According to Murphy’s Law, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” And commercial properties are especially susceptible to this adage. Commercial properties host hundreds (or even thousands) of customers and employees each day and may often house machinery, merchandise and other equipment worth millions of dollars. That’s why property managers must be especially vigilant regarding the safety and security of the personnel and property they oversee.
Below are some tips to help improve the Safety and Security of commercial properties.
- Invest in good lighting. Sufficient interior and exterior lighting is important. Good outdoor lighting helps drivers see other cars and pedestrians. It deters theft and loitering. It illuminates steps, uneven sidewalks or other tripping hazards. And it contributes to the overall appearance of the property. Indoors, good lighting makes fall risks more visible. And remember, while some tenants may prefer low lighting to add to the ambiance of their property, safety should always be prioritized over aesthetics!
- Identify fall risks. Landlords should regularly perform safety audits to identify fall risks. Walk the property and look for things like loose steps, uneven flooring, slippery surfaces or obstructed walkways. Winter weather elevates the risks for any property. Icy sidewalks and snow-covered parking lots require property managers to be even more vigilant for fall risks and address them before someone gets hurt.
- Prepare for emergencies. Property managers should always hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Like any structure, your commercial property is susceptible to lightning, high winds, fire, terrorist attacks, flooding and more. It’s a sobering list. Each potential disaster requires a disaster response and restoration plan. But creating the plan is only half the job. Updating and practicing your response is the crucial component of any disaster mitigation plan.
- Install a quality alarm system. Step 1 for securing any property is installing a good alarm system with a reputable company that provides 24-hour surveillance.
- Limit entrances. If your property has multiple entrances, consider limiting tenants and their customers to using one, monitored entrance, and keep other exterior doors locked from the outside. (Per fire codes, they will need to remain unlocked from the inside.) It’s far easier to know who is in the building if there is just one entry point.
- Hire a security guard. When budgets allow, a security guard adds extra monitoring and also lends a sense of security for tenants and their clients.
Of course, while these security tips help commercial properties be more secure, there is no way to completely safeguard any property. WPM Commercial Property Manager Tiffany Smith cautions, “No Landlord or Condominium Association should assume liability for the security of an Owner’s suite or of the general common area. Even if the Landlord or Association agrees to hire a security guard, this is never a sure guarantee that everyone is safe. The best way to handle security of common areas is to ask Landlords, Tenants, Boards, and Owners to work together and report anything that seems suspicious to the police department.”
While Murphy’s Law is often true, the prudent property manager should follow these tips and answer Murphy with this: “Anything that can be planned for or prevented will be planned for or prevented!”