Video surveillance systems are installed everywhere, so why not in your homeowners association (HOA)? Properly used surveillance cameras provide additional security, a greater sense of safety and a deterrent to would be criminals. Several questions and considerations are often asked when the installation of surveillance systems within a HOA.
Does it violate the law for a HOA to install surveillance cameras within the community? Are these cameras helpful in reducing criminal activity? Is it acceptable to use “dummy” cameras instead of operative cameras? Does a HOA have to post signs notifying the homeowners that they are under video surveillance? These are some of the questions that HOAs are asking legal counsel as their Boards consider installing surveillance cameras to monitor entry gates, parking facilities
and other common areas.
Is it Legal for a HOA to Install Video Surveillance Cameras?
Currently, it is legal to install these cameras in all areas except in those where homeowners may have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as locker rooms, bathrooms, or areas where the camera may record the interior portions of a homeowner’s unit. The most popular locations to install surveillance cameras are at entry gates, recreational facilities and other common areas as a means to deter trespassing, vandalism, property damage, and rules violations.
Are surveillance cameras helpful in reducing criminal activity?
Studies on the effectiveness of surveillance cameras suggest that they are indeed effective at reducing the number of low level crimes such as automobile break-ins and burglaries in areas where cameras have been installed. This is a major reason why some HOAs, especially condominium complexes, opt to install surveillance cameras in common area parking facilities. Surveillance cameras have also proved immensely helpful in prosecuting individuals caught in the act of committing a crime or in enforcing violations of a HOA’s governing documents. It is important to note, however, that these cameras are only effective if they are regularly maintained to ensure proper operation.
Should we get a guard or have someone watch the cameras during the night?
Getting a guard will help deter criminal activity. But it comes at a cost. A typical cost for a guard is around $8000 a month. The better option is to find someone or a company to watch the cameras for you during the night. Instead of one set of eyes, there are multiple sets of eyes watching and protecting the property. But that’s not enough. The best option is to find a company that watches the cameras and provide a response team. Many would think, this would cost more but it can cost you just fractions of a guard cost.
For your security needs, feel free to call us at 888.850.3339 or contact us via our website.