Monday, January 19, 2015


Security system malfunction?
Allow everyone to enter freely





    We need all residents to call ahead to the security guard to inform them of your guest(s) otherwise they will be given automatic access into the community. A new computer was placed on order but will not be installed until Monday or Tuesday of the coming week.

    My apologies for this inconvenience.


Underscore emphasis above mine.

As a risk management practitioner and resident of the gated community it took me about 5 minutes to compose first myself and then an email to the management suggesting it rethink its process.

STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE (SOP) is for resident to provide the rent-a-cops who guard the farcical gate with a list of expected visitors, otherwise the gate keeper must get the resident's OK to allow entry. "Farcical" since

  • The wooden gates won't even slow a determined motorist
  • The "guard" has no way of stopping someone who doesn't want to check in
  • Miscreants climb over the low wall surrounding the community
  • Admittedly, most visitors DO stop at the check-in point. They give their name and some type "official" identification (driver's license, passport, state ID card - some people come as passengers in taxis or shuttles from the nearby air and sea ports) and the gate keeper either

  • Finds their name on the resident's approved list or
  • Calls the resident to ask permission to allow the guest entry
  • Some regulars, generally relatives or friends who visit regularly, are on a - what was supposed to be permanent but wasn't - list stored on the gate keeper's computer.

    It was this list of "regulars" that disappeared when the computer failed.

    Back-up? Of course not. Alternate computer? Well, there IS another machine in the gatehouse, but it's used by the Home Owners' Association (HOA) manager and apparently does not have the relevant program.

    It is bad enough that every parcel delivery truck, every mail truck, every school bus is allowed in without interference. Why not.

    Who, after all, would steal a parcel delivery truck or USPS truck and certainly no one would highjack a school bus. Never. Believe that and I have a bridge to sell you.

    Given the above, is it any wonder that the HOA manager elected to allow everyone entry.

    The HOA frequently sends out suggestions to residents that if they are expecting someone - a tradesman for example - to contact the gate keeper and let them know. This expedites guest entry by eliminating the need for the gate keeper to call the resident for permission (meanwhile holding up everyone in line).

    Yes, I practice what I preach and give the gate keeper a printed list AND a map so the visitor can find the manse.

    The HOA manager DID rethink her decision to allow everyone free entry.

    I wonder if the computer people were able to recover and transfer the old permanent guest list to the new computer. Maybe I'd better make up a new list for the gate keeper's new computer, "just in case."

    If you think the above is ludicrous, consider:

      A kibbutz in Israel once decided to put a similar barrier in place.

      It installed the barrier and a guard shack.

      It hired a guy to guard the entrance. (Maybe he was a member of the kibbutz, but I'd bet not.)


      Arm the guard

      Provide the guard with a telephone or two-way radio so he could alert the kibbutz is there was trouble (or even to check in on a regular basis).

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