Sgt. Mark Tonner of the Vancouver Police, in his article from this weekend’s Province titled ‘Keys to Safety: How can we help you if we can’t get inside your building‘, once again brought up the issue of the Police having trouble responding to ‘secured’ suites in Vancouver apartment buildings. His article, which was not the first time that he has brought up this issue, was about a recent incident where a man with a gun was firing shots inside of a 23rd floor apartment. The VPD Emergency Response Team had a tough time trying to get up to the suite … slowed down at every turn by security systems designed to keep criminals out.
In his article, Sgt. Tonner mentions a VPD initiative to get lockboxes installed in building lobbies. Specifically, he refers to the lockboxes as "tubular, sunk flush in concrete, more or less impossible to break."
Of course, nothing is impossible to break … which is one of the reasons that I so strongly encourage stratas NOT to install a lockbox in their building. Another reason is that in many cases where the lockboxes are compromised, access is gained through the use of stolen keys (as has happened on many occasions with Fire Department lockboxes). In cases where access is forced, the crooks simply drill through the faceplate. The simple fact is that there is very little accountability with a lockbox.
I wrote about this issue a couple months ago in a post titled Condo Security Systems Working Against the Police where I offered an easy solution to this problem that simultaneously addresses the concerns about access that Sgt. Tonner raised as well as eliminates the significant security risks that exist in the vast majority of buildings.
On our website, we have a short video that talks about the use of our remote management service by one of our clients, Pacific Rim Services, in Abbotsford. The application is a little different, but the service is the same… in the event of an emergency, we can remotely and securely allow access to anyone who is authorized to gain entry. Provided that a Strata has given us written permission to allow access upon request by Fire, Paramedics, the Police, Postman or anyone else… we can do it within seconds, 24 hours a day.
Incidentally, we provide this service to buildings throughout Canada as well as several in the United States.