Re: Security policies and security infrastructure for parking lots or entire sites
From: Lisa Strayer (
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2011 06:23:38 -0800 (PST)
This is just a far out half baked idea...  When we travelled in south America, 
we always hired local kids to watch out car when we went in to eat, and then 
brought them food in addition to small "wages" of ten cents or so for watching 
the car... Sometimes one kid watched a wheel, another the rearview mirror when 
there were too many kids around...  This worked and was the customary approach. 
 I know that it is not directly transferrable to your situation, but so meting 
along the lines of getting the local kids outside of your immunity involved in 
having a stake in none of your cars losing stuff might help.  As I said, a bit 
of a far out idea...

Sent from my iPad

On Jan 13, 2011, at 10:37 AM, 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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