1. Physical Presence
Signage and passive security measures only go so far when it comes to mitigating criminal activity on your property. Establishing a physical, boots-on-ground presence by enlisting a patrol service, sets the tone that there is actual intervention when a criminal element attempts to compromise the safety and security of your property. The example I've always used is the suburban neighborhood. It seems you can't enter any suburban neighborhood without seeing a "No Soliciting" sign. Our approach is that we don't want that message going in one ear and out the other. We want that rule or expectation enforced as a courtesy to residents, customers, tenants and employees as well as a crime prevention measure.
2. First Point of Contact Professionalism
In working with property managers, we've found that Security Officers are normally the first point of contact on your property. You would certainly not want that first point of contact to be someone loitering or harassing people. Over time that becomes the "face" of your property. Once a security guard or patrol service has established a physical presence on your property, that "face" will become one of professionalism, courtesy, and safety. With that being said, not all private security agencies have the same standards. When seeking out a security service, look for agencies that hire from military and law enforcement backgrounds. Also ask what additional certifications they require of their guards above and beyond the state licensing. First Aid Certifications seem like a no-brainer for someone charged with ensuring the safety and security of your property. However, some agencies continually higher lower quality officers so they can pay them less and maintain a higher margin. The bottom line is if you are considering enlisting the services of a Security Officer and Patrol agency, look for the ones that ensure those following levels of professionalism: Officer Quality, Elite Training and Customer Care.
3. Service Accountability
If you go ahead and make the decision that hiring a security guard or patrol service would greatly enhance the "face" of your apartment community, commercial center/plaza, or other property, then make sure the service provider is remaining accountable to you, the customer. Not all private security agencies ensure the same standards and accountability measures for their clients. If you put the word out to your residents, employees, tenants, or customers that we've taken on a patrol service, then you want to know that you are getting what you are paying for. Look for agencies that utilize security guard and patrol accountability systems. Some patrol services even offer reports that include a time, date and location stamp. This lets you know that whatever hours or patrol window you've agreed to is being upheld. Keep them accountable!