The Condition of Security of Gated Communities under Private Governance: Findings from Residents’ Experiences and Opinions
The number of gated communities is rapidly increasing worldwide. Although security has always been one of the most appealing features of gated communities, studies show that there is no significant difference in crime rates between gated communities and surrounding non-gated neighbourhoods. How safe are gated communities? How effective are the enhanced security measures of gated communities in preventing crime? Are residents responsible for the condition of security in gated communities? All these questions need to be addressed to improve the safety and security of residents of gated communities. The study aims to examine the condition of security of gated communities by drawing on the experiences and opinions of residents. It used a quantitative approach, with a descriptive methodology. Surveys were distributed to residents of seven sample gated communities in Auckland. Survey results were analysed by descriptive statistics and cross-tabulations. In conclusion, the study found that the condition of security of Auckland gated communities is generally good as experienced and perceived by surveyed residents. ‘Security’ was regarded as one of the most significant factors for moving into a gated community. The majority of residents felt safe and secure both inside the property and within the community, and believed that their community was experiencing less crime than surrounding neighbourhoods. The study also found that the building manager, rather than the Owners’ Committee or the Body Corporate secretary, was identified as the most significant agent in the management of security related issues. The building manager was heavily relied by both residents and members of the Owners’ Committee. The study has presented basic findings about gated communities in the light of security and private governance. However, more research is needed to obtain sufficient data to discover the elements of successful crime prevention for gated communities.