Re: Security policies and security infrastructure for parking lots or entire sites
From: Jessie (
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2011 09:30:03 -0800 (PST)

Is there a neighborhood organization in the areas adjacent to you that you 
could ally with to apmplify and share your efforts?

-Jessie Handforth Kome
Eastern Village Cohousing
Silver Spring, MD

Kristin Dunkle <kdunkle [at]> wrote:

>I'm writing seeking the voice of experience from other cohousing
>communities that may have experienced targeted property crime.
>I live at East Lake Commons near Atlanta, Georgia. We were established
>in 1998, I've been here since 2004. We are a 67 unit ( which I think
>still makes us the largest in the US) cohousing community, located in
>what some consider a pretty rough part of town. Our entire campus is
>fenced and has an entry gate*.
>We've recently experienced a rash of nighttime cash break-ins in the
>parking lot -- nearly 30 in the past month, usually with at least 5
>cars per night hit on nights when it happens. We've taken a range of
>unsustainable crisis management steps including doing community member
>patrols and hiring overnight guards, and we've also been making
>coordinated reports to local police and having a volunteer liaison
>meet with detectives and make sure the case reports are linked, etc.
>And the plain fact of the matter is that we live in an
>"unincorporated" zone, not attached to any municipality, and our low
>local and property taxes mean that we get what we pay for in terms of
>policing. The police have been as helpful as they can, but they are
>severely overstretched and clear that murders, assaults, etc take
>priority. We have some reason to suspect that the perpetrators are
>drug addicts and/or youth gangs.
>We're moving from crisis management to trying to think systematically
>about short, medium, and long-term security management plans and
>having fruitful ideological and practical debates about strategies
>covering a vast range of options including better lighting, higher
>fences, security cameras, do-it-yourself detective work, better
>community outreach, etc etc etc. Our last crime wave 5 years ago
>involved an armed hold up and an attempted carjacking at the site
>entrance (both youth perpetrated), and it was solved through highly
>visible community patrolling. That hasn't worked this time, so we're
>experiencing increasing frustration.
>We are wondering if anyone out there can share your experience,
>policies, and/or details about your site infrastructure in terms of
>managing parking lot or whole site security in an economically diverse
>urban setting like this. What have you tried? How has it worked or not
>worked? What has the impact been on relationships within your
>community and between your community and your neighborhood?
>I am personally most interested in solutions that don't involve higher
>walls, bigger barricades or security cameras, but I will faithfully
>report back to our Security Task Group on whatever anyone has to share
>about their experiences.
>With gratitude,
>Kristin Dunkle
>East Lake Commons Cohousing, Atlanta, Georgia
>* The gate has been a source of serious contention over the years as
>it was added by the developer during construction without community
>consensus, but we've never been able to consent on removing it. It's
>one of our on-going hot-button issues.
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