How Secure Is That Florida Gated Community?

Gated communities in Florida
One of the most requested features among those searching for new Florida communities is that they be gated.

But there are various types of gated communities in Florida, some more secure than others.

Here’s a look at the different types of gated communities in Florida you may come across in your search, as well as information about each type that will help you pick the one that’s right for you.

Automatic Gates

Due to their cost effectiveness, this is probably the most common form of gated community you will come across in new Florida communities.

How they work is there will either be a gate arm that raises and lowers or a bigger metal/aluminum gate that swings open.

You’ll typically have a button on your garage door remote programmed to open the gate.

Gates like this will also have a call box so that visitors, mail carriers and service people can get into the community when needed.

Each resident will have their name programmed into the call box. When a visitor gets to the gate, they’ll find your name in the list and it will ring to your house. You’ll press a designated combination of keys on your phone to grant them access and the gate will open.

You’ll also be given your own passcode (usually a 4-digit number) so that you can get in the gate if you find yourself without your opener and nobody at home to buzz you in.

A major security drawback with this kind of gated community is that all to often residents give out their 4-digit security code to their visitors and service people. As soon as these codes pass from residents to non-residents, security is compromised.

Some communities with automatic gates also have video cameras installed at the entry and exit points, which can be helpful for solving crimes after the fact, but not so good when it comes to prevention.

Guard Gated

The next step up is a guard gated community. These communities typically have a guard shack where the gate attendant will be located. Some communities hire professionals for this role, while other communities depend on residents taking turns staffing the gate.

So that residents are not delayed entering their own community, there will usually be two lanes, one for residents and one for non-residents. Residents will typically have a sticker in the corner of their windshield so the gate attendant knows to let them pass.

The guards definitely act as a deterrent and keep the lookyloo’s out of the community. These communities are probably more secure than those with automatic gates, but still not as secure as the kind we’ll discuss next.

It’s also important to note that some guard gated communities only staff the gates during the day, and revert to the automatic gate system at night.

Guard Gated with Roving Patrols

As far as gated communities in Florida go, this is about as secure as they get.

Plantation Bay is a 24-hour guard gated community with roving patrols.

In addition to the guarded entry gate we already discussed, communities like Plantation Bay add roving patrols to the mix.

The roving patrols perform several valuable functions. The most obvious one is that they drive around the community looking for anything suspicious or out of place.

In many communities with roving patrols, residents can alert the security staff if they’ll be leaving for long stretches at a time and the security staff will perform periodic “house checks” making sure all the doors are locked, windows are closed and so on.

Last but not least the roving patrols can assist residents with things like flat tires, or help visitors find where they are going in the community.

Why Don’t All Communities Go With Guards and Roving Patrols?

The main reason most communities forgo guards and roving patrols is cost. It’s expensive to hire companies with trained professionals to staff the gates. Add roving patrols to the mix and you have not only the additional manpower but the costs of gas and vehicle maintenance to contend with.

So in the early days of a community when very few residents have moved in, developers will be the ones footing the bill for all this and many simply don’t want to do that.

In some of the communities you’ll look at, the developer will build a guard shack and tell prospective buyers that once there are enough residents, they (the residents) can decide if they want to foot the bill to have it staffed.

This always sounds like a reasonable explanation but I can tell you that the amount of communities I’ve seen decide to add guards after the fact is precisely zero.

Residents get used to paying whatever it is they’re paying and when they see how much it’s going to cost for guards, they balk.

So if this level of security with guard gated with roving patrols is important to you, there’s a lot of benefit in choosing a well-established community like Plantation Bay where this type of security is already in place and funded by thousands of residents rather than a few hundred. Essentially the more households the costs are spread across, the less each individual has to pay.

There Is No “Perfect” Solution

From personal experience I can tell you that no matter which kind of gated community you choose, there’s still a chance crime will occur.

I grew up in a gated community with roving patrols and when I was 17 my car was stolen right out of my garage.

But with a quick call to the front gate, the entry and exit gates were immediately shut down and the thief was not able to leave the community. They had to ditch my car and take off on foot. They got away, but not with my car.

Had I lived in a community that wasn’t gated or just had an automatic gate, I may never have seen that car again.

What’s the Best Option for You?

As you search for the perfect Florida community, you’ll have to decide for yourself which kind of gated community is best for you.

But if you’d like more information about Plantation Bay, a guard gated community with roving patrols, you can request a complete brochure here.