Vacant properties are a major contributor to community safety and security. The recent discussion around fixing DC's Vacant Property Laws is an excellent step.
Missing from 4D-04 ANC Commissioner David Sheon’s report is a requirement to secure the property to avoid unwelcome occupants and nefarious activity. No neighbor should have to live next door to a property that is open to use for illicit activity at any time of day or night. This should be a priority to protect neighboring residents while the property is vacant and in the early stages of construction where crews are often not on site daily.
Vacant properties and construction sites can be very effectively secured. Fencing is already a requirement as part of most building permit processes, but effective intrusion security should be specified as well.
Security Alarm Systems installed and monitored by Urban Alarm on construction sites in DC have resulted in multiple arrests in 2015. We see these sites going from frequent regular issues to none once an effective system is deployed.
Urban Alarm’s approach to these systems is motion activated surveillance with video verification. When an alarm is triggered, the dispatcher reviews a video clip to determine the cause of the alarm and takes appropriate action including dispatching the police.