SECURING YOUR HOUSING COMPLEXES AND SOCIETIES
Residential neighbourhood crimes come in many forms mainly burglary and theft, incivility on the streets, accosting and muggings, vandalism, robbery and violent crimes. Housing complexes and societies are the type of properties which not only provide living space for its occupants but also a place where possessions valuable to an individual are stored. These types of properties are susceptible to crimes because this is where the valuables of the owners are stored and the house, and these houses remain vacant for a long time within the day, week and months as residents go to work, to shop, for recreation as well as on holidays.
Deter, Detect, Discourage
The rise in neighbourhood crime increases the chances of insecurity and psychological fear setting in the minds of its residents. This would then slowly snowball into the increase in the maintenance budget of the residents as well as the security budget of the complexes and societies with the need to employ additional mechanical security features like locks as well as increase of guards to patrol their premises. Subsequently the neighbourhood itself may suffer from a negative image which will discourage housing investment. This will also strain the local government resources and expenditure due to deployment of more police personnel as well as patrol vans to deter the criminals from time to time. Therefore, the residents as well as their neighbourhood businesses should be able to achieve synergy to be able to Deter, Detect and Discourage any anti-social and criminal elements from taking advantage of their habits and routines of life and work.
Effective communication and social bonding
One might ask that, is there a substantial amount of investment required to secure one’s neighbourhood? I say effective communication and social bonding between the residents of the housing complexes and the business owners who are dependent upon them as customers becomes a solid foundation for starting off a smart Neighbourhood Watch with a fruitful investment of mutual cooperation.
Residents can start from within their premises through their complex and society committees. In their regular meetings they can finalise a group of outsiders who can be allowed entry into their premises and will be permanently verified against the people who are required for their daily needs. These may include:
- Grocery delivery assistants to include milk men, paper delivery men.
- Errand boys.
Once this listing is done, the key members of the complex or society can take inputs from other residents and shortlist the details of these people into their society documents which will also include the business address as well as some form of identification verification card for e.g. Aadhar card, driver’s license or authorised identification from the vendors which displays the following:
- Photo of the individual.
- Name of the individual.
- Work address of the store or company which he represents.
- Telephone numbers of the store or company whom he represents.
- His own mobile number.
- His own residential address.
The copy of these documents can be logged in the society’s books as well as the entry registers made available at the front gate which help the security guards verify as to the individual providing the service is genuine and has to go to a certain location within the society or complex for the described duty.
Thereafter the committee members can visit their neighbourhood shops and retail outlets and take the neighbourhood shop owners on board in the neighbourhood watch programme. The points to discuss with them can be:
- Identifying of individuals who specifically provide services to the particular housing complex or society, for e.g. delivery boys.
- Mutually agreeing to the rotation of delivery boys as well as advance information to be given when appointing a new person into the delivery chain for that particular complex.
- Establishing a system of redressal and steps for punitive action against a delivery person who has misbehaved or is suspected of mischief or has intentionally done any criminal wrongdoing against the persons and property of the society or complex.
- Having a mutual information sharing space within the society as well as the stores where information pamphlets, leaflets can be displayed which warn the owners as well as visitors of any crime which has recently occurred or is likely to escalate in the neighbourhood. For e.g. “Beware of Pickpockets on xxxxx road or beware of Rowdies in front of xxxxx building.” These pamphlets and information should also be shared with the local police station to keep them aware of these incidences which could become major crimes in the future.
Be hand-in-hand with local authorities
Mutually appointed representatives from the residential complexes as well as the commercial establishments should have a meeting with the local Police Station Head Officer and put forward mutually agreed points in form of a written communication about the likely threats envisaged by the residents and their neighbourhood business owners. This not only helps build a positive relationship with the law enforcement authorities but also helps them to map out the neighbourhood effectively in order to place resources to catch the criminal beforehand or in the act of committing a crime.
Mapping of security is a long-drawn process and proactive measures as listed above and require a good strategy and mutual cooperation to Deter, Detect and Respond to effectively reduce crime. Proactive inputs from responsible citizens helps the law enforcement agencies to steadily weed out criminal elements from the neighbourhood and ensure that the neighbourhood around the complex or society as well as the commercial businesses supporting them remain secure and safe from any criminal activity.
Housing societies and complexes may please contact FORTIFY www.fortifyindia.com to get one-on-one consultation about how to secure themselves against outside threats.
Security Consultant & Founder, FORTIFY – Lt. Col. Omar S. Pathare (retd)