Developers and planners in the Charlotte area say a growing number of home buyers are seeking to live in gated communities, the Charlotte Observer reports. About 7 million housing units were located within “secured communities” around the country, estimated the 2001 American Housing Survey. At one such Charlotte development, where home values range from $200,000 to $1.3 million, households pay about $1,400 in yearly fees that include gate maintenance and security personnel.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police don’t study whether crime is different in gated communities compared with other neighborhoods. “If they’re done the right way, they can be useful,” said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Officer Tom Ferguson, community coordinator for the North Division, which includes several gated communities. Police warn that residents shouldn’t trust gates to keep them safe. Residents shouldn’t give out their access codes to too many people, for example. And in some communities, “the roads are gated in, but the property is not fenced in. You can just walk around,” Ferguson said. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police keep a list of entry codes for gated communities.