Access Control For Gated Communities
Access Control for Gated Communities
Access Control For Gated Communities

With concern over safety and security growing, more and more people are choosing to live in gated communities.  

What are gated communities and why are they growing more desireable? A gated community, as the name implies, is a neighborhood with controlled access using one or more gates that residents or visitors must pass through to gain access.

Perhaps the foremost reason why people choose to live in a gated community is for safety and security. Because access to the community is controlled, chances of vandalism, theft and other crimes are reduced.

The Key Elements of Electronic Access Control Systems for Gated Communities

There are a number of methods that can be used to control access in gated communities. The combination of methods that is implemented will largely be dictated by the needs of the community, the number of access points, the security level required and or course, the budget earmarked for the system.    

An access control system is composed of these 3 elements:

Control Panel and Software.  This is essentially the “brain” of the system. This contains the database of the approved people and credentials. It controls as well, the commands for each door or gate within the community - time schedules, security levels, etc.

Entry Devices. This refers to the actual devices used to gain entry to the property. What options are available?

     a. Keypad. Keypads allow access to someone who knows the code. The disadvantage to this is the possibility of becoming locked out if you forget the code. People can also “look over your shoulder” to obtain the code and gain access to the property.  

Further there is a risk of authorized people sharing the code with guests, visitors, and workmen, and before you know it, there is a reduction in security. The suggestion, rather than one universal code, is to have an individual code for each resident and employee.  In that way, if they do share their code and a problem occurs, it is still traceable to that individual
   
     b. Key Card or Fob Reader. The card reader system is ideal for properties with many people needing to gain access to a property. It makes it possible to configure access control to different doors and gates. It also makes it possible to issue different cards, depending on how they are going to be used. And when a card is misplaced, it is simple to deactivate it. This eliminates the risk of it being used to illegally gain entry to the premises.

What are the practical applications? Residents can be issued cards or fobs that  are used to open the gates to the community and access public areas that are off limits to non-residents such as the pool or the gym. Contractors may be issued cards that allow entry during very specific times or time periods only. Temporary cards may be issued for visitors, the validity of which expire once they exit the property.

     c. Biometric Readers.  In recent years, use of biometrics to control access has been increasing. Because personal physical characteristics are used as credentials, the need for cards or fobs with a unique code is eliminated. The most popular ones used now are retina scanners, fingerprint readers, and hand geometry readers.

     d. Radio Frequency Transmitters. Most commonly known as a clicker, this is still the favorite way to open gates. Each resident is issued a unit and though this is very simple to use, it has some disadvantages. One needs to remember to replace the batteries and a lost transmitter can compromise security.  

The choices for transmitters can range from the most basic where each transmitter issued has the same code. Or it could be more complex where an access control database manages the transmitters and which can be programmed remotely through a phone line.

The third element in an access control system for gated communities is the Emergency Vehicle Access Control System. It is important to have protocols in place so that security is optimized.  However, there should also be a supplement system that is able respond quickly should emergency vehicles (police patrol and firetrucks) need access to the community.  

Some systems have devices that respond to the strobe lights on emergency vehicles that trigger the opening of a gate. Some have devices that respond to a special frequency on the emergency radio.

Unique to the fire department, a special key is used to gain access to gated communities within its jurisdiction during emergency situations. A special key switch is installed and this opens the gate when the fire department uses its unique key.

An Additional Benefit of Electronic Access Control Is a Full Audit Trail

Electronic access control systems have the capability of keeping time-stamped records of all entries and exits.  When a security breach or incident has occurred an audit trail can be very helpful in showing who entered the building/property corresponding to the time of the incident.

Dick’s Lock and Safe Offers the Best Access Control Solutions for Gated
Communities

Dick's Lock and Safe specializes in providing access control solutions for gated communities.  Commitment to great customer service coupled with our long years in the industry has made us the best commercial locksmith in Orange County.

Call us today for a free onsite property review and estimate.


Tags: access control, commercial locksmith, gated communities, keyless entry systems, key card systems