Surveillance Technology at Multifamily Properties for More Than Crime Detection

New York--The use of video and other surveillance technologies at multifamily properties has been growing, especially in the years since the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. But according to one expert in the field, multifamily landlords tend to become interested only after an incident on their properties.

Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

New York–The use of video and other surveillance technologies at multifamily properties has been growing, especially in the years since the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. But according to one expert in the field, multifamily landlords tend to become interested only after an incident on their properties.

“We’ve found that few landlords are proactive,” Matthew De Gennaro, vice president of Staten Island, NY-based Video Surveillance Corp. (VSC), tells MHN. “But then something happens on their property—it isn’t necessarily a crime—and they realize that better surveillance for their common areas might have helped them, and they come to a company like ours.”

For example, it might be a situation in which neighbors are mis-depositing trash in a place that will result in a citation for the apartment building. A camera in the right position could pinpoint such a problem, De Gennaro notes. Or cameras with digital recording capacity might be able to confirm whether or not a vendor did what they said they were going to do at the property, and at the time they said they were going to be there.

“Besides helping assure the safety of tenants, surveillance can be a property management tool for apartment and condo buildings,” asserts De Gennaro. But he adds that even the more standard function of such systems—crime detection and prevention—is more sophisticated than it used to be. Video verification, for instance, can provide authorities with validation that an alarm has been triggered due to criminal activity, making false alarms much less likely and thus encouraging the likelihood of a police response.

De Gennaro also points out that multifamily managers used to shrug off the notion of surveillance in certain areas of the property, but that too is changing. “Boiler rooms and loading docks, just to name two areas, are being increasingly seen as vulnerable and in need of some kind of surveillance,” he says. “Of course, each property is different, and assessments of surveillance needs are going to come out differently. One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to apartment and condo buildings.”

Since launching in 1978, VSC has designed, installed and maintained video-monitoring and security systems for various residential and commercial properties, including apartments but also private residences, hospitals, hotels, package-delivery services and manufacturing facilities.

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