So You Think You Want A Gate?
Posted on September 6, 2018 2:00 PM by Melissa Gentry
Categories: Homeowner Articles
Gated community associations are perceived as being safer communities, which attracts homeowners who are willing to pay higher association dues to feel safer in their homes. However, sometimes the expectation of having a high degree of security can backfire when a crime occurs within the gates.
The Financial Costs
- A single gate with a standard opening costs $2,500 to $12,000 just to fabricate the gate itself. That does not include the electronic access control system running anywhere from $2,500 to more than $100,000, depending on the size of the system and the technology. A single gate with a telephone entry system falls on the low end of that price range, while a multi-gate system with card access and computerized monitoring falls on the high end. The funds to install these gates must come from the association reserves or more likely from a special assessment of the owners.
- Street lights. The association is now responsible for the electricity and maintenance of the street lights. Depending on how many, it can greatly increase electric costs on a monthly basis.
- Owners responsible for own trash service. The cost varies depending on service and can run up to $100's per month.
- Expense to residents to purchase gate remotes. Each remote averages between $30 and $45 dollars per remote.
- Reserve fund to pay for future road resurfacing. This is the largest consideration when putting in gates. How many miles of road will need to be maintained and repaved. This cost alone will typically at least double the association fees to ensure a proper reserve.
Monthly gate expenses for phone connectivity that can call residents from the entry phone or punch in the residents security code.
Repairs to gate vandalism, for some reason, gates are targeted by vandals. Unfortunately this is usually a monthly occurrence.
Monthly gate maintenance contract to keep them operating smoothly.
Future gate maintenance such as repainting and eventually replacement.
- Adding gates does not increase security. Watch any gated community for a while and it can be observed as a vehicle follows another vehicle in through the open entry gate. Criminals will be criminals, and they find ways to exploit gaps in security measures.
- Being gated does not decrease our crime. It can act as a deterrent, but there are some studies that suggest it may increase the crime rate since thieves may think that a gated community has "better stuff" in their homes.
- Homeowners who have taken their security for granted because of the gate and walls may be careless in taking personal precautions to protect themselves such as leaving doors unlocked, not turning on security alarms, not being as vigilant when outside at night. Such oversight may result in the homeowner becoming a victim of a crime.
- Reduced traffic. There tends to be a lot less traffic among the streets contained within gated communities. This helps to cut down on the noise level. Residents with children often feel this also provides a safer playing environment for their kids.
- Decreased number of solicitors. Gated communities that are protected by secured entries prevent solicitors entering at will. This discourages solicitors from attempting to visit residents within the neighborhood, significantly decreasing the number that come knocking at your door.
Think Cameras Instead of Gates for Safety
- 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 helpful in prosecuting individuals caught in the act of committing a crime.
- However, these cameras are only effective if they are regularly maintained to ensure proper operation. When used properly surveillance cameras can provide additional security, a greater sense of safety and a deterrent to would be criminals and therefore more effective than gates.