No matter how your gated community handles access control, the most challenging aspect of gate security is Tailgating. Tailgating refers to instances of an unauthorized vehicle following an authorized resident into a gated community while the gate is still open. Tailgating is common to nearly all gated communities, and often causes damage to the community’s main point of access.
There are several ways for a community to combat unauthorized access via tailgating. Hardware solutions include gate arms specially designed to provide access to a single vehicle before closing. These anti-tailgating gates are often called “Barrier Gates” or “Barrier Arms” and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Barrier Gates offer a relatively inexpensive way to prevent tailgating, but often cause issues with residents as the improvement in community security comes at the cost of convenience. Barrier Gates slow traffic considerably in large communities, and can cause long lines at rush hour in large communities. The gate arms can also be problematic if the arm comes in contact with a vehicle of a driver who is unaware that only a single car can proceed through the gate before it closes. A gated community must weigh the cost of improved security against the decrease in convenience and the risk of frequent gate damage and the associated maintenance and repair costs.
Some communities choose to allow tailgating, but take measures to ensure that every vehicle that enters the gate is recorded. Typically this is done by installing security cameras at the gate entrance. While this approach does not directly improve the gated community’s security, it does offer the ability to audit and review all unauthorized vehicle access. If criminal activity occurs in the community, the security team can access recordings of gate access and often provide data on suspects to law enforcement. The sight of cameras at the community entrance point acts as a deterrent to would-be criminals entering the gate.
Some new PropTech companies have developed integrated camera and access control systems. These products offer hardware and software that provides improved security and convenience for gated communities without buying expensive hardware like Barrier Gates.
One recently developed access control system with integrated gate access and camera recording is offered by Nimbio. The Nimbio platform allows residents to open their gate with their phone from anywhere, eliminating the need for access codes, clickers, or keyfobs. Whenever a community gate is opened, the gate cameras are activated and record all activity that occurs from gate open to gate close. These video recordings are archived in the cloud so that security officers can review all gate entries from all vehicles. Nimbio’s artificial intelligence tools offer license plate recognition and object detection, so security professionals can easily set up alerts or search for any unauthorized vehicles who entered by tailgating.
Many property managers say that tailgating is the chief concerns for residents in gated communities. Barrier Gates offer a hardware solution that improves security while making entry to the community more difficult for authorized and unauthorized vehicles alike. Newer solutions offer integrated access control and camera functionality, which does not prevent tailgating, but allows for greater convenience and better security auditing. Property managers and gated community residents must find the right balance between security and convenience when combating tailgating.