History has shown that crime spikes during tough economic times, and, as a result, residents feel less safe today than they did before the economy tanked, according to a recent Apartments.com survey of 750 residents. Why? Unemployment naturally gives rise to desperation, which can lead to drugs, alcohol, and crime. Additionally, today’s unprecedented foreclosure rates have created a large number of vacant and abandoned homes that are attracting criminal activity. Moreover, state and local governments are suffering from budget shortages and forced to cut back on essential services such as police patrols.

“With the bad economy and budget cuts from the government, crime is increasing in all types of communities,” says Evan Tree, a security expert for Logitech, a technology company based in Switzerland. “People are on edge, and that’s driving them to take a closer look at their surroundings and to focus on security.”

According to the Apartments.com survey, renters say they are willing to pay more in rent for in-unit security alarm systems; 24/7 building security patrol guards and doormen; security cameras; mandatory resident background screening; and cylinder deadbolt locks on windows and doors.

Security companies are increasingly going high-tech to provide both owners and residents with products to deter criminal activity. Logitech, for example, recently entered the security market with its Digital Video Security (DVS), which allows users to monitor multifamily properties and individual units through any PC without running cables or wires.

“The best security is multi-layered—like an onion,” Tree says. “Multifamily owners and residents have to work together to achieve the safest environment.”

Remote Control: With Baldwin Hardware’s keyless access control product, keyless electronic locks can communicate wirelessly with other devices in the home by remote access, mobile phone, touch panel, or secure Internet connection. The access product, which features Home Connect technology, is available in two styles and offers a motorized deadbolt that replaces existing deadbolts. For more information, call Baldwin Hardware at 866-863-6584 or visit www.baldwinhardware.com. 

Smart Cylinders: Looking for an alternative to master keying? Kwikset’s Key Control Deadbolt featuring SmartKey re-key technology differs from traditional pin-and-tumbler master key deadbolts because it contains one concealed, patented cylinder to be used by the property manager and a second cylinder to be used by the resident. The cylinder is concealed from view and features a patented keyway that ensures no other key in the market will fit inside. For more information, call Kwikset at 800-327-5625 or visit www.kwikset.com.

Convenient Cameras: Logitech’s indoor video security system, Digital Video Security (DVS), is a PC-based way to monitor multifamily properties and individual units. By loading the software and plugging in the cameras, the PC instantly becomes a security center with live monitoring, hard-drive recording, remote viewing, and cell phone alerts. The camera, which can be mounted on windows, desktop stands, or walls, features high-quality, color video along with digital motion detection. For more information, call Logitech at 800-231-7717 or visit www.logitech.com.

Fabulous Fob: PlasmaTech’s 2400CL fits most existing doors and provides residents with secured access to their building or unit without keys. With the simple touch of a wireless key fob, the 2400CL automatically unlocks a motorized door hardware allowing access. The 2400CL kit comes complete with all hardware required, including a class one door lock, three key fobs, and easy-to-follow instructions. The 2400CL can accommodate up to 10 fobs. For more information, call PlasmaTech at 702-851-1330 or visit www.plasmatechwireless.com.

Military Precision: Based on technology developed by the Israeli military, SafeRise is a second-generation biometric security solution that identifies users’ facial characteristics, voice print, and behavioral patterns. Manufactured by Tel Aviv, Israel-based FST21, SafeRise is comprised of software and hardware including: a redundant on-site server; IP door controllers; high-resolution cameras; IP intercoms; electronic locks; and more. For more information, call FST21 at 508-620-4563 or visit www.fst21.com.

Mikael Lindström

Heat Seekers: Axis Communications’ full-featured thermal network cameras use thermal imaging to detect people and incidents with great reliability even in complete darkness. The cameras, which mesh with any network video system, create images based on the heat that radiates from an object. For more information, call Axis at 978-614-2000 or visit www.axis.com.