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Keeping the homeless out of my building

Keeping the homeless out of my building

It's unfortunate that there are many homeless people on our city streets. However, our residential and commercial building lobbies are not a home for the homeless. Local municipalities have dedicated shelters for that purpose. So how do we prevent the homeless from entering our buildings and sleeping in the hallways? Or stop teenagers from hooking up in the stairwells?

The trick not to let them access the property in the first case. It’s important to keep all the exterior doors locked and provide access only to people who dwell in the building with a key. You may ask, what’s to prevent tenants from duplicating the key at a local locksmith shop? Some high security lock brands offer key restriction. This requires the locksmith to verify if you are allowed to copy the key before doing so. When entering into a key restricted locking system, the owner of the system receives a security card, which looks like a credit card but with a series of key codes. The locksmith who will duplicate a new key needs that series of codes to do so. In addition, a restricted key system has a "Do Not Duplicate" stamped on each key, which alerts the key copy professional not to copy to any unauthorized individual.

While this is more of the mechanical approach, many building owners with a higher security budget are going with access control systems. These systems allows for much more complex control, allowing and disallowing access from one central hub. You may also receive full audit trails of who is entering the premises and when. For commercial applications, this is especially useful as you may want to grant access to individuals to certain areas only on specific days or hours of the day.

Having key restriction or full access control to the building is not enough. The essential element to the safety and security of your property is making sure the doors are well secured and all door hardware is properly installed. What’s the purpose of adding spices to your food if you don't know which spices to use and the amounts? Yes, by hit or miss your cooked stew might taste OK, but is that acceptable when you’re talking about security? Would you hit or miss with a root canal operation? I don't think so! You wouldn’t have Uncle Bob pull out your tooth with pliers. Make sure to hire a professional locksmith who understands the vulnerabilities of the property and is knowledgeable about the actual hardware. Someone who knows the ingredients surely knows how to apply them.

I always recommend having a hydraulic door closer installed on each door. This allows for the doors to close properly behind the person who just entered. Many times you may forget to close the door behind you after entering, or the wind may keep it open without you noticing. A quality door closer will definitely do the job. I always used the Norton® or LCN® brands, though there are many others brands in the market that are just as good, even better in certain applications.

People ask me, why do I need a door closer if I have self-closing hinges? These self-closing hinges are spring-loaded, so they give you absolutely no control. Hydraulic door closers will allow you to set certain speeds for the sweep operation, which is recommended to go slow, and a different speed for the latching operation, recommended to be a bit tighter for a light slam. This ensures the door lock will latch properly. Many commercial door closers will also give you a back-check option, which slows the doors’ swing when swung open too hard. This is especially important in store fronts or building entrances with glass panels.

So you see, there can be simple additions or adjustments to your current setup that will keep the homeless going to the homeless shelters and not into your buildings.

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