Sun, 07 Sep 2003

Tenants get extra protection following Marriott incident

Sudibyo M. Wiradji, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

High-rise apartments and townhouses are beefing up their security systems to protect tenants from threats of danger in the wake of the recent bombing of JW Marriott hotel.

The blast that killed 10 people last month, early last month, has boosted the awareness of high-rise apartment and townhouse operators about the need to have a reliable security system that can immediately detect any break-in or threat to security at an earlier stage.

As a preventive measure, for instance, most apartments and townhouses have established layered security checks. Anyone and any vehicles entering the area of an apartment are subject to a thorough security inspection by security personnel armed with metal detectors and mirrors at the front gate.

Other security guards will carry out a further inspection of guests at the apartment front desk where, based on the approval of the tenant with whom the guest wants to meet, the guards will determine whether the guest is allowed to proceed inside or not.

To ensure an optimal result, many apartments have not only provided more training for their security personnel but also installed new security equipment. Some have even hired security personnel from security companies to manage and operate their security system.

"Personnel hired from a security company are generally more professional," said Gatot Setyadi, the marketing manager of The Pakubuwono Residence apartment complex, now under construction.

In addition to hiring security professionals, The Pakubuwono Residence management has also set up sophisticated IT-based infrastructure allowing would-be tenants to monitor and control their units through panels or remotely through the use of the Internet at any time and from anywhere.

The Pakubuwono Residence, which will have five towers and 639 apartment units, is strategically located on Jl. Pakubuwono 6 No. 68, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta. Construction of the apartment is expected to be completed by December 2005.

Several apartments in Jakarta such as Aston International and Allson Residence have recently tightened their in-house security systems with the assistance of the police.

Aston, for example, has tightened all security check procedures, especially at the apartment's front gate.

"Only registered guests are allowed to enter and use an elevator going to a guest room," said Aston International's marketing and communications manager Nieke P. Handayani.

She said that all emergency doors were subject to inspection every 30 minutes to ensure that the doors were closed.

In anticipation of unexpected incidents, Aston also plans refresher training programs for its security personnel. The subjects include basic security awareness, security skills and bomb awareness. "Our hotel management staff must also attend bomb awareness training sessions," Nieke said.

Allson Residence in Senen, Central Jakarta, has also set up an in-house security system offering round-the-clock service, with an efficient and effective system.

"As a preventive measure, we have intensified our efforts to safeguard vital places, carry out control of crime-prone sites and inspect objects that could cause a security threat," said Ung Beng Huat, general manager of the 23-floor Allson Residence.

"We have also established a partnership with the local police station from which we get updated information on the security situation and receive assistance immediately in the event of a security-related incident," he said.

Besides improving the skill of their security personnel, most of the city's apartments have also installed state-of-the-art security devices.

These include closed-circuit television (CCTV) monitors, fire/emergency control panels, house videophone, smoke detectors, computerized access cards and metal detectors.

With CCTV monitors placed next to receptionists on the front desk, security personnel on duty can monitor any activities in different areas, such as the entrances, driveways, front door, plays areas, the nursery, garages and backyard.

Beside CCTV monitors, each tenant's unit is connected to a house videophone installed at a reception room equipped with cameras. It allows tenants to monitor anyone wishing to meet them even when they (the guests) are still at the front desk or lobby so that tenants can see whether they recognize the guests.

In accordance with standard procedures, anyone wishing to meet a tenant is required to wait at the front desk. "Security personnel will not escort the guest to meet the tenant until the tenant asks them to do so," said Ung Beng Huat.

As part of the security system, most apartment operators have also installed a special device on elevators that can limit guest access to floors.

Employees, staff and even tenants in most apartments are also involved in security awareness. They are, for example, asked to report suspicious people to security if they see them trying to enter the apartment complex.

"Our employees are asked to pay great attention to suspicious objects and always cooperate with security personnel in accordance with their responsibilities," said Tamanpuri Oasis assistant marketing manager Bertha M. Gani.

Even though most apartments have not revamped their existing guidelines regarding security matters for tenants following the Marriott bombing, tenants have responded positively to strict security systems or procedures adopted by their respective apartments or townhouses.

"Tenants have shown their willingness to cooperate in this regard by cooperating with the checking of guests' cars or those of their staff," she added.

Ratu Neilla of the Plaza Residence, said, "we have not (issued) specific regulations but tenants are encouraged to report anything suspicious."