Securing Residential Communities: Comprehensive Strategies for Stakeholders

Residential Community Crime Prevention

Securing Residential Communities: Comprehensive Strategies for Stakeholders

In every jurisdiction, communities across the United States are susceptible to individuals with malicious intent. It is crucial for stakeholders to remain vigilant in identifying criminal activities and the individuals involved. However, the impact of these criminal activities often affects the community more than the individuals perpetrating the crimes. Therefore, addressing criminal activity promptly upon discovery should be the top priority for housing operators as it provides the best defense against recurring incidents. Long-term criminal issues typically arise from a failure to identify crime and implement effective mitigation strategies when crimes occur within or near the community or property.

Challenges and Strategies

The management of drug use incidents, gun-related incidents, and other forms of violence has become increasingly challenging in multifamily community environments across the country. Housing owners and managers often struggle with allocating resources and finding the right expertise to handle these issues internally. Dealing with crime and violent incidents in residential communities requires deliberate and proactive action. Passivity will only embolden those involved in such incidents. Strategies must be carefully crafted and executed to gain even the slightest advantage in the fight against criminal activity. It is essential to take a holistic approach, ensuring that policies are enforced, the environment is designed and maintained to prevent crime, residents actively collaborate and communicate with the housing organization and local law enforcement.

Comprehensive Security Measures and Residential Communities

To meet the strategic needs of criminal event mitigation, housing organizations can consider various initiatives suggested by experts in communities of all sizes throughout the United States. Here are fifteen ideas to inspire preventive measures against criminal activities:

    1. Enforce current guest rules and resident lease terms.
    2. Review, strengthen, and enforce tenant leases pertaining to social responsibilities.
    3. Develop a written security program that serves as a roadmap for addressing the organization’s security activities and processes.
    4. Engage in open dialogue with local law enforcement and tap into the resources they can provide.
    5. Discourage unstructured medium/large social gatherings.
    6. Prohibit loitering and trespassing on the property.
    7. Educate residents and visitors about conduct expectations through written materials.
    8. Employ professional security enforcement personnel.
    9. Establish a communication channel for residents to report unsavory behaviors to management and law enforcement.
    10. Utilize social media and technology as tools to enhance security.
    11. Implement community crime prevention practices that have been vetted.
    12. Utilize in-house security expertise and advisors.
    13. Review HUD guidelines for safe housing.
    14. Explore available grant opportunities for assistance.
    15. Seek advice from legal counsel and prosecutorial experts to identify additional lawful options, if necessary.

Investing in Social Capital Strategies for Crime Reduction

In addition to comprehensive security measures, social capital investment strategies also play a vital role in crime control. Social capital investments are rooted in a network of relationships and norms that facilitate cooperation for mutual benefit. They contribute to crime reduction by impeding criminals’ activities, fostering a sense of community ownership, and supporting individuals at risk. Efforts to reduce crime must include a focus on establishing relationships between stakeholders and coordinating actions to address environmental and social factors that contribute to criminal behavior.

Here are some additional examples of how social capital can be utilized to reduce crime:

    • Neighborhood social events: Hosting food gathering events like BBQs and resident competitions for the best-kept and decorated home can foster a sense of community and strengthen relationships among residents. These events provide opportunities for neighbors to connect, build trust, and look out for one another, which can deter criminal activity.
    • Volunteer programs: Encouraging residents to participate in volunteer initiatives, such as community clean-up projects or mentoring programs, can promote social cohesion and create a stronger sense of ownership and pride in the community. When residents actively invest their time and effort in improving the neighborhood, it creates a less favorable environment for criminal behavior.
    • Community education workshops: Organizing workshops on topics such as crime prevention, personal safety, conflict resolution, and mediation can empower residents with knowledge and skills to protect themselves and effectively address issues within the community. By promoting education and awareness, residents become more proactive in maintaining a secure environment.
    • Youth mentorship programs: Establishing mentorship programs that pair responsible adult volunteers with at-risk youth provides positive role models and guidance for young individuals who may be vulnerable to engaging in criminal activities. By offering support and guidance, these programs help steer youth towards productive and law-abiding paths.
    • Community resource centers: Creating community resource centers where residents can access information, support services, and resources related to crime prevention, mental health, substance abuse, and social services can contribute to reducing crime. These centers serve as hubs for residents to seek help and guidance, fostering a safer and more supportive community.

Managing Criminal Activity in Apartment Communities

Managing criminal activity in apartment communities, particularly experiencing drug and gun violence, is a crucial aspect of maintaining a safe and secure living environment for residents. Property managers and landlords play a vital role in implementing effective strategies to prevent and address criminal activity. Here are some ways to manage criminal activity in apartment properties:

    1. Develop a Comprehensive Security Plan: Start by creating a comprehensive security plan tailored to the specific needs of the property. Assess potential vulnerabilities and identify areas where criminal activity is more likely to occur. Consider factors such as lighting, surveillance systems, access control, and alarm systems to enhance security measures.
    2. Install Surveillance Systems: Implementing a robust surveillance system with strategically placed cameras can act as a deterrent for criminal activities. High-quality cameras, both indoors and outdoors, can provide valuable evidence in case of incidents and help identify individuals involved in criminal behavior.
    3. Enhance Access Control: Limiting access to the property is crucial in managing criminal activity. Use key card or keyless entry systems to control who can enter the building and monitor visitor access. Secure all entrances and ensure that locks, gates, and fences are properly maintained to prevent unauthorized entry.
    4. Engage with Law Enforcement: Establish a positive working relationship with local law enforcement agencies. Regularly communicate with them about any concerns or incidents occurring within the property. Request their presence for community events and encourage them to conduct routine patrols around the area.
    5. Implement Background Checks and Tenant Screening: Conduct thorough background checks and tenant screenings to identify potential tenants with a history of criminal activity. This step can help prevent individuals with a propensity for criminal behavior from moving into the property.
    6. Encourage Community Involvement: Foster a sense of community within the property by organizing events and activities that encourage residents to interact with each other. A strong community can be an effective deterrent to criminal activity as neighbors are more likely to look out for each other and report suspicious behavior.
    7. Promptly Address Complaints and Concerns: Encourage residents to report any concerns or suspicious activities promptly. Implement a clear and confidential reporting system and ensure that residents are aware of how to use it. Take every complaint seriously and investigate reported incidents promptly.
    8. Implement a Zero-Tolerance Policy: Clearly communicate a zero-tolerance policy for criminal activity within the property to all residents. Enforce this policy consistently and take appropriate legal action against violators. By doing so, you send a strong message that criminal behavior will not be tolerated.
    9. Provide Security Awareness Training: Organize security awareness programs to educate residents about personal safety, recognizing signs of criminal activity, and the importance of reporting incidents promptly. Encourage residents to take necessary precautions, such as securing their units and reporting any suspicious behavior.
    10. Collaborate with Community Organizations: Engage with local community organizations and resources that specialize in crime prevention and community safety. These organizations can provide valuable insights, resources, and support to help manage criminal activity effectively.

Ongoing Training and Education

Another key component of comprehensive security strategies is providing ongoing training and education for property managers, staff, and residents. Continuous training ensures that all stakeholders are well-equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to implement security protocols, handle emergency situations, and contribute to crime prevention. Property managers and staff should receive regular training on security best practices, incident response procedures, and the effective use of security technology. Residents should be educated on personal safety measures, recognizing signs of criminal activity, and the importance of promptly reporting incidents to the appropriate authorities. By investing in ongoing training and education, stakeholders can create a proactive and knowledgeable community that actively contributes to maintaining a secure living environment.


Managing criminal activity in housing communities requires a comprehensive approach that includes robust security measures, collaboration with community stakeholders, and ongoing training and education. By implementing a combination of preventive measures, leveraging collective efforts and resources, and fostering community engagement, stakeholders can create a safer and more secure living environment for residents. The examples provided in this article, demonstrate the power of social capital in reducing crime and strengthening community bonds.

It is important to recognize that crime prevention is an ongoing effort that requires continuous evaluation, adaptation, and improvement. Stakeholders must remain proactive in staying informed about emerging security threats, technology advancements, and best practices in crime prevention. By staying abreast of new developments, stakeholders can implement innovative strategies and respond effectively to evolving challenges.

Furthermore, fostering open communication and collaboration between stakeholders, including residents, property managers, security professionals, law enforcement agencies, and community organizations, creates a network of support and resources that can be harnessed to address security concerns effectively. By working together, sharing information, and coordinating efforts, stakeholders can develop a united front against criminal activities and foster a sense of collective responsibility for maintaining a safe and secure living environment.

In conclusion, enhancing security strategies for stakeholders in residential communities requires a multifaceted approach that combines comprehensive security measures, community collaboration, and ongoing training and education. By embracing these strategies and investing in social capital, stakeholders can create thriving communities where residents feel safe, connected, and empowered. Ultimately, the collective efforts and commitment of stakeholders pave the way for a more secure and harmonious living environment for all concerned as they set the standard of acceptable behavior for their community.


Enhancing Workplace Safety: The Importance of Utilizing Outside Experienced Experts and The WAVR-21 Assessment

Enhancing Workplace Safety: The Importance of Utilizing Outside Experienced Experts and The WAVR-21 Assessment

Workplace violence is a serious and increasingly prevalent issue, requiring meticulous and impartial assessment for effective mitigation and prevention. It is vital that organizations leverage the expertise of external specialists in workplace violence assessment to navigate this complex and sensitive landscape. These professionals bring a unique blend of neutrality, proficiency, and experience that ensures a comprehensive and accurate evaluation of workplace violence risks.

External experts, unburdened by ties to the company or its employees, offer an unbiased evaluation of workplace violence risks, navigating the situation without being influenced by internal politics or personal relationships. Their impartiality is vital for an unfiltered assessment, identifying potentially hidden or understated risks, thus ensuring an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the situation.

Their specialized knowledge and experience further bolster the effectiveness of their assessments. Equipped with the latest research, industry best practices, and legal requirements associated with workplace violence, these experts can identify early warning signs and devise strategies to counter potential threats. Their in-depth understanding and practical expertise make them invaluable assets in providing sound advice that can significantly mitigate workplace violence risks.

One of the key tools these experts leverage is the Workplace Assessment of Violence Risk (WAVR-21), an empirically based structured professional judgement instrument (SPJ) designed to evaluate the risk of violence within a workplace environment. Developed by leading experts in threat assessment, the WAVR-21 is a comprehensive approach to workplace violence, incorporating 21 dynamic and static factors relevant to this issue.

The WAVR-21’s methodical approach ensures a balanced and accurate evaluation by encouraging the consideration of multiple information sources. It aids in identifying the context and nature of the threat, as well as the personality and situational factors influencing an individual’s behaviors. Crucially, the tool guides the development of effective management and intervention strategies.

The importance of having an outside expert who is properly trained in use of the WAVR-21 instrument cannot be overstated. These professionals have undergone specific training to conduct assessments accurately and effectively. They possess a deep understanding of different risk factors, ensuring an accurate and nuanced assessment. Additionally, they can incorporate the tool into a broader assessment strategy, considering other relevant factors such as organizational culture, policy, and procedures.

WAVR-21 qualified professionals are trained to interpret the results of the assessment in a meaningful way, considering the specific context and dynamics of the workplace. They can provide detailed recommendations for risk reduction measures, intervention strategies, and ongoing management practices, thus ensuring a thorough, informed assessment tailored to the unique circumstances of each workplace.

Another crucial benefit of engaging an outside expert is their ability to maintain confidentiality and trust, often creating a secure environment for employees to express their experiences and concerns. Given the complexities of legal and compliance issues associated with workplace violence, outside experts adept at navigating these regulations and standards can ensure a comprehensive, legally sound assessment, helping organizations avoid potential liabilities.

Upon completion of the assessment, the outside expert can provide expert guidance in developing preventive measures and response protocols. Their recommendations, grounded in industry best practices and tailored to the organization’s specific needs and challenges, strategically equip the organization to prepare for and mitigate potential threats effectively.

In conclusion, engaging a WAVR-21 certified outside expert for workplace violence assessment isn’t just a prudent decision—it’s a vital strategic move that ensures the long-term safety and success of an organization. By combining their expertise with the structured approach of the WAVR-21, these experts ensure a comprehensive evaluation of potential risks and a robust strategy to mitigate workplace violence. The result is a safer, more secure work environment that promotes productivity and employee well-being.

Finding an expert

Finding an expert, specifically a WAVR-21 qualified professional for workplace violence assessment, involves a few steps:

    1. Professional Associations and Organizations: Professional associations related to workplace violence prevention and threat assessment are excellent resources. They also provide resources and information that can be helpful in your search.
    1. Referrals: Talk to peers in your industry or a trusted legal advisor who may have used such services before. They can provide a firsthand account of their experiences and recommend experts they’ve found reliable and competent.
    1. Online Search: A simple online search can also help you identify potential experts. Look for professionals who specialize in workplace violence assessment and are WAVR-21 certified. Ensure to verify their credentials and look for reviews or testimonials.
    1. Training Providers: Institutions that provide WAVR-21 training may also offer consultation services or be able to recommend certified professionals. The creators of WAVR-21, for instance, offer training and consultation services.
    1. Consulting Firms: There are many consulting firms specializing in workplace violence prevention and threat assessment that employ WAVR-21 certified professionals. Look for firms that have a solid reputation and extensive experience.

Once you have identified potential experts, consider the following:

Experience: Check the expert’s experience in workplace violence assessment. How many assessments have they conducted? What types of organizations have they worked with? Do they have experience in your specific industry?

Qualifications: Ensure that they are appropriately trained in use of the WAVR-21 instrument and check for any other relevant qualifications or certifications.

Approach: Talk to them about their approach to violence risk assessment. Does it seem comprehensive and systematic? Does it align with your organization’s needs and culture?

References: Ask for references from previous clients. Reach out to these references to learn about their experiences with the expert.

Remember that the process of finding an expert might take some time, but it is an investment that could potentially save lives, prevent harm, and protect your organization in the long run.


CPTED: A Crucial Piece, But Not the Sole Solution, in Building Safe Communities

CPTED: A Crucial Piece, But Not the Sole Solution, in Building Safe Communities

Florida House Bill 837 (HB 837) aims to enhance the safety and reduce liability risks associated with apartment and multifamily housing. Although a great step in the right direction, a multifaceted approach to effectively combat criminal activity, taking into account various strategies beyond Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is required.

While CPTED leverages urban and architectural design, along with environmental management, to minimize crime and enhance the overall quality of life, it is crucial to understand that it is not an independent solution. Instead, it serves as a supplementary approach that collaborates with other security measures, including law enforcement, security personnel, and most significantly, the active involvement of the community. To effectively safeguard their own communities, it necessitates the establishment of social networks that engage residents.

When combined with other security measures, CPTED can significantly contribute to creating a secure environment that discourages criminal behavior. Several CPTED concepts can be employed to effectively reduce crime:

    1. Territoriality: Fostering a sense of ownership and control over space through physical barriers like fences, walls, and natural elements such as trees and shrubs.
    2. Natural surveillance: Designing spaces to facilitate clear visibility, including the use of windows, doors, and adequate lighting to deter criminal activity.
    3. Access control: Regulating access to spaces through security gates, identification requirements, and other access control methods.
    4. Maintenance: Ensuring spaces are well-maintained and clean, which not only deters criminals but also encourages community members to observe and report suspicious activities.

CPTED principles can be implemented in various settings, including residential, commercial, and institutional areas:

    • Residential areas: Enhancing neighborhood safety by employing strategies such as installing security lighting, improving visibility by trimming trees and shrubs, and establishing neighborhood watch programs.
    • Commercial areas: Promoting business security and customer safety through measures like installing security cameras, improving lighting conditions, and implementing clear access control protocols.
    • Institutional areas: Enhancing safety in schools, hospitals, and other institutions by utilizing strategies such as deploying security guards, enhancing lighting, and implementing access control measures.

CPTED offers several advantages for communities aiming to reduce crime and improve safety:

    1. Reduced crime: By making it more challenging for criminals to operate, CPTED measures decrease the likelihood of criminal activities. For instance, well-placed security lighting can deter crimes in poorly lit areas.
    2. Improved quality of life: CPTED fosters a sense of safety, resulting in increased property values, economic activity, and reduced fear of crime among residents, contributing to an improved overall quality of life.
    3. Increased community involvement: By encouraging ownership and control over the environment, CPTED promotes community engagement. This heightened sense of belonging leads to increased civic participation and a more vibrant community.

To delve deeper into CPTED, one can explore various online and library resources. Additionally, reaching out to local police departments or security companies can provide further information on this topic.

Social capital plays a significant role in reducing crime and fostering community well-being. It encompasses the networks of relationships and norms that enable cooperation for mutual benefit, particularly in communities with strong social ties and trust among residents. Social capital offers several advantages in crime reduction:

    1. Crime prevention: Strong social ties make it difficult for criminals to operate within a community. When individuals know and trust one another, they are more inclined to report suspicious activities and intervene to prevent crime.
    2. Sense of community ownership: Social capital fosters a sense of ownership and pride in the community, motivating residents to actively care for their surroundings and remain vigilant against criminal activities.
    3. Support for at-risk individuals: Social networks provide resources and support to individuals who may be susceptible to engaging in criminal behavior. Job opportunities, childcare, and other assistance from these networks help individuals stay on a positive path.

Collectively, residents, law enforcement and public agencies, businesses, and property managers, all interact to shape a community. Crime reduction efforts must include a focus on building relationships between these stakeholders and coordinating action toward the common purpose of reducing environmental and social conditions that contribute to crime.


Florida House Bill 837 (HB 837) and Apartment and Multifamily Properties: Walk, Don’t Run

HB 837 Multifamily Properties

Florida House Bill 837 (HB 837) and Apartment and Multifamily Properties: Walk, Don’t Run

Florida House Bill 837 (HB 837) aims to reduce liability risks for apartment and multifamily housing property owners who implement specific crime prevention measures based on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles and have a documented CPTED assessment. To comply with Florida House Bill 837 and reduce your security and crime-related liability risks, ensure your properties meet the following physical property requirements:

    • Install security camera systems at points of entry and exit, with footage maintained for at least 30 days.
    •  Ensure the parking lot is well-lit with an average intensity of at least 1.8 foot-candles per square foot at 18 inches above the surface, from dusk until dawn or controlled by photocell or similar technology.
    • Provide adequate lighting in walkways, laundry rooms, common areas, and porches, with illumination from dusk until dawn or controlled by photocell or similar technology.
    • Install at least a 1-inch deadbolt in each dwelling unit door.
    • Provide locking devices on all windows, exterior sliding doors, and any other doors not used for community purposes.
    • Install locked gates with key or fob access along pool fence areas.
    • Place a peephole or door viewer on each dwelling unit door without a window or without a window next to the door.

In addition to these physical measures, property owners must comply with the following procedural requirements:

    • Obtain a CPTED assessment completed and documented by a law enforcement agency or a Florida Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Practitioner (FCP) no more than three years old. F.S. 768.0706(2)(b) further requires that property owners remain in mostly in “substantial compliance” with the assessment.
    • Provide proper crime deterrence and safety training to current employees by January 1, 2025. After this date, offer such training to all employees within 60 days of hiring.

Implementing these measures allows you to take advantage of the presumption against liability outlined in F.S. 768.0706(2) and reduce the risk of being held responsible for criminal acts committed by third parties on your property. Always stay informed about any updates or amendments to the bill, and consider consulting a legal professional from CIS to ensure full compliance.

It is highly recommended to conduct a preliminary assessment before the actual CPTED survey. This assessment helps property managers and owners determine the extent of work needed to achieve compliance and establish whether it is realistically possible to become compliant. Beyond the itemized conditions specified in HB 837, Florida Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design assessments encompass a much broader range of issues (e.g., landscaping design and maintenance, illumination in areas other than parking lots, etc.) and property owners will be expected to be in compliance with far more conditions than suggested by the list in F.S. 768.0706(2). Engaging in a documented CPTED assessment without knowing the costs and implications of compliance could lead to increased liabilities and vulnerability to plaintiff attorney complaints if the property fails to meet the required standards.

To minimize potential liability risks, consider the following steps before engaging in a full CPTED assessment:

    1. Perform a preliminary assessment with a qualified security professional: Review the requirements of HB 837 and evaluate your property’s current security measures against the criteria specified in F.S. 768.0706(2) and common CPTED standards. This will help identify areas that need improvement.
    2. Consult with a professional: Seek advice from a property management consultant, security expert, or legal professional to discuss your preliminary findings and understand the potential consequences of non-compliance.
    3. Develop a plan: Based on the self-assessment and expert advice, create a plan outlining the steps, resources, and timeline needed to bring your property into compliance.
    4. Communicate with stakeholders: Inform your team, residents, and other relevant parties about the planned improvements and their potential impact on property operations and safety.
    5. Monitor progress: Regularly review the implementation of the plan to ensure that improvements are made according to the established timeline, and adjust the plan as needed.

By taking these steps, you can minimize potential liability risks and be better prepared for a formal CPTED assessment. Keep in mind that achieving compliance is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and improvement. Stay informed about any updates or amendments to HB 837 and collaborate with experts and local authorities to maintain a safe and secure environment for your residents.