Interest in gated community living is increasing among both renters and property buyers alike. New technologies are making secure access gates feasible in even the smallest communities that cannot justify the cost of hiring a 24-hour security team. Consequently, many new and existing communities are considering the possibility of installing a gate access solution. If your community is contemplating adding a gate, consider the five factors outlined in this article.
1. Gates Improve Security and Perceptions of Security
Gates have been proven to significantly reduce crime and undesirable activity. In most neighborhoods, criminals can drive right in to access any home at their leisure. Consequently, home robberies are increasingly common in an era when burglars can monitor residents on social media and just 12.9 percent of the minority of burglaries that are reported are ever solved. Burglaries are especially problematic in communities with high property values. Gates stop burglars in their tracks by denying them accessing to a community.
A 2013 study by Justice Quarterly found that gates reduce burglaries by 33 percent. However, the effectiveness of gates is likely to be much higher when truly secure gate access solutions are used. When the South Florida Sun Sentinel attempted to get into 83 gated communities in their area, they were able to get into 51 of them without having legitimate access. Criminals are experts at identifying insecure community gates, and they know all the tricks to get through gates that use legacy technologies. Consequently, it is likely that community gates secured with modern smartphone-based security solutions can reduce the risk of burglaries by over 50 percent.
When gates are installed, they also help to reduce the risk of other types of crimes. Trespassing, vandalism, harassment, and door-to-door solicitation can be significantly reduced with the presence of a gate. Other types of crimes can be deterred when both the general public and community members feel as though they are more likely to get caught in a gated community that clearly values security.
2. Residents Value Peace and Quiet
In some communities, members of the general public who live nearby often try to make use of the community’s facilities. For instance, high-end subdivisions often have problems with residents who live across the street jogging on their roads, fishing in their ponds, and even using their community center. Since these non-residents have not been vetted by the community and pay no HOA dues, their presence can outrage some residents. Additionally, these non-residents can significantly increase foot traffic in ways that reduce the sense of privacy that many residents expect.
Gates can completely eliminate problems with non-resident foot traffic by defining a clear point where private property begins. Nearly all non-residents who enter a community do not intend to criminally trespass, so gates are very effective at keeping non-residents out without the need for confrontation. Consequently, gates can significantly enhance the sense of peace and quiet within a community.
3. Impact on Property Values
Financial considerations are often not given adequate consideration when communities decide whether to use a gate. The reality is that gates can significantly impact property values. One study by the American Real Estate Society found that gates increase property values by an average of $30,000. As a result, many communities can get a significant return on investment by adding a gate.
Community gates also offer advantages for property investors. A review of research on gated communities found that renters are more likely to value having a gate. Additionally, homes in gated communities have a tendency to sell faster.
Of course, communities need to consider specific factors that are relevant in their situation when choosing their community gate. If residents insist on using an access solution that involves the use of security guards, the return on investment from adding a gate can be significantly reduced. Guards are especially burdensome for smaller communities that have to divide the cost of 24-hour security across a pool of fewer residents. As a result, communities should rely on automated solutions as much as possible to save money while getting prepared for a technology-driven future.
4. Some Residents Have Privacy Concerns
As with everything in life, there are tradeoffs that communities have to consider when contemplating the use of a gate. Some residents may have reasons for feeling uncomfortable about their access being monitored. As a result, it is important for communities to thoroughly investigate the privacy practices of the gate access providers they are using. Gate access solutions should always send and receive data using strong encryption, and system access should be limited to a minimal number of people to prevent a data breach.
When gate access solutions are demonstrably secure, most of the privacy concerns of residents can be managed. If a few residents continue to be concerned, the argument can always be made that the improved security that the gate provides will exceed potential privacy concerns. After all, people are tracked everywhere they go in today’s world, including at nearly every intersection and in nearly every store. Consequently, communities should not let minor privacy concerns get in the way of modernization, cost savings, and enhanced security.
5. More Control Over Community Aesthetics
Communities often struggle to stop unauthorized construction projects that can undermine the aesthetic integrity of a community and create unnecessary noise that bothers residents. Unauthorized construction projects also often lead to the unsightly accumulation of trash, building materials, and heavy equipment on a property. Unfortunately, most communities have little recourse to stop unauthorized construction projects except through lawsuits and other legal actions that few communities want to take against their own residents.
When communities have a gate to control access, they can immediately bring a halt to unauthorized construction projects by denying access to service vehicles. As a result, fewer residents will attempt to start an unauthorized project, and projects that move forward can be easily put on hold. Therefore, gates give community managers total control over construction projects that take place in their community, so projects can only move forward when they are beneficial to all residents and approved through the proper channels.