robbery, rape, and murder/non-negligent manslaughter.
In this article, we will explore how you can take control of your property after trouble has moved in.
Identify Your Security Concerns
Before you decide to take back your property, it is important to write down your list of concerns. Different property owners run into different kinds of trouble—and the trouble might not always be easy to identify. Taking good notes about the property and its changes can help you when you take the next steps.
Identifying your security concerns is all about taking note of what you can see. If you physically see someone living on your property, that is easy to identify, but it isn’t always that obvious. Looking for signs of damage, graffiti, or any foreign materials that would imply that someone else has been there can also be important. Signs of forced entry are always a good indicator that your property has been compromised.
Recognizing Drug Activity
Though the average person might think that they have a clear indicator of what drug activity will look like, you might be surprised. Drug markets can be hiding in plain sight, and a lot of the time they will just show up as signs of general human activity in disorganized ways.
In areas where drug markets are common, there is generally a system that will tell you what is going on. Some areas leave cars parked in certain ways or have subtle indicators on the cars to show that they have certain kinds of products. What looks like nothing to you can be a big red flag that there is drug activity in the area. Other indicators can be incapacitated individuals or strange smells.
Recognizing Gang Activity
The media often paints gangs like they are fairly disorganized and not looking to the future, but the truth is that the majority of big gangs are closer to true organizations. Gangs often have specific locations where they will operate, and they hand out rules and jobs that their members follow. Recognizing gangs as the organized threat that they are is important if you are going to identify them.
Gang activity can generally be seen on a large scale because it will influence the overall crime rates. Increases in drug-related crimes and violent crimes can be a good overall indication. However, there are other factors to consider, including the same groups of people lingering around outside on watch, people wearing specific colors, or people having matching tattoos. Visible weapons or people carrying large amounts of cash can also be an indicator.
Recognizing Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is not often thought of as a specific type of crime for a property owner, but it is highly dangerous and can cause very big problems. Domestic violence occurs between spouses, partners, and even families. Common indicators include audible yelling and screaming, children left unattended in the yard or individuals who seem afraid to make eye contact or speak when you approach. Physical signs of violence like bruising, cuts, and burns can also be a good indicator.
Issues That Decrease Quality of Life
Approaching criminals or persons engaging in criminal activity by themselves is a very dangerous choice to make. You can never truly predict what these individuals will do, and if you are not trained to protect yourself, you will put yourself at a high level of risk with this move. Even trained professionals face these same risks. There is no way to guarantee that these individuals will not openly attack you, and they might even be armed.
Residential communities are often faced with a myriad of external elements that plague the quality of life for their residents. Some are beyond the control of property management firms such as the combination of multiple households that sometimes have conflict. These households mixed into one community derive from diverse social and economic backgrounds, education, and family life. This makes the job that much more complex for management firms to balance a healthy and safe community. However, criminal activity can plague a community and may affect the ability to attract new tenants or to receive funding. This activity includes violent and assaultive behavior, property destruction, drugs, organized gangs, unauthorized persons (trespassers and squatters), and domestic violence. When a resident's quality of life is disrupted it can have a rippling effect on the entire community balance. Criminal activity can be curbed through various tactics.
Working with a security contractor is an excellent way to tackle this problem. These trained individuals specialize in removing trespassers from the property and maintaining a secure environment after that. Enlisting a security contractor is a great way to receive a fully customized approach to keeping your property safe.
While you can always call the police, the average police response time can be upwards of ten minutes; the crime has already been committed, the property has already been damaged, and the suspect is miles away from the scene and his identity may never be known. A security contractor can provide lasting results by going beyond observation and report, and proactively respond to these situations in seconds.
Developing A Plan For Your Concerns
After you have identified the concerns that you have for your property, it is time to make a plan. Remember that security work is dangerous, and sometimes handling problems like this can be dangerous as well. When you take matters into your own hands, you assume the risk that comes with it.
Before you jump into action, decide what the best approach will be. Is there a person that you actively need to remove from the property? If this is the case, it might be best to leave this kind of work to the professionals. However, several security measures can be taken to help with other concerns.
Sometimes when your property is compromised, it is because of exposure. For this reason, adding additional security measures can be a wonderful first step. Fences, gates, and other barriers can deter interested parties from entering your space—but that isn’t always the case.
If you are seeing any indication that crimes are being committed on your property or that people might be regularly trespassing to cause damage, adding cameras and security systems can also help. Even placing signs that alert violators to the presence of these items can work wonders when it comes to deterring unruly teens or vagrants that might be infringing on your space.
When you are dealing with a high volume of trespassers or individuals who are actively utilizing your property, it really can be beneficial to work with professionals. Sometimes the best plan is the plan that has been made by a company that specializes in handling these kinds of concerns.
A security contractor is a property owner’s best friend. These security experts can create a complete safety plan that will offer you peace of mind and bring a higher level of security to your property. Since these individuals will be responsible for maintaining your property’s overall security, it is important to establish a close relationship with them to keep communication lines open.
Every year, a handful of property owners decide to try to preserve their property by themselves. In some cases, this does work. In others, the resulting impact is detrimental to the overall value of the property. Though you may not think that you have the budget for a security contractor, the potential for loss is so high that refusing to work with one can cost quite a bit more down the line.
Security contractors are not only beneficial to those who have empty properties. They are also important for properties that are being rented or that have multiple tenants. When someone refuses to pay rent and doesn’t leave, the property owner loses money—and their property is at risk.
It is fairly common for those who are being evicted or refusing to leave to actively damage the property. There have been many instances where former tenants have committed violent acts against a property out of entitlement and rage even though they are refusing to pay.
When this occurs, the damages can be a hundred times what a property owner would have paid to have a security contractor handle it. There is no limit to the extent of damage that can be done, which is why it is so important to establish a strong relationship with a security contractor to keep your properties safe. It is an upfront cost that offers long-lasting benefits, and without these professionals, your property will always be at risk.