THERE IS NO "ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL" SECURITY strategy for multifamily properties, says Jon C. Paul, president of Special Service Security, a Milwaukee- based firm that helps organizations identify their security threats. Rather, “courts across the country have consistently determined that security measures must be individualized to a particular place based on that specific place’s security needs,” says Paul, a 30-year private security veteran and expert.

Paul says “premises security liability” is the general term covering the legal concept of providing adequate and sufficient security at any given place as well as the basic concept—usually along with negligence—under which lawsuits are brought against places that fail to provide adequate and sufficient security. “Adequacy of security” has been consistently defined to mean that owners have an obligation to provide adequate and appropriate protection; in other words, obvious safety measures such as surveillance cameras, security guards, and gated access.

Based on studies, assault and battery and rape/sexual assault are the two crimes most likely to result in lawsuits involving premises security liability issues, Paul points out. Unfortunately, multifamily owners most often find themselves as defendants in such cases. Paul recommends that multifamily owners and managers conduct a formal process, usually while working with a security expert, to determine reasonably foreseeable threats and risks at their properties, and then implement appropriate security measures to counteract those threats and risks. “If this process is consciously applied, the result will usually be a security strategy that not only adequately protects the premises, but also is legally defensible,” Paul says.

As the products here show, various tools are available to help multifamily owners achieve such a strategy and protect their properties.


Suspicious Minds: NICE Systems’ Situator monitors surveillance feeds automatically, flags suspicious activity, and notifies security staff in real time so the staff can react. The system can integrate data from different sources, such as police scanners and cell phones, so that the user can determine whether potential threats need to be flagged. For more information, call NICE Systems at 866-999-NICE or visit

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Clever Cards: Limit admittance to designated areas using Home Automation Inc.’s (HAI’s) Access Control products, which include a proximity card reader and accessories that connect to an HAI home control system. By swiping a card or key tag, users can disarm the alarm, release the door lock, light a pathway into the unit, and change the temperature. For more information, call HAI at 504-736-9810 or visit

Clear Images: The LTC 0465 Series Dinion Day/Night camera from Bosch Security Systems is a cost-effective solution for premises that require 24-hour surveillance. The camera incorporates 10-bit digital-signal processing and provides 540 TVL resolution for crisp, clear images and is ready to use right out of the box. For more information, call Bosch at 800-289-0096 or visit

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Locked and Loaded: Schlage Lock Co. introduces three interconnected locksets—one electronic (FE210F) and two mechanical (RS210F and CS210F)—engineered to deliver the latest in security innovation to both facilities managers and residents. With features that include single-motion egress and return-to-door lever design, the products are meant to make it easier for building owners and managers to be code-compliant. For more information, call Schlage at 877-671-7011 or visit

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Camera Ready: Vivint’s video surveillance cameras detect and record movement outside or inside the home. Multifamily owners and managers can remotely access the recorded clips via a smart phone or computer and view live video feeds from the cameras at any time. For more information, call Vivint at 888-567-2527 or visit

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Key Control: calls its KeyLink Key Control System the first Internet-enabled touchscreen system for maintaining security and audit trails for apartment keys. The system features locking metal key drawers accessible only to authorized employees via a fingerprint scan, a key fob with a PIN, or a BuildingLink login. For more information, call BuildingLink at 877-501-7117 or visit