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The average apartment complex has both a high number of residents and regular turnover of tenants. As a result, landlords and property managers can't be expected to recognize every face. Add in people visiting tenants and you can see how impossible it would be to identify trespassers, vandals, or criminals on sight alone. That's where an apartment security camera system comes in. In this piece, we look at the benefits, costs, and additional considerations of installing a video surveillance system for your apartment complex.
Benefits of an Apartment Building Security Camera System
Apartment complexes are interesting because they are private property and yet highly visible and accessible to the public. They also feature lots of open space, which gives them a feeling of security, as well as secluded areas that may feel (and be) less safe.
When it comes to security, the goals of the property manager are many. The benefits of a security camera system include:
- Deter criminal activity thanks to the visibility of security cameras. Criminals who know someone is watching are more likely to move onto a more vulnerable property.
- Dissuade non-residents from taking advantage of amenities, such as the pool, clubhouse, and laundry area.
- Alert staff to issues immediately so they can respond appropriately.
- Help tenants feel more safe and secure; knowledge that your property includes video surveillance is often a selling point for potential residents.
- Remote access for digital surveillance systems allows authorized users to view live feeds from any connected device, including smartphones and tablets.
- Digital systems store video on a DVR or cloud server. You don't have to worry about storing tapes and footage is easily searched if it's ever needed for providing evidence in a criminal proceeding.
Although video surveillance systems help keep tenants safe, they may threaten their privacy if not installed correctly. Monitor common areas, such as the management office, fitness center, laundry, parking lot, and walkways or building entrances. But, make sure tenants' doors and windows do not fall within the range of your security cameras' lenses.
How Much Does an Apartment Complex Security Camera System Cost?
Security camera system costs depend on the number of cameras you need as well as the capabilities and features of your camera system. Additional cost factors include resolution, vandal- and weather-proof housing, and storage methods. A very basic, two-camera system starts as low as $100. However, those are mainly intended for light home security, not commercial applications.
Expect to see systems in four-camera increments (four, eight, twelve, etc.). Costs start at around $1,000 for every four cameras in your system, although the more cameras you add, the lower the per-camera price is.
- A 4-camera HD 1080p system costs around $1,000 on average. You can double the resolution to 2 x 1080p at a cost of around $2,300.
- An 8-camera HD 1080p system costs around $2,000 on average. Double the resolution to 2 x 1080p for an average cost of $4,000.
- A 12-camera HD 1080p system costs around $2,800 on average. Double the resolution and add features such as optical zoom for an average cost of $5,800.
These costs do not include installation. If you sign with a security company that also monitors the camera feed, installation is typically included. Self-monitoring, however, usually does not include installation. Expect to pay between $50 and $100 per camera for installation.
Choosing the right system depends entirely on your specific needs and available resources. For example, if costs are a concern, start by installing cameras only in high-risk areas or places where you've had issues in the past. Think hidden areas, such as stairwells and hallways. Over time, you can expand to other parts of the complex.
The layout of your complex plays a large role, as do any current security measures. You also want to take into consideration factors that are unique to your area. If it rains a lot, it makes sense to invest in weather-proof housing. However, if you're in an extremely hot area, your biggest worry is likely sun and heat damage.
Finally, if your building is in an area without reliable Internet service, a cloud-based system may not be your best option. When talking to vendors, tell them about any technology constraints you have and how those might affect your surveillance system.