How safe and secure are HOA gated communities?

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

 

Today’s post features two upscale private communities in Texas.

Champion Lakes Estates HOA President, Darryl King, tells ABC13 that he and his neighbors are “shook up” following daytime assault and robbery in the gated community, not to mention frightening news of the torture and murder of two residents in a nearby gated community, Northgate Forest.

Despite efforts of gated communities to insulate themselves from the outside world, they certainly see their share of break-ins and violent crime.

In this case, suspects simply climbed under the gates, or obtained the gate code from their victims.

Gated communities stepping up security after violent trail of crime alleged on Spring murder suspects

ABC13

Thursday, January 18, 2018 10:46PM
SPRING, Texas (KTRK) — Gated communities are increasing security after two violent home invasions and one that ended in the murders of a beloved Spring couple.

Jenny and Bao Lam, both 61, were ambushed in their garage in the Northgate Forest subdivision last week. The three suspects – Khari Kendrick, Aakiel Kendrick and Erick Peralta – then robbed, tortured and shot them to death, according to Harris County Sheriff’s investigators.

All three have been charged with capital murder.

Two days earlier, authorities believe they were in the Champion Lakes Estates community near Tomball. A progression of surveillance photos shows what neighbors say is their car. It was Jan. 9 at 10:30 a.m. Investigators believe they looked for an opportunity and took it.

Read more (be sure to watch all 3 videos):

http://abc13.com/gated-communities-stepping-up-security-after-spring-murders/2966591/

 

It’s interesting to hear from the HOA manager of Northgate Forest, the luxury home golf community, where residents Jenny and Bao Lam, both 61, were tortured and killed by three assailants in their own home. According to community manager, the purpose of a gated entry is merely to control traffic in and out of the community, not to prevent crime.

What isn’t said here: gated communities usually have private roads, and that limits access to local law enforcement agencies. Routine police patrols are not conducted behind the gates, unless the HOA specifically requests the service, and, even then, only if the HOA agrees to pay for it.

Considering that gated communities tend to concentrate wealthier households in a confined area, it should come as no surprise that criminals target estate home subdivisions for theft.

How gated communities handle security

These days, in addition to gates and, sometimes, security guards, almost all HOAs also install surveillance cameras at entry points to the community. The only value of surveillance is the capture of license plate numbers, intended to track down a suspect after crime has already occurred.

And that assumes the “bad guys” choose to enter and exit by vehicle through one of the gates.

The reality is, a determined criminal is just as likely to use an alternate entry and exit point. In most cases, a gated community’s perimeter wall or fence is relatively easy to breach, especially at points where lighting is dim or the view is obstructed by ornamental trees and shrubs. Of course, some gated communities lack a continuous perimeter barrier altogether.

Some criminals gain access with assistance from residents of or contractors who work in the community. Some reside behind the security gates.

The truth is, fancy entry gates are more ornamental than functional.

Nevertheless, home buyers are often sold on the illusion of greater security in gated communities.

 

 

 

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