According to the 2009 United States Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey, 11 million Americans reside inside the walls of a gated community and that number is expected to rise. Typically, a homeowner pays 20 percent more to live in a gated community. So, does a gated community offer homeowners more security than a house sitting in the middle of town?
Studies show that crime rates are not significantly reduced in gated communities
All the additional fees associated with living within a gated community may be for not. Studies indicate that serious crimes remain consistent between gated and non-gated communities. These additional fees help pay for private security, gate guards, maintenance and roads.
Some burglars actually target gated communities
Because many people residing in gated communities feel more secure than those who are not, they tend to leave their windows open and doors unlocked. Thieves know this and some will target gated communities for this reason.
Delivery persons have the community code
For most gated communities, their major selling point is that heightened security keeps homeowners safe. Any outsider that wants to enter the community must know the access code or enter through a manned security gate.
The problem with this type of protection is that each homeowner has:
- Delivery persons (pizza and grocery, etc.)
- Cable/Satellite providers
Other individuals entering the community may include:
- Real estate agents
- Individuals interested in purchasing a home within the community
The reality is that an individual may:
- Walk right into the community by hiding behind a delivery truck
- Drive in behind another resident who is in the process of entering the community
- Use a resident’s entrance code that was given to them because they are a friend or family member to avoid the need for these visitors to sit in line waiting to enter through the manned security gate
- The gate malfunctions and remains open?
- The security guard is not present?
The gates inhibit the ability for fast emergency assistance
Consider that on average it takes 10 minutes for emergency assistance to arrive on the scene. This includes law enforcement.
Renters vs. Homeowners in gated communities
The 2009 American Housing Survey states that the number of homeowners and renters within a gated community are almost equal. On average, the ratio of residents in gated communities is 49.6 percent homeowners and 50.4 percent renters. This should be considered a security issue; having renters within a gated community allows for a large turnover of residents. These former residents may still have the ability to enter the gated community; thus, bypassing any security measures the community takes.
Gated communities and individual home security systems
Upon settling into a gated community, the majority of people do not consider seeking protection for their individual homes. This is especially true when you consider these residents are paying thousands of dollars every year in Homeowner’s Association fees, a portion of which covers the security measures their community provides.
Gated communities do not offer ironclad protection
Because gated communities do not necessarily provide ironclad protection, homeowner’s should still consider some kind of surveillance system.