What Can Property Managers Do To Prevent Terrorism?

After 9/11, all of America became significantly more vigilant overnight. Border and airport security increased, and we saw law enforcement get a lot more power in the name of preventing terrorism. The unexpected consequence of this is the decentralization of terror cells and the possibility of more “lone wolves”.

These solo operators are more random in their attacks, and this creates a possibility of anywhere being a potential target for terrorists. There are also “home-grown” threats like we saw in the recent tragic shootings in Las Vegas and just this week in Texas.

Because of this, property managers should find ways to up their security and be more vigilant in case of a threat manifesting in their building. Vigilance is about preparing for the worst and putting systems in place that make it much harder for someone to gain access to the property for nefarious purposes. The result is a much safer tenant-base even if it feels like a lot of work right now.

Whether residential or commercial, there is always the possibility that a property become a target for attack. Knowing this, there are several things that can be done to minimize these chances.

Surveillance Cameras: If your building doesn’t already have these, you should definitely get them. Cameras make your building feel much more secure, and will often dissuade anyone from coming too close. The feeling that someone is watching them and their plans could be foiled right away is usually enough to scare someone off.

Invest in Better Security: Related to the previous point, you should examine your budget and see if there is any many available for rerouting towards the cause of tighter security. The intercom system, surveillance system, communications system, and much more are all helpful in the case of an emergency. Other measures, such as having Bollards (cylindrical roadblocks) or keycard only access, will make it much harder for an unwanted guest to enter your building.

Stress Test: Pretend you are a potential terrorist or intruder and think about how you would try and circumvent current security measures to get into your building. This is called “red teaming” as you test for problems with your security and look for security holes that would be easy to get through.

Review Security Procedures: How does someone get into your building? Is it policy to let strangers in? Examine your protocols and see if it would be easy to socially manipulate one’s way inside your building. If this is true, then you should change the processes and incentives so no one will let random people into your building without accepting responsibility for them.

Increase the Power of the Individual: Tell your tenants to let you know of any concerns and make it clear you are going to listen. Now you can almost outsource your entire security force to be your current tenants. Having hundreds of people looking out for any potential danger greatly increases the detection capabilities you will have, and very little will go unnoticed.

Keep Your Tenants Safe: Fire drills, as tedious as they are, happen for a reason. Run a few of them and make sure they are as efficient as can be hoped, because it might save someone’s life someday. Tweaking procedures like this is a high return activity and helps prepare for the worst.

Assess Your Building for Risks: Each building is different, and these differences are what make them vulnerable. If you have had previous issues with HVAC systems or there is structural damage to part of the building, then this is something you should plan around protecting. Additionally, make sure the City officials in charge of your area know to never give out information or plans pertaining to your property.

Look at Your Insurance Policy: As ruthless as this may sound, you need to know that if anything goes wrong, your tenants are going to be covered by your insurance. Double-check that there is no terrorism exclusion in your policy.

All of this might sound a little overboard, but it is all with the purpose of creating a safer environment. It is better to over prepare than to leave a vulnerability that costs innocent lives.

Get Professional Assistance: GSI offers property managers free security site assessments. A security site assessment is a formal examination of your facilities overall security program that takes an in-depth look at all aspects of your security program to identify any weaknesses and find opportunities to reduce costs and make security operations more efficient.

Suggestions are provided for implementing the latest security measures and making other improvements. By taking the above precautions, you can keep your tenants safe and do your own part to make the world a better place.

The other thing to remember is terrorism is the worst thing that can happen, but when you protect against it, you are protecting against all of the less drastic happenings as well. Break-ins, thefts, vandalism, and disturbances of the peace all become much less likely because of these measures. There is no downside to making the changes, and huge potential upside.