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The Pros and Cons of a Gated Community

by Bill Ness on 13 Comments

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While gated communities offer a prestigious atmosphere, the extra security is somewhat debatable.

When it comes to living in a gated community there are certainly some debatable pros and cons. Some active adults like the way community gates limit pass-through traffic, while detractors think they are more of a hindrance which provide a false sense of security. Choosing to live in a gated community is a personal preference, yet here are a few points to consider before coming down on either side of the fence.

One point to keep in mind is that there are different types of gated active adult communities. Some communities feature 24-hour staffed gatehouses and others simply use automated gates with a security code. Even in guard-gated communities, there may only be a guard at the main entrance, leaving additional gates to operate on security codes.

Gates which operate on security codes alone provide very little security. Residents often give their security codes out to friends, extended family members, contractors, housecleaners, dog walkers and other service providers. You should never assume that a community is only accessible to current residents.

Having an actual person at the gate can provide a bit more security than an automated gate, because it provides an extra set of eyes and ears to watch over the comings and goings. However, the guard is not infallible and residents should not rely on a guard alone to protect their homes.

When it comes to crime statistics, reports suggest that there is no difference between gated communities and their open counterparts. Burglaries do happen in gated communities. There are ways for criminals to get into gated communities and the gates are not enough of a deterrent for the affluent homes which may appeal to burglars.

Although gated communities may not be safer from crime than other neighborhoods, there are reasons why some homeowners find them appealing. The gates are likely to cut down on pass-through traffic, making the streets a bit quieter. Guard-gated communities may also offer a more exclusive atmosphere, and some homeowners simply like the added prestige of living in a gated neighborhood.

Even in gated communities, every homeowner should take measures to protect their own safety. At the most basic level this means locking your home’s doors and windows and keeping your garage door shut. You can also protect your home with safety devices and a monitored home security system.

There are pros and cons to living in a gated community. The added security is debatable, but that hasn’t stopped them from being a popular destination for many active adult retirees. If you’ve lived in a gated community, let us know what you’ve liked (or not liked) about the experience in the comments below.

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  1. I lived in a gated community in the Rehoboth Beach, DE area for several years. The gates were only manned during daylight hours and not at all in winter. I felt that the amount we paid into our association fees for “security” was wasteful.

    1. I lived in a gated community in Tampa. The subdivision is responsible for street repairs and upkeep since they are not open to the public the city will do nothing. We got a hefty “special” assessment when the main road needed to be repaved. A heavy delivery truck on a hot day ruined the asphalt and left big ridges. So the HOA decided the entire development would look more uniform if it was all done. Gate operated on a code and was slow to swing open. Fire Department and local ambulances were hindered at times getting in quickly.

  2. This was a very useful article. I have been researching the market with the aim of finding a place to call my “last home” and was considering the virtues of a gated community. Now I have a better grasp of the pros and cons. Think I’ll stick to something without.
    Thanks for the info.

  3. We had already decided on a non-gated community in Arizona, much less hoa fees!!! Less of a chance of HOA GOING up and up!!! Plus we have been able to get past security guards everytime we’ve tried except once. So not too secure..!!!

  4. Security is like wine – you get what you pay for. Some people are “on the cheap”, and that’s what they get! I lived in a gated community in West Palm Beach that had armed guards at gates and on vehicle patrol. Breaking in there was like sneeking into Seal Team 6 headquarters.

  5. I have been living in an over 55 gated community in Las Vegas since arriving here ten years ago. IMO, the only Con is having to pay extra to a HOA. However, I feel it is well worth it. The single entrance is manned 24/7 and while the guards are not infallible, it keeps strangers from approaching my door. I know whoever knocks has come thru the gate and has had to provide ID.
    Additionally, there is no thru traffic or noise, no Halloween visitors and no one trying to convert me to their religion. The maintenance and repair people must also provide ID and cannot just show up unannounced at my door. We have a list at the guard gate of family members or friends who do not need to be announced.
    There have been a few (very few) burglaries but I do feel a sense of security and would not be comfortable moving to a nongated community.

    1. Hi Terri, my husband and I are considering a move to Las Vegas/Henderson from SF Bay area (California). We are not looking at 55+ communities but are looking into Tuscany Village. I would love any advice you can offer on how to adjust to the weather/lifestyle of the area, any suggestions for hospitals and/or doctors, any advice of areas to avoid for safety while shopping or dining. Thank you in advance!

  6. The 55+ community where I live has all entrances secured by self closing gates and doors! Each resident has registered keys that open all doors and gates and only their living units! Any extra keys are made and registered at the HOA designated locksmith! It is not possible to have a duplicate made any other place! It seems like a pretty simple solution to the problem! At first the keys seemed to be a bit of a nuisance, but quickly became routine.

  7. Thanks!
    You helped me, I have to do a presentation of “gated communities” with pros and cons! Your article was very useful 🙂

  8. I am interested in knowing whether investing (inheritance comes to mind) is any good or as good as any other property. Thank you

  9. Our community is thinking of installing a gate because it’s believed it’ll make our area safer. Your article has convinced me that gate or no-gate, it is still not safe. Having a close relationship with your neighbors is more effective in preventing a crime.

  10. I know a guarded gate community and believe me it is safer. In part because the walls are not easy to scale. I am sure a gated community with easy to scale walls might be less safe though as thieves could rob and steal cars too.

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