Estrada Village is a Gated Community

Fences and working gates definitely reduce unauthorized vehicle and foot traffic on a property especially late at night and early in the morning. For many properties, traffic reduction alone is enough to reduce much of the parking lot and street crime. Note my emphasis on “working” gates. Swinging gates in a volatile community will have problems being operational 24-hours per day due to abuse and vandalism.

The effectiveness of gates and fencing depends on the nature of the property and the management controls in place. Gates and fencing works best on a stable property with non-criminal, mature residents. If you manage a property that caters to college students it can be a nightmare to maintain an effective gate system. If you intend to install a gate system on a high-crime property that is full of criminal types, drug dealers, and gang members the gated system will be waste of money until you clear the bad element out.

Formidable fencing and gates, by design, restrict access and therefore provide both a physical and psychological barrier for criminals. Good signage is necessary to announce that this is private property and to post your no trespassing policy. Sure, one can tailgate onto a property behind someone else but this requires effort and exposes the criminal to a potential witness. Criminals want to come onto an apartment property anonymously and blend into the community of strangers. Criminals like quick escape routes and don’t want to become trapped behind fences or gates should they be discovered. Many criminals will bypass a gated community for one that is not gated simply because of the restricted access.

Gated communities should not claim to be able to prevent all crimes. Gates and fences is just another tool to help a property manager fight crime. More tools are usually required to do the complete job. Support by the residents and management is required to maintain an effective gate system. Management needs to educate the residents how the properly use the gate system and how to report abuse and damage. Management needs to screen residents and enforce community rules to prevent criminal types from residing on the inside. Residents need to report or challenge unauthorized persons using the gates and not give out gate codes unnecessarily. Management needs to periodically change the master gate code to screen out former repair vendors, a zillion pizza delivery companies, and former residents.