NO VACANCY: AI VIDEO SURVEILLANCE CAN PUT A STOP TO SQUATTERS
A vacant commercial building can and often does prove to be ready refuge for squatters. The consequences commercial property owners face are enormous and include:
AI Video Surveillance can help alert you to squatters instantly – long before the situation gets completely out of control, as it did in the situation below.
Hello? Anybody Home?
A realtor met his client midafternoon to visit a $2 million office building that sat empty throughout the pandemic. When they walked in, the realtor immediately noticed the lights were on. Slowing their pace, they peeked around the cubicles and spotted pilfered metal, small appliances, shopping carts, along with blankets and ratty sleeping bags. The building had become a refuge for multiple squatters, and they’d apparently been there for some time. The realtor also noted a few crudely formed weapons: bats and clubs with nails sticking out of them.
“I got on my phone to let the seller’s broker know. The building still appeared to be empty, so we climbed the stairs to the top floor to give them more details. There were multiple holes punched into the ceiling, presumably in search of copper pipes. Above was a mechanical attic space: HVAC wires and pipes had been pulled, and the windows had been left open for ventilation.”
Returning to the ground floor, they spotted an extension cord leading to yet another office. “My client loudly announced he had a gun and forged ahead, only to come running back: there was an unmoving body on the floor, a camping stove, fridge and portable AC unit, as well as a dog that was very much alive standing guard. We opted to go outside and wait for the police.”
EMT’s arrived and focused on the incapacitated squatter, while police swarmed the building. When the cops pulled guns and shouted for a show of hands, it was apparent there were more squatters that had been hiding in the building.
In subsequent weeks, the out-of-state owner had to make a hefty insurance claim that at least included extensive damage to the plumbing, electrical, the elevator, drywall and carpet on the 21,000 sq foot property. And then there was the debris: a crew filled a construction sized dumpster three times before the property could even be restored.
More notably, the owner lost a $2 million sale. Despite the extensive renovations, which the realtor showed his client a couple of months later, they discovered the screens to the ground floor windows had been popped and left inside – the squatters had returned. The client walked.
The realtor commented, “It’s not just the damage to the property, the insurance hikes, or even losing a $2 million sale. What happened that day could have gone really, really wrong if they’d chosen to fight us. Any one of us – myself and my client, the squatters, or the responding police, could have been injured or killed.”
Instant Alerts to Trespassers
I showed the realtor how Cloudastructure’s motion-based cloud video surveillance and the AI/ML analytics could have prevented that terrible situation. The system offers:
He was truly impressed when he discovered clients wouldn’t have to replace their existing cameras to install the system.
The realtor commented, “This is a no brainer. We partner with surveyors and photographers when we sign to represent an empty building. Why wouldn’t we partner with a security service like this?”
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