If you live in a gated community, chances are you use a key, a code or usually wave at the friendly gateman to open the gate. Does this make your neighborhood or home more secure than homeowners using home security systems? Not necessarily.
A 2004-2011home security study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that the rate of burglaries and home invasions in gated communities is lower compared to open communities, but not by much. The study reveals that the rate of burglaries in gated communities was at 20 burglaries per 1,000 households while in non-gated communities was at 24 burglaries per 1,000 households.
Basing on this report, the difference is quite insignificant. What you really don’t know is that gated communities are really less secured compared to homes that have home security systems. And here are four good reasons why.
1. A false sense of home security
This is probably the biggest reason why your gated community isn’t as safe as a home with an alarm system or video surveillance system. Driving through that fancy, big Iron Gate that has code access or gate attendant makes you feel safer –and that’s where the problem is.
That false sense of security means you’re more likely to leave your window open or the door unlocked. This is what makes this community a very enticing target for thieves. Robert Siciliano at Huffington Post has similar opinions “That stylish gate is more of an ornament than a crime deterrent. It may suggests that there are a lot of valuables in those houses”
2. Burglars actually target "secure gated communities"
Having fancy Iron Gate at your entrance makes a huge statement. It essentially says “this community has a lot of money and valuables”, which makes you and your entire neighborhood a tempting goldmine for burglars.
Burglars will actually pass right by homes that have home security cameras, alarm systems, and other home security features. However, they will poke around an unsecured home, even if it’s in the middle of a fancy gated community. And since the risk is high but the potential reward is even higher, they come well equipped, and they mean business.
Thieves also know that people who live in this well-to-do communities take vacations and go out more often. This makes the gated community a perfect target. With the right calculations and information, they know that once they gain access into a home that doesn’t a home security system, they pretty much have all night to loot valuables without being interrupted.
3. Shared Security Code
The major selling point for homes in most gated communities is that enhanced security will keep the owners safe. So any outsider who wants access into the community must have the access code or come in through a manned gate.
The challenge with this is that each homeowner has a family, friends, delivery persons (grocery, pizza, etc.), handyman and cable/satellite providers, among others. In addition, other individuals who need to access the community include babysitters, real estate agents, potential home buyers, and so on.
In reality, all these access opportunities increase the chances of a potential robber landing their hands on the code and using it for unlawful access. They might also simply walk right in behind a delivery truck or drive in behind a resident that has access. In addition, if the code malfunctions, it has to remain open until it’s fixed. And what if the get attendant is not present?
4. Who Lives Inside those Gates?
Most gated communities are designed to keep potential burglars out, but the assumption is that everyone who lives in the gated community is a law-abiding citizen –which in some cases it’s not. The reality is, seasoned robbers might as well call your gated community home, and chances of being robbed in that case became dramatically high. So the key is trying to know your neighbors, even as you plan to install security measures.
As you can see, gated communities are not necessarily more secure than homes that have security systems. That false sense of security and the high likelihood of complacency when it comes to securing the homes is what makes homes in gated communities an irresistible target for thieves.
The only way to completely secure your home is by installing a home security system and implementing all the basic security measures such as appropriately locking your doors and windows.