In the past couple of months we have noted a spate of disturbing burglaries within apartment buildings across Canberra.
After enquiries with the police as well as with senior members of other strata businesses it appears that the issue may be wide spread. It makes one wonder if there is some degree of underlying organisation.
While Vantage Strata and our contemporaries from other organisations continue to work with the authorities on the past incidents, it is worth highlighting some of the patterns so that the wider community can take steps to secure their premises.
Items that appear to have been targeted by thieves include hard drives and access control infrastructure, as well as laptops and computers that are utilised by on site building managers.
Access has often been gained by breaking into “lock boxes” secured to walls in the common areas.
Authorities believe that there is a high likelihood the thieves knew what they were looking for in advance.
We strongly encourage committees to consider the security of their buildings in light of these incidents. In particular we suggest removing any lock boxes for the time being and considering upgrading to a more robust key management system.
It is also well worth considering conducting a security pass and key audit of your building. Vantage Strata generally recommends that an audit should be conducted annually as a best practice. This process involves contacting all owners and residents to confirm the serial numbers of all passes in use. Any that are unaccounted for after this process can be deleted from the system.
In some instances a buildings security system may not have been established with the serial number for each pass recorded. Although his presents a challenge when auditing, once the investment is made to gather the information it will make future audits much easier.
Last, but certainly not least, we cannot stress enough the danger of leaving your garage remotes and swipe passes in your vehicles. If you keep these items in your car you will become a target for thieves, and once they have your pass the buildings security is immediately compromised. If you have had any security passes stolen please ensure that you notify your strata manager so that it can be deleted from the system urgently.
It is a sad reality that ultimately these events will never be totally eliminated. However, if owners and residents remain vigilant it is well within your control to minimise the likelihood of becoming a target in the future.