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Security Design Considerations for Commercial Developments


  • Parking area gates. Install gates at entrances or entries that close at night. Alternatively you can have a less expensive system of gates that are manually opened and closed, this secondary method has increased operating costs in addition to inherent problems as tenants often forget to close gates. In general, gates will significantly reduce issues like:
    • Drive by garbage dumping
    • Drive in theft
    • Loitering by drug dealers / vagrants


  • Common area doors: Install an access control system where common doors are opened and closed automatically (not really an issue if there is only one office tenant).
  • Ensure exterior door hardware for retail, office and common area is the highest of quality; these doors experience very high traffic levels and cheap hardware wears out quickly.
  • Astragal panels: This is the long metal strip that protects the door from break-ins. This is better addressed early on so it can be matched and does not look like an add-on.
  • Hidden hinges rather than typical pin hinges also help to deter thieves


  • Design night time lighting scheme with theft, vandalism, and loitering in mind. 
  • Although it is important to focus on high value areas (mechanical / electrical rooms, garbage enclosures, retail entrances) property perimeters are also important to keep well lit.
  • High-power LED is both the brightest and cheapest


  • Despite common belief, cameras are not effective at stopping theft. Although cameras aid peace of mind, they do little to repel theft, break-ins, in the middle of the night.
  • Camera footage is often too grainy or shadowed to decipher people’s identity.