CCTV for Housing Associations
If you work for a housing association or other Registered Social Landlord (RSL), you will be fully aware of the increasing statutory obligations put upon your organisation to improve the cleanliness and safety of the neighbourhoods in which it provides social housing to its tenants. Working independently or as part of a Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership, the onus is very much on preventing anti-social and nuisance behaviour and, using the powers it has as an RSL, dealing with any instances quickly and appropriately.
One of the most effective ways to reduce anti-social behaviour, and to stop it quickly if it happens, is to install a high quality CCTV system. Modern CCTV systems can do remarkable things to help housing associations deal effectively with crime, though even the act of installing them can be a significant deterrent in itself.
Rather than simply being a camera used to monitor and record events, today’s CCTV uses leading edge technology that can automatically identify suspicious activity and send an immediate alarm to security teams or the police. If it spots something untoward it can zoom in to record close up facial details, count the numbers of people involved in an incident and track their movements by linking up with other cameras in the area. This can swiftly help you identify individuals of concern and find their whereabouts, so that, if security patrols or the police are needed they’ll know exactly where to locate them.
Being able to identify individuals increases the chances of apprehending them and the sharply focused, hi-definition images produced by modern CCTV will improve your ability to gain a prosecution or to help you evict unwanted tenants.
In order to prevent crime, it’s sometimes necessary to install covert surveillance cameras when there’s a particular need to do so. If there’s been a spate of thefts or vandalism, for example, and you wish to focus on a particular place, then specialised cameras can be set up quickly to monitor that place for you and these can be easily integrated into your CCTV system.
This, however, is not the limit of the new breed of CCTV technology. These systems will also alert you to a whole range of potential issues which can be dealt with swiftly, such as: large groups of youths, public disturbances, fires and unattended dogs. They also have the capacity to recognise number plates, so that issues with abandoned, stolen or badly parked or driven vehicles can be taken care of.
With regard to your obligations to keep the area clean and safe for your tenants, CCTV can be a very effective monitoring tool, helping you to quickly clean up: vandalism, graffiti, fly-tipping, litter and other hazards such as fallen trees. Using CCTV to monitor the environment can significantly reduce the need for maintenance patrols, thus helping to reduce costs.
CCTV is not just available for external surveillance, it can also be used to protect inside your premises in places such as communal corridors and entrances or in any local office you may operate. Here it can help make staff and residents less vulnerable and allow you to respond quickly to any criminal or anti-social incidents. This can be especially helpful to those in sheltered housing.
Take Control of Safety Indoors
Another security technology which can help housing associations make their occupiers’ environments safer is Access Control. Advanced Access Control systems using smart card or biometric entry devices can help protect those residents who live in communal buildings, such as: blocks of flats, sheltered housing or gated communities for housing the elderly. The hardware now available allows Access Control systems to be fitted to doors, barriers, turnstiles and gates, preventing unauthorised access not just to buildings, but to some external areas, like car parks, as well.
Access Control can prevent the entrance of any unauthorised individual on the premises and be programmed to give individuals restricted access once in the building, for example, preventing residents for accessing the caretaker’s office and equipment store. The sophisticated technology used in Access Control systems allows them to record the use of the smart cards or biometric devices, in this way they can easily provide essential information in the case of an emergency. If there was a fire in your block of flats, you could instantly know who was in the building at the time and, depending on how far you build your system, you can even locate them.
Access Control systems also allow you to reconfigure access in an emergency. If an intruder were on the premises doors could be automatically locked to prevent them having access to other parts of the building. If there was a need for evacuation, all doors could be opened to allow easy access to muster areas. This can be done at the flick of a switch.
One of the major advances in modern CCTV and Access Control technology is the ability to run multiple systems remotely. For large housing associations with clusters of homes scattered across a large city or region, this enables you to have real-time monitoring of all the areas for which you are responsible from a single control centre. This can make your security provision more effective and far more cost efficient. It’s even possible to outsource the management of your CCTV and Access Control to your security provider who can provide 24/7 monitoring on your behalf.
By combining CCTV and Access Control into one integrated system, housing associations can provide their tenants with an over-arching, robust security system that prevents crime, helps catch criminals, protects occupiers and helps make the management of estates, blocks of flats and other areas much more efficient. It will also reduce the costs of break-ins, vandalism and theft.
If you would like to know more about Access Control and CCTV systems for your housing association, please get in touch with us at 247 Secure and we’d be happy to discuss how we can help.