Gated communities give residents a greater sense of security, reduce vehicle traffic, limit solicitors, and offer many other benefits. In fact, many prospective renters say gated access is an important factor in signing or renewing a lease. But there are challenges associated with gated entrances that can leave tenants feeling frustrated or even unsafe. The most common is someone tailgating a resident into the community while the gate is open.
So how do you solve this problem? Read on to learn about how you can reduce tailgating at gated communities with a gate intercom system.
In this post, we’ll review:
- What is tailgating?
- Why guard stations aren’t enough to mitigate tailgating
- How gate intercom systems prevent tailgating
- Other ways to reduce tailgating at gated communities
What is tailgating?
“Tailgating” in the context of a gated property refers to an unauthorized vehicle that follows a resident or another authorized individual so closely that they can pass through the gate while it remains open.
Also called “piggybacking,” tailgating is a serious security breach — though not all tailgating has malicious intent. People often tailgate during busy times of the day to reduce their wait time as cars begin to stack up at the gate. In other cases, it’s just an authorized resident who tailgates because they forgot their fob or access credentials. It might even be a resident’s guest following the resident home in their own vehicle.
That said, tailgating is still a threat to staff and residents’ safety, so it’s best to prevent it altogether.
And safety isn’t the only thing at stake — other common risks of tailgating include:
- Physical damage to the gate, which can lead to costly repairs
- A negative reputation for your community caused by a perception that it’s unsafe
Why guard stations aren’t enough to mitigate tailgating
So how can you reduce or prevent tailgating in your community? Historically, the most popular solution to securely and effectively manage gate access has been to build a guard station staffed 24/7 by a gate attendant. Gate attendants are tasked with verifying residents’ identities and vetting visitors before granting them property access.
But this solution presents two distinct challenges:
- First of all, it’s expensive. In addition to the upfront costs associated with building a guard station, staffing the station 24/7 can easily exceed $150,000 per year.
- The other challenge is that it can be slow. Manually verifying permissions and calling residents to confirm guests can lead to a traffic jam at your gate.
Those seeking an alternative to a fully staffed guard station should consider a better tailgating solution: a gate intercom system.
Gate intercoms reduce tailgating at gated communities
Whether you lack the space for a physical guard station, want to avoid the construction or staffing expense, or are simply seeking a more efficient option, it’s time to invest in a gate entry system.
Gate intercoms make gated community access control simple. By installing an intercom at the front entrance of your property, you can speed up the flow of traffic and mitigate common access issues such as tailgating, car stacking, and more.
Choosing the best gate intercom system is critical. Partner with a well-respected gate intercom provider to deliver the best access experience and generate the highest level of tenant and visitor satisfaction.
To prevent tailgating with a gate intercom system, choose one with the following four features:
1. Select a multi-tenant system
Be sure to choose a multi-tenant gate intercom system — not a single-station system — so visitors can contact residents directly to gain access.
Because the resident can immediately identify the visitor and approve entry, vehicles can pass through the gates much faster than if they had to wait for their information to be recorded by a gate attendant. Fewer cars in line means shorter wait times, which decreases the likelihood that an individual will try to piggyback another vehicle through the gate.
2. Mobile app-based intercom system
Another way to improve traffic flow at your gated entrance is to install an app-based gate intercom system. A gate entry system with a mobile app means that visitors can reach residents at any time, even if they aren’t home.
Residents can remotely grant property access for visitors through the intercom’s mobile app on their smartphones. With a single swipe or push of a button, tenants can open the gate from anywhere.
App-based gate entry systems cut down on wait times for guests seeking property access, and for residents who can quickly open the gate for themselves with their smartphones. Once again, a faster flow of traffic reduces the chances of tailgating.
3. Virtual keys and PIN codes for quick access
Another way to facilitate smoother gate entry and reduce tailgating is by choosing an intercom with features like virtual keys and PIN codes. Many cloud-based gate intercom systems like ButterflyMX offer these features.
Tenants can create and send virtual keys to visitors ahead of time. Guests receive a QR code that can be used on-demand, eliminating the need to call upon arrival. Codes can be single-use for one-time visitors or deliveries or multiple-use for regular visitors such as housekeepers or dog walkers.
4. Built-in camera and audit trail
A gate intercom system with a camera will prevent tailgating naturally by acting as a deterrent to would-be piggybackers. When visitors see the camera on the intercom, they’ll see themselves reflected back on the screen and sense the feeling of being watched. This impression is usually enough to stop them from breaking the rules.
Make sure your gate entry system goes a step beyond just a camera. Choose one that also provides an audit trail of gate access activity. The ability to record and review every gate access event enhances security and can help you identify tailgaters.
Other ways to reduce tailgating at gated communities
Installing a gate intercom system that secures your front gate and improves ease of entry is one way to minimize tailgating. However, you might want to complement your intercom with additional solutions.
You can combat tailgating with:
Typically made of wood or aluminum, barrier arms block the entrance and lift vertically to allow vehicles to pass. Barrier arms open and close faster than slide or swing access gates, making it easier to prevent tailgating.
Unlike their predecessors, many of today’s barrier arms are designed with breakaway technology that helps eliminate the need for repairs if the arm is struck by a vehicle.
Installing a speed bump or even several speed bumps before the access gate or in addition to a barrier arm limits the likelihood that someone will approach the entrance too fast. A speed bump after the gate can also deter tailgating by slowing down an authorized vehicle’s entry just enough to prevent the car behind it from passing through, too.
Speed bumps tend to be inexpensive solutions that require little maintenance and have proven effective at deterring tailgating.
If you have not already done so, develop a “no tailgating” policy for your community and distribute it to all residents. Clearly explain that each tenant who enters the community or passes through any secured access point should use their unique access credentials. Consider posting these requirements at access points as well.
You can also inform residents of the risks of tailgating and provide helpful tips on what they can do to minimize tailgating, such as stopping and waiting for access gates to close before driving away. Clearly communicate what residents should do if they witness unauthorized tailgating or if they experience any issues with access equipment.