April’s Multifamily Crime Poll Insights: Unwrapping Package Theft

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Security remains a paramount concern for management and ownership groups alike in this quarter's Multifamily Crime Poll. Let's delve into the key findings and uncover what they mean for property security strategies.

Package Theft: On the Rise

One of the standout revelations from our latest poll is the prevalence of package theft. A significant portion of respondents—60.9% to be precise—reported that package theft either increased or surged significantly (more than 10%) in 2023.

This statistic not only underscores findings from the January Multifamily Crime Poll, but is also consistent with a CBS News investigative report earlier this month that found mail theft has "skyrocketed, from fewer than 60,000 complaints in 2018 to more than 250,000 in 2023." The investigation uncovered a bombshell reason for the surge: the U.S. Post Office has not consistently taken steps "to secure the universal 'arrow keys' that open bulk mailboxes in apartment buildings and neighborhoods coast to coast."

In short, tenant vulnerabilities to unsecured Amazon deliveries is surprisingly only a portion of the problem. A systemic failure of USPS to secure universal keys leaves management and ownership groups obliged to seek out new security solutions at their own cost in order to protect their tenants from mail theft, check fraud, and identity theft.

Impact on Tenant Retention

Security concerns can directly impact tenant retention—a critical aspect of property management. The poll revealed that 33% of respondents experienced tenant attrition due to security issues. While the majority (61%) reported no such impact, the implication is clear: security lapses can erode tenant confidence and influence leasing decisions.

No Correlation Between On-Premise Guards & Greater Security

The use of on-premises security guards emerged as a focal point in the survey. Interestingly, only 33% of respondents indicated employing on-premises guards—a minority in the sample. This finding is compounded by the correlation between security costs and tenant retention. While it's logical to assume that hiring guards might stem the tide of tenant attrition, a full half of those employing guards still reported tenant losses due to security issues.

Indeed, by overlapping respondents' answers regarding tenant attrition and hiring guards or contracting with a local guard service, almost half (45.83%) of respondents answered negatively to both the use of guards and tenant losses, while 50% affirmed the use of guards alongside tenant attrition. This overlap further hints at a nuanced reality: the presence of physical guards may not always correlate with improved security outcomes or tenant satisfaction. By contrast, remote guards (also referred to as virtual guards) have been achieving 95-97%crime deterrence.

The Path Forward: Insights and Implications

Our April Multifamily Crime Poll offers critical insights for stakeholders navigating security challenges in the industry:

  1. Evaluating Security Strategies: Property managers should reassess security measures, considering evolving threats like package theft, to bolster tenant safety and satisfaction.
  2. Optimizing Guard Deployment: The efficacy of on-premises guards warrants scrutiny. It's essential to evaluate whether guard presence translates into tangible security enhancements and tenant retention.
  3. Investing in Deterrents: AI Surveillance and Remote Guarding technology as well as solid package delivery protocols may offer property managers the opportunity to mitigate security risks effectively.

The Multifamily Crime Poll illuminates the complex intersection of security practices and tenant experiences in multifamily housing. By heeding these findings, property stakeholders can fortify their defenses, enhance tenant trust, and cultivate thriving communities resilient to crime challenges.

Stay tuned for more insights on optimizing multifamily security in an evolving urban landscape!

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