G4S protects gated Florida community

In the early 1920s, architect Addison Mizner envisioned Florida's Palm Beach as the perfect place to realize his vision that “the intersection of man and nature can benefit the former without harming the latter.” Decades later, in the late 1990s, development of the Addison Reserve community was inspired by Mizner's vision, featuring Mediterranean architecture that evokes “Old Florida” charm highlighted alongside the state's natural beauty including towering palms, stately oaks, flowering foliage and exotic grasses.

Security is a high priority at Addison Reserve, a member owned and operated community in Delray Beach, Florida, featuring first-class amenities and 717 luxury single-family homes situated on 653 meticulously landscaped acres. To paraphrase Addison Mizner, the intersection of security and lifestyle at the high-end community needs to benefit the former without harming the latter.

Addison Reserve residents value security and privacy. , Volunteers who are part of the homeowners’ association understand neighborhood expectations, needs and operational requirements are paramount to providing effective security. So it’s no surprise that security officers have become an intrinsic part of the community. The job requires sensitivity to privacy, the family home and neighborhood property. In addition to providing protection, security officers often have to serve as ambassadors to visitors and residents.

“Our challenge is to provide security without being intrusive, allowing residents and their guests to enjoy an elegant Florida lifestyle without feeling overly guarded,” said Ron Davis, President, Addison Reserve Master Property Owners Association. “Our vision has always been to develop effective safety and security programs, yet support our community atmosphere.”

A Range of Security Services

Members began arriving at Addison Reserve in 1996, and in May 2002, the community became owned and operated by members. Since the beginning, G4S Secure Solutions has provided a range of safety and security programs for the Addison Reserve community, including a combination of manpower, technology and innovation.

G4S security officers greet residents and guests at the gatehouses and serve as “ambassadors” to the community. Behind the scenes, and perhaps not as apparent to community residents, security officers also operate software called the G4S Visitor Control System (VCS), providing functions such as visitor access control, a detailed visitor and vehicle database and information on banned visitors. The system also handles incident management, facility inspection, ticketing and detailed reporting.

Security gates are manned 24-hours a day, and armed patrols and state-of-the-art perimeter monitoring foil intruders and ensure residents' peace of mind. Each resident has the benefit of a centrally monitored alarm system, on-site security and medical response assistance.

Addison Reserve needed perimeter security; however, the community, which is steeped in Mizner-style architecture and grand landscaped vistas, did not want a traditional security fence. Instead, G4S uses a wireless, solar-powered, infrared beam fencing system linked into the community's visitor control system.

G4S Custom Protection Officer personnel inside Addison Reserve are armed and provide a variety of services such as gate access, guarding community assets, traffic assistance, parking enforcement and alarm monitoring.

In addition to G4S CPO personnel, two types of specialized officers work at Addison Reserve. The G4S Special Response Teams (SRT) patrol using off-road vehicles around the community's perimeter and golf courses. The SRTs also join alarm responders as an additional roving security force. G4S Advanced Life Support (ALS) officers are state and county EMS-licensed. They drive a special response vehicle outfitted with an automated external defibrillator (AED) and equipped with primary first aid equipment for life threatening health emergencies. While they do not transport patients to the hospital, they are often first on the scene to address serious medical issues.

“If a resident or a guest needs help during a life-threatening emergency, they dial 911. Our community (ALS) paramedics are dispatched along with the county paramedics,” said John D'Agata, G4S General Manager. “Typically, because our paramedics are on site, they will be the first responders on the scene of a health or medical emergency.”

“It gives residents a sense of feeling safe because paramedics are here on site every day and familiar to them,” said Mr. Davis. “Residents have used this service at least once a day during the year. People are quite surprised how often it is used.”

Responding to Community Needs

The Addison Reserve community needs its security company to provide a professional atmosphere of partnership in working with and reporting to various layers of administration and community boards. Addison Reserve Country Club's professional staff manages operations of the club with oversight divided between the Club Board of Governors and the Board of Directors of the Master Property Owners Association. Each of 19 villages has its own Property Owners Association to manage village affairs and to maintain common areas and roadways.

When Addison Reserve management became interested in specifics about patrol locations within their community, G4S provided a system based on the global positioning system (GPS) to track patrol locations.

“It's very easy to know if an officer in the gatehouse is doing his job because they are either there or they are not,” said Mr. D'Agata. “When there was a question about patrols and posts, we placed GPS in each vehicle to allow the community's director of security to review the night before or on a random basis whether or not officers are patrolling the way they should according to the contract. “

Impact of Security

The popularity of gated communities is on the rise. More than 7 million households – about 6 percent of the national total – are in developments behind walls and fences. About 4 million are in communities where access is controlled by gates, entry codes, key cards or security guards.

“Providing security for gated communities such as Addison Reserve requires understanding of the needs of individual communities and customizing security personnel, programs, technology and services to meet those needs,” says Mr. D'Agata. “Benefits to the community include the ability for residents to live in a safe and secure neighborhood without losing the atmosphere that brought them into the community in the first place,” he adds.

When effectively deployed, contract security services can have a significant impact on a community's quality of life. As a direct result of the G4S security and safety contract in Addison Reserve, the community has been relatively crime-free since 2002, as when compared to surrounding communities.