In the area of premises security, more investment in security measures almost always improves the security of a community overall. Nevertheless, some commentators have attempted to make the attention-grabbing argument that gates offer little-to-no security benefits or make communities more vulnerable to criminals. This dangerous and baseless suggestion has facilitated criminal activity by deterring many communities from taking advantage of modern gate access technologies that stop burglars in their tracks, warn criminals to stay away, and keep all types of non-residents out. Therefore, it is important to thoroughly review the reasons why gated communities help to reduce crime, protect property, and keep residents safe.
1. Significantly Fewer Burglaries
A major study in 2013 proved that community gates reduce the frequency of burglaries by 33 percent. Gates reduce burglaries by making it difficult for robbers to drive into a neighborhood looking for vulnerable homes. Although burglars may still be able to get into a gated community in some cases, they can only do so by investing a substantial amount of time, incurring significant risk, and potentially attracting suspicion.
People looking to steal property would rather target homes with little-to-no security that they can easily monitor for several days from the street. In gated communities, burglars who successfully engineer a way of getting inside usually only have one chance to rob a home without drawing suspicion. When surveillance is made difficult, the most skilled burglars who are most capable of stealing substantial assets will usually stay away.
2. Denial of Entry to Non-Residents
Of course, when gates are secured properly, communities can keep out all non-residents. As a result, communities can make it effectively impossible for burglars and other criminals to enter. Gates can be easily secured by using a smartphone-based access solution that restricts access to specific people instead of relying on solutions that are relatively easy for criminals to get around, such as physical keys, four-digit pin pads, vehicle-based access mechanisms, or guards prone to human error.
Keeping out non-residents also helps to enhance privacy within a community. When only residents are able to get inside, there is naturally less foot traffic from neighboring communities that could lead to trouble in some cases. The ability of gates to keep non-residents out can be especially beneficial in high-traffic urban areas and areas with high levels of crime.
3. Appearance of Security
It is a well-established fact that security measures demonstrating an emphasis on security deter criminal activity. For instance, studies have shown that the visibility of security cameras can reduce crime by at least 50 percent. Similar reductions in criminal activity can be achieved when homeowners simply put up a sign for a major home security company.
Likewise, secure gates can act as a similar crime deterrent. Few criminals would choose to target a gated community when there are several non-gated communities right down the road. Likewise, when potential criminals are kept out of a neighborhood, they are unable to spot opportunities to commit crimes. Many skilled criminals drive around for hours or days searching for a soft target, and they cannot spot opportunities in a neighborhood when they are stopped at the gate.
4. Ability to “Block” Unwanted Guests
Communities that rely on four-digit pin pads and physical keys have no way of revoking anyone’s access without going through the infeasible task of changing the access keys for all residents. As a result, these legacy access control solutions offer limited security benefits. When thousands of people in a city have access to a gated community, motivated criminals only need to ask around to gain access.
When communities use modern access control technologies, they can revoke access for any non-resident with only a few taps. When any guest can be “blocked,” communities can easily revoke access for criminals or suspicious individuals. Likewise, access for delivery drivers and service providers can be revoked as soon as they leave, so the problem of everyone in the area having access can be completely avoided. The bottom line is that modern gate access solutions are much more effective at protecting communities than the conventional gates that many critics of gated communities base their conclusions on.
5. Clearly Defined Lines of Private Property
Most ungated residential roads are considered public property that even non-residents are free to use. In contrast, everyone knows that going past a gate without permission is considered criminal trespassing. Consequently, gates are effective at significantly reducing less severe criminal activity by clarifying that non-residents are not welcome and could face criminal charges if they choose to enter the premises. As a result, criminal and non-criminal incidents involving non-residents, such as trespassing, harassment, vandalism, and privacy violations, can be significantly reduced by putting up a gate.
6. Access for Law Enforcement
Some communities are wary of using gates because they worry that law enforcement and first responders will be slowed down in the event of an incident. It is true that legacy solutions, such as providing law enforcement with physical keys or access codes, can slow response times. However, the reality is that solutions that provide law enforcement with instant access to a community are widely available. Many communities use “click to enter” systems that enable law enforcement to come inside using a universal FOB key. Other gates that use license plate readers or smartphone-based technologies can reliably open automatically when first responders approach.
7. Monitoring Suspicious Activity
Modern smart gates provide a unique digital key to every resident and guest. As a result, access can be logged and monitored. Some solutions, like the Nimbio Gate Entry System, can work with an integrated camera system that enables property managers to immediately view a gate when suspicious activity is detected. Cameras can also be used to monitor a suspicious individual’s historical activity at points of access. As a result, incidents can be responded to faster, and unusual activity can be detected over time. In this way, smart gate access solutions can make communities safer by detecting and deterring crime.