How to Improve Your Property Security: Low-Cost Tips

Low-cost tips on making your building more secure Outside & Inside.

As we enter 2012, and the holiday season has passed, I hope everyone had an enjoyable and safe New Year.

A few weeks ago, I addressed "How to be safe during the hoildays season." This time I want to give you some low-cost tips on how to secure your property, be it a building or a private residence.

Let's start with the outside perimeter.

Outside your building:

  1. You want outside lighting with motion detection units. When a thief sets off your lights in his midnight prowl around your complex, he is most likely to run to another, less well-protected building.

  2. Landscaping: Your basic interest is to landscape in such a way that criminal elements don’t have hiding places. Keep your landscaping in good shape. Overgrown grass and foliage advertise to criminals that you are likely to be neglecting your responsibility in security as well. Tall shrubs are hiding places for thieves. You want shrubs that aren’t higher than three feet and are full of thorns! Ask your local gardener for the best ones. Many shrubs act as a sort of natural “razor wire fence” to your building.
  3. Fences and Gates: Every gate should close completely, be nearly impossible to force open and the latches should be shielded with a protective plate. The “pickets” (the vertical parts of the gate and fence) ideally would terminate at the top with a sharp, decorative point or fleur-de-lis.

Entrance Door Ways and Locks:

  1. Fully one-third of all break-ins are by people who have keys to the building. Don’t allow your tenants to lend out their keys to domestic help or handymen. While these workers may be honest, their connections may not be.
  2. Lots of times, bad guys come into the building in the "footsteps” of your residents. Educate your tenants that they need to be personally responsible as they enter or exit the property through your pedestrian entrances and your parking lot.
  3. You want real high-security locks and keys. The most popular and most dependable being the brand Medeco. You are probably familiar with the “do not duplicate” keys with the square heads. That’s not what we mean: That type of key can be duplicated just about anywhere. True high-security locks and keys are not available from your typical department or hardware store; they are only available from authorized distributors. In order to get a duplicate key made, the person authorized from your building must interact with the authorized distributor again. The distributor has a security procedure that is gone through to make sure that the new duplicate key is gotten into the right hands. Aside from this duplicate key protocol, this type of lock is the most “pick proof” of any residential or commercial lock you are likely to purchase.
  4. Door closers. Most condominium buildings have doors that are built with a mechanism that makes them automatically close after being opened. You should frequently check them to make sure they are working properly. They should close and latch securely without having to be pulled or pushed into place. The mechanisms can be tricky and need to be correctly adjusted. If you’re not certain you know how, hire a professional to adjust them. Often they can be put to right by lubricating the latches with WD-40. (Never put WD-40 in the closing mechanism or in lock cylinders.)


  1. Indoor lighting: All of your common areas should be brightly lit. Of particular importance are the laundry rooms and the parking lot. But, good lighting is a must throughout all your common areas. Most parking lot crime occurs in the late night or early morning. Without causing alarm, make sure your residents understand that women and children particularly should avoid the parking lot during these time periods or visit them only when accompanied by a strong male presence.
  2. See that your CCTV cameras are working and optimally positioned with good lighting. You need CCTV at your entryways, laundry room, parking lot, mailbox area and at your swimming pool and playground areas. Check that your DVR is recording properly with clear images in a secure location. Your DVR should be in a lockbox, with only trusted personnel having keys.

These are basics and most can be put in to place with little time or expense. 
Do more to improve things as you can, but get these basics implemented first.

From all my experince, seeing it again and again, I say it's better to be safe than sorry.

Feel free to contact me for any security qustions or concerns, and I will do my best to assist you.

Avi Ben-David

Direct Office: 818-980-1241, ext. 7010; or check my websites for more info and tips: www.ProfessorSecurity.com; www.MulhollandSecurity.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Avi Ben David a.k.a "Professor Security" January 19, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Better be safe than sorry! http://www.mulhollandsecurity.com We are here to help, and protect you, and your faimly! Crime and burglary prevention is pretty easy, and these day is very affordable as well. Deterrence is the name of the game, if you have a good visible security systems in place. They'll simply go to the next house which is more vulnerable. They always go for the easiest targets, wouldn't you? Put yourself in their shoes. The less risky path, unless they really go for you, cause they know exactly what you have in your house or business, than you need to put up all measures. If that is not the case, couple of good quality security camera around the house, a few signs, enforcing the doors and windows. ensuring your keys are not floating around, and that they are really cant be duplicate, ( not that its only says do not duplicate- that means nothing.) have a great beautiful gate that prevent anyone from simply drive in, increasing your privacy, and adds value to your property. Call us Today for your free professional security vulnerabilities assessment, and we'll help you to secure your dear ones, your valuables, your business assets, so you can sleep better at night, Better be safe than sorry! Being safe can really bring you peace of mind. Crime can be very devastating for your family and deer ones, and very costly for your business. 1-888-562-5638, or visit us on the web http://www.mulhollandsecurity.com/
Marshall Thompson January 19, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Hi, Avi, There are some very good tips here - especially for multi-unit housing - but do be aware that not all of us in Malibu want to live in a gated, fortified, spike-tipped, armored prison with 24/7 CCTV cameras and attack dogs, lit up like Wal-Mart. In my opinion, the two major threats to personal safety in Malibu are traffic on PCH and wildfires. One of the best defenses against crime is to cultivate a caring relationship with neighbors and to be aware of who is in the neighborhood, especially casual laborers. I understand from several sources that there is a lot of mail theft going on. NOT opening doors to solicitors or strangers is one of the most important behavioral protections one can deploy for safety. Personally, I detest gated housing as it isolates people and pretty much prevents neighbors from interacting. In a gated home, one generally enters and exits only by car and then you don't get to know your neighbors. Regarding outdoor lighting, in Malibu Park we enjoy and protect our dark, starry night-time skies. Extensive exterior lighting destroys this amenity and - if upward-directed - is illegal in Malibu in many instances. I agree that people need to take reasonable measures for personal safety. Let's balance that with neighborhood awareness and cooperation together with a healthy respect for rural Malibu. If you are too fearful of the dark, perhaps you might want to move closer to an urban area.
Avi Ben David a.k.a "Professor Security" January 20, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Marshall, thanks for theses comments. I agree with you, though regarding gates, it depends on the people, the property, etc, might not be for everyone, but at other cases it's a great deterrence, and can give some more privacy to those who seek it. Many people install gates to protect their kids and pets from running to the street. Cultivating caring relationship with neighbors is always very recommended. "Regarding outdoor lighting" I personally not in favor for 24 hrs light on regime. 1st its wasting unnecessary energy, 2nd its stop to be a deterrence as you can easily see where are the dark spot, and hide there. While lights with motion detectors save more energy and energy costs, its comes on, only when some one is around, it scares those who needs to be scared, and it leaves the natural environment dark at night at all other times. Mailbox, and identity theft is a big issue as we all hear more and more about it. Mailboxes are very sensitive issue, as one can get, your bank accounts info, numbers, credit cards, and much more, sometimes with one visit to your mailbox, they can get a whole profile about you. I thank you for all the input. Regards,
Avi Ben David a.k.a "Professor Security" January 20, 2012 at 02:09 AM
One more thing Marshall, this article was for a broader region than just Malibu. Soon, we would write and post another article on how to secure residential areas like Malibu. Ill be happy to get your input then as well.


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