THE GUARD

Like many of you who live in apartments, I take my garbage and recycling to a secure room somewhere in a common area. Again, like many of you, this room is frequently located in the secured parking area of the apartment complex. This was in fact, the case for me when I first moved into my apartment. Things slightly changed when they started developing the retail portion of the complex down. We were told our initial parking spots would be eventually be the public parking spots for the mall, so they had to re-assign spots for the residents. Everyone wound up parking at the higher levels of the parking area (all our parking is above ground).

The vacated spots just sat empty for well over a year. Every time I went to dump my garbage in the garbage room, I’d see rows and rows of empty parking spots where residents used to park but now had no vehicles. For more than a year, this was the familiar sight that greeted me. Then earlier this month, the first part of the mall was declared open and when that happened, the public needed a place to park. The mall opened on a Thursday. I remember taking my garbage downstairs on the Tuesday and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. When I took out the garbage again on Friday night, I realized my garbage room was located in the parking area of a public mall. Everything was different. Signs were up directing shoppers to where stores were. Lines were repainted on the pavement. I suddenly felt like I was in a mall parking lot, which I guess was the truth.

The odd thing I noticed which doors were secure and locked from the public and which were not. The garbage room itself is fob secured, so while it is technically out in the open for the public to see, you still need a fob to open the door. There is however, this odd little space where anyone in the public can get into when residents go to get back into the lobby where the elevators are. The door to this little room from the parking area is not locked nor secured, anyone can go into this room. The little room has three doors in it. One goes to the public parking area (so residents can get to the garbage room), this is not secure. Another door leads to the staircase which gives you access to the residential floors. This door is permanently locked. The final door leads to the lobby and this is also fob controlled.

I though this was a bit weird because anyone from the public can walk into the parking area, go through this door and then just chill out. It’s got no windows so no one can see you in that room. From there, you can just wait until someone comes in from the lobby and now that person has gotten inside the building. They can also try to work the lock to the staircase, which then gives them access to many of the residential floors. The security company that is employed by my strata must have realized this as well because it didn’t take long for them to station a guard in that little room. To give you an idea where this guy sits, take a look at this diagram:

Not to scale...

The red doors are fob secured. The black door is not locked. I’ve noticed the guard is stationed in this little concrete room during the evenings, probably for most the of the night. The room isn’t that big, it’s got drab and gray concrete walls, and it’s unheated. When I pass through this room, I usually see the guard sitting on a metal, fold up chair and a big thermos of what is probably coffee next to him. Sometimes the guard has a book for reading. I think it must be terrible to get stuck with that assignment, sitting in an unheated, small concrete room with no windows for hours a time.

I believe it’s a big waste of resources to have a single guard dedicated to just watching this one small room. They need to make that unsecured door which leads to the public parking area into a secured one that requires a fob. Until then, some poor soul has to sit there waiting for bad people to come in from that door. I wonder how many people he’s caught. I should ask him that the next time I see him.

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