From multifamily properties to commercial spaces, gates provide maximum security for residents and tenants. They prevent trespassers and other unwanted visitors from entering the property. But to maintain security while managing property access, you need gate access control.
There are many solutions to control access at a community entrance gate, from intercoms for gates to vehicle detection systems. Read on to learn more about gated community access control, how it works, and why you need it.
In this guide, we explain:
- How does a gated community work?
- How do you secure a gated community?
- Ways gated community access control systems work
- Benefits of gated community access control
- The best gated community access control system
How does a gated community work?
To begin, the term “gated community” refers to any property with controlled access using gates or other physical barriers. Some communities have booths with security staff to manually check each person’s identification before allowing them through the access gate. Others have an automated gate that opens when a resident scans their access card or fob.
Over the decades, a gated community has become a desired security amenity for residential and commercial tenants. Usually, a gated community has a name and a clear geographical perimeter that separates itself from non-gated areas. And, gated communities can exist in any location – cities, suburban towns, and rural areas. They range in size from a few homes to hundreds.
However, gated communities aren’t just properties with single-family homes or apartments. They also include college dorms, secondary schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and many other types of properties.
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What does gated access mean?
Gated access means that a physical barrier restricts access to a residential or commercial property. Consequently, only authorized tenants, staff, and visitors will have the necessary credentials to enter the property or premises.
Is there a universal gate code for gated communities?
No, there is no universal gate code for gated communities. That’s because having a universal access code defeats a gated community’s purpose of protecting tenants from unauthorized and unwanted visitors. Therefore, every gated community has a different access control system that designates authorized people who can enter.
Why gated communities are worth it
There are various benefits of gated communities that make them worth it. For one, the gates give tenants peace of mind. Residential gated communities help residents feel confident that only authorized people can access the property. Also, they add an extra layer of security for families with young children by providing a secure space for them to play. Residential gate access control systems facilitate access into and out of those multifamily communities.
The same goes for schools and college dorms – and even nursing homes and hospitals. Gated communities are a great way to keep tenants safe by preventing unauthorized visitors from entering.
How do you secure a gated community?
The best way to secure a gated community is to install an access control system. Gated community access control entails anything that manages access into and out of a gated property. A gated community or HOA access control system is a device you use to ensure tenants and authorized guests can enter your property while fending off unwanted trespassers. As such, gated access is a great way to keep your property and community safe.
Do gated communities have less crime?
Yes. Statistically, gated communities have fewer crimes than non-gated communities. A 2013 study in The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Criminology found that gated communities experience 33% fewer burglaries than non-gated communities. Although crime statistics vary with the types of gates and access control systems that a property has installed, access gates typically do a good job keeping crime rates low in communities.
To maximize security even further, residents or property owners can install additional security systems – such as smart locks and video intercoms – at the entrance of individual units. Especially in gated multifamily communities, you should purchase systems that seamlessly integrate with your property’s HOA gate system.
Ways visitors can enter a gated community
Here are two ways visitors access a gated community:
- Through a gate intercom or telephone entry system: Visitors can request access by calling a tenant through either an intercom or a telephone entry system. These systems have a directory of current tenants that visitors can scroll through to find a specific resident.
- By requesting access from a gate attendant: If there’s no entry system at the gate, an attendant at the entrance checks visitors’ credentials and calls tenants to confirm the guest.
First responders – like police officers or firefighters – usually have unique access credentials into the gated community and don’t need to request access. In fact, there are designated access keys – such as Knox or Supra – just for first responders to enter gated communities. Other access control systems have a special feature that works only for emergency vehicles – it activates when first responders trigger the strobe lights or key emergency radios. This feature overrides the electronic gates and opens the entrance for a short period of time, allowing the emergency vehicle to enter.
Ways gated community access control systems work
A gated community access control system works by requiring anyone seeking property access to verify their identity. The system then cross-references the person’s credentials with its database. And if the credential matches an authorized user, the system allows the gate to open.
The system verifies the credentials of the person requesting access in one of three ways:
- Requesting a PIN code
- Scanning an RFID (via smartphone app or physical card/fob)
- Performing a facial or vehicle recognition scan
The access control system is connected to the gate opener, which is the mechanical device that physically opens the gate. When the system verifies someone’s credentials, it sends an electronic signal to the gate opener.
There are two main types of gate openers:
- Sliding gate opener: A motorized system with gears that pushes the gate to slide along a track on the ground.
- Swinging arm gate opener: A mechanical system that swings the gate open or closed.
Benefits of gated community access control
Now that we’ve gone over what gated communities are and how their access control systems work, let’s discuss the benefits of gated community access control.
Placing an access control system at your gated property can help you retain renters year after year and attract new tenants to fill vacancies quickly. Also, residential properties in gated communities are valued at nearly $30,000 higher than non-gated properties.
Here are four benefits of gated community access control:
- Frees up property staff’s time. Having an access control system at your gated community frees your property staff from security booth duty. As a result, you’ll reduce expenses and eliminate the need to staff late-night and third shifts. During the day, the property staff can allocate their time to addressing more urgent requests from residents, which keeps them happy.
- Ease of access for residential and commercial tenants. If you install a smartphone-based access control system – such as an IP gate intercom – residents can open the gate from their phones. That means residents can grant themselves or their guests access from anywhere with just a tap. Their gated community gate opener is right under their fingertips as a mobile app.
- Prevents traffic congestion. The last thing tenants want to do when entering and exiting the gated community is to sit in traffic. A gated community without an efficient access control system may take as long as five minutes to verify each vehicle or visitor before allowing them access. However, with effective access control, tenants and authorized visitors can request access within seconds. This streamlines the flow of traffic and prevents cars from stacking up at the gate entrance.
- Reduces and eliminates tailgating. Tailgating, in this context, refers to an unauthorized vehicle following a tenant or other authorized vehicle so closely that it can pass through the gate while it remains open. Installing a video gate intercom as your access control solution captures video of those unauthorized vehicles or guests. Then, you can immediately address the unwanted visitor and have them vacate the premises. A robust and secure gated community access control system prevents potential intruders from even trying to enter.
The best gated community access control system
If your gated property doesn’t have an access control system or uses an outdated one, it’s time to invest in a gate intercom system. A gate intercom system not only opens and closes gates but also lets residents grant access to their guests.
The ButterflyMX gate intercom system fulfills all access control system needs at your gated community. And it offers several ways to open the gate. As such, residents can vet their visitors themselves, whether for food delivery or dinner party guests.