To begin with we have (Florida) what is considered gated. You use a remote to open the gate. The drawback is sometimes deliveries can not be made. What makes you think a gated community will stop break-ins. It may stop car theft but even then not worth it.The gate for walk-ins is broke at times and then you wait for someone to open the gate from the inside.
I do not live in a gated community; however, from what I've heard it's more trouble than it's worth.
1)Being gated does not mean totally no crime.
2)High maint. on the gates means higher operating expenses.
3)When you enter your community is there enough room for cars to stop to enter the gate w/o causing a safety issue on the main street.
4)your streets must now be private, meaning the assn. will be resp. for maintaining them which is very, very costly.
Just a few of the drawbacks, all of which should be thoroughly researched before making a decision.
Since you are looking for opinions, I believe that anything that makes it more difficult for a would-be robber to commit a crime will make him/her try an easier target, and forgo your community. However, there is no way to eliminate crime altogether and a professional that knows what he wants, will evade any system.
As a property manager, you must consider the following:
1) The initial expense of the project. Unless you are erecting a wall or fence around the entire property, you may be wasting your money by installing a gate at the main entrance. A proper gating system could be quite expensive,and would require the complete support of all the owners.
2) Most gated communities have personnel at the entrance to let in visitors and deliveries. Add the expense of the project, ongoing wages for +/-168 man-hours per week.
3) Systems need maintenance and repair. If it’s not working properly, it’s of no use, and will frustrate owners.
4) Even if you include maintenance in your budget, don’t forget to increase your reserves, as now you have another common element that will eventually need to be replaced.
5) Some municipalities have laws regarding gated communities as they may impede emergency vehicles. Check with your local police and building departments etc.
6) Consider your property manager. If the property is large and/or does not allow for the perimeter to be inspected by car etc., your property manager will periodically need to walk the entire fence to make sure it hasn’t been breached etc.. Even so, how often can this realistically be done? Is this the best use of his/her time? Would it be included in your management or employment contract? If not, add some additional expense here.
7) Would creating a gated community increase your liability? Consult your attorney and/or insurance agent.
In theory, a gated community is great, and I wish I lived in one. The expense however goes well beyond the initial project cost. Additional lighting may be appropriate. Although this is not free and does includes several of the above factors (maintenance, repair, cost of electric); it may be an easier project to sell to the owners.
Best of luck.
A Berlin Wall din't stop people from crossing the border, what makes you think that your fence will stop someone. I would argue that it would actually provide a false sense of security and lower owner's guard and awareness.
That's not to say that a making it a gated community is not a good idea. It will probably increase value of your property and make it more appealing for buyer
I live in a gated community next to a college in CA. The only reason for the gates was probably to keep college students out. They do still manage to follow other cars in and park to avoid parking costs at the college, but only a few do it. Our gates do not have personnel. The gates do come at a cost, as some stupid folk try to drive in the wrong way when they can't get in and will damage the gate, causing high costs for repair. Average cost probably between 2 to 5K per year for 2 gates. Our property was originally built as a gated community. I will say though that crime is not much of an issue here. I know a lot of my neighbors and none of them have ever complained about crime. Or maybe it's because there isn't much crime in our area? But cars do just follow in other cars that do have the opener/access. So I don't believe the gates keep out those that really want to get in. I will say though that the walking gates are also locked, requiring a key for access. That helps too.
Have you met with you local police force? Establish a relationship with them, it will make a difference. They will up patrol, make recommendations. It is worth a try.
Thank you all for input.
The majority of our issues have been thefts of cars and or car wheels. Little of much else, that we know of. We have talked with the Police and their suggestion is a neighborhood watch. Problem is, getting co-owners on board with that.
Streets are already private, per our Association guidelines of being a site-condo (COA), basically single family homes in an Association. Not sure on how it differs from a HOA.
From what is being said, two major drawbacks are costs (initial and upkeep) and deliveries.
Without starting a new thread in the blog..
What about security cameras? Do any of you have them set up? Advantages or dis-advantages??
For you Crime Watch be careful who does the watching. Check the murder of young man by the crime watch monitor in Sanford Florida. Being a community you might be libel.
If you are having a number of theft it sounds like a good ideal. The expense and upkeep is a big though.I like the ideal to met with local police. You can establish a watch committee.
Gates are usually both good and bad. If unmanned, there will be broken gate arms as some drivers will attempt to slip in behind other cars, or drivers will go too fast or slow. Once broken, there is effectively no gate. Cameras are fine but DVRs have limited storage & require maintenance, IP feeds, etc. Most cameras can also be easily disabled with a towel or piece of tape. Penalties for unauthorized entries are difficult to enforce, as not all drivers can be easily viewed with cameras, and people sometimes drive vehicles that are not their own, license plate photos are not always that helpful either, as they prove nothing with regard to who is in the vehicle.
We setteled on a system with a reader device on owner vehicles that was mounted on the windshield. When we used codes that needed to be entered at the gate, they became a joke & were readily available at the local high school, despite rules to the contrary in the CC&Rs.
I suggest you define what you are hoping to accomplish with the gates, then lower your expectations. There are definately trade offs. Emergency vehicles cannot be impeded. If the goal is not to have anyone who is not authorized in the community, legit vendors needing access to homes that may actually be unoccupied at the time of the visit, teen guests with multiple friends in the neighborhood and other scenarios create situations that are far from seamless. Cyclists and pedestrians create other scenarios that leave much to be desired from a security standpoint. That said, cameras and gates may discourage petty criminals and reduce area traffic to a great extent.
Wow, kinda surprised at the negativity from this post! We are gated and wouldn't have it any other way! Granted, we are just one 26-unit building and we have no streets involved, but it is well worth it to us. Our garage gate mechanism was replaced 5 years ago and we have had nearly zero maintenance costs on it (we have routine service once a year and that costs about $250). Our new front entry system (which was less than $2,000!) works with cell phones so you can grant access to a delivery person even if you are not on the property. And because we're gated, packages are safely left at your door. We are very strict about doors never being propped open and we have very little problems with that (likely because we're only 26 units and we're only one bldg). So while this would be more complicated for a larger complex, our residents and our property are very secure and, in our 22 years since the complex was built, we have had zero car thefts from our gated garage. And given that San Diego is the car theft capital of the world (because of the nearby border with Mexico), that's really remarkable! And, of course, the bonus benefit - not solicitors at your door! Good luck!
Bette Cessna, Sunset Views HOA, San Diego
Our area goes through cycles of roving theives. The PD usually can predict who the perps are by when they are released from jail (which is also in the vicinity). Our gates don't impede their progess and the homeowners have failed to participate in a community watch group. The board wanted to place cameras in strategic outdoor areas but found that to be costly and in demand of constant attention. We did, however, mount cameras in the common areas like the cabana, pool area and front gate entrance. Boy, did that cut down vandalism and idiots who like to use their cars to push open the gates. It was a dramatic change so I recommend cameras if you have nasty homeowners who like to "get even" by vandalizing common area assets. The cameras, high speed bumps, and vigilence have also cut way down on speeding cars (another ongoing problem). I feel for you. It is hard to sleep at night when you feel vulnerable to thieves.
Just wanted to say thanks for the great info on this subject! Our association is/was also considering installing gates because of crime problems and to keep people from the apartment complex accross the street (we share a common access road) from cutting thru our property). One thing we were advised not to do is put up fake cameras and/or put up a sign that we do have cameras when we don't. I have a feeling it might be just too expensive since we would need 4 gates including parking areas.
Betty- would you happen to know what your approx initial costs was for the gate?
I have always lived in gated communities since I moved out of the country and into/near a city. I highly recommend it! In my opinion it keeps out your basic rif raf. Keep in mind though if someone really wants to get in they will find a way. But at least it keeps your community private and when things are unusual you notice it more because of the presence that is set with the gate and fence.