Gated Communities Video Security and Privacy

Some communities have dramatically reduced vandalism and troublemakers with the installation of video surveillance systems. Recently installed Mid-Atlantic Entry Systems IP cameras in Roanoke, Virginia recorded video of who was consistently ramming a condominium entrance gate. The home owners association had had three previous incidents causing significant damage to the gate and gate operator so they reluctantly installed the video system. Shockingly, it turned out to be a resident that when  presented with the video admitted to the other incidents. A full restitution arrangement was agreed upon. In this case the video surveillance system paid for itself almost immediately. It also immediately brought up a discussion of resident privacy and who has access to the video within the association.

Gated communities and home owners associations are dramatically increasing the use of video surveillance on their property. The reasons are numerous, crime deterrent, vandalism prevention and liability control. However, all this must be balanced with resident privacy.

Even small communities will experience varied and passionate opinions on video surveillance among residents. We’ve seen associations develop clear guidelines on who can review video footage and why. We’ve seen associations hire or appoint a non-resident to view video footage upon an incident. These steps are taken to alleviate privacy concerns between residents. There is no question that people are becoming more accepting of video surveillance in public areas such as parking lots, sidewalks, lobbies, entrances and other public areas. However, some people have reservations about their private communities. Each community has to develop it’s own procedures to protect resident privacy.

Video surveillance cannot prevent crime or vandalism but it’s certainly a strong deterrent. If crime or vandalism occurs it’s a very useful tool for authorities to apprehend perpetrators. We’ve also seen it used on slip and fall liability claims saving home owners associations thousands in insurance premiums.

Gated communities, video surveillance and privacy is certainly a balancing act.