Tailgating: What is it and how can you stop it happening?

22 Mar 2021
By Unite Students, Staff writer at The Common Room

It’s not driving too closely behind another car. And it’s not a BBQ from the back of a pick-up truck in a stadium car park. No, the tailgating we’re interested in is neither of these things.

Our kind of tailgating happens in secure buildings, like offices and student accommodation. It puts people and possessions at risk, and it takes awareness to prevent it.

So what is it, and how can you help stop it?

What is tailgating?

If you open a security door with your fob or pass and somebody else comes through behind you without using theirs - that’s tailgating.

Most tailgating happens because people just want to be nice. Holding the door open for the person behind you is a nice thing to do.

Also, most of us will avoid confrontation if we can and it feels weird asking to see somebody’s pass if you’re not a security person.

Why is tailgating a problem?

Holding the door open is usually a nice thing to do - but not when it’s a security door. Then it loses its charm and becomes a risk.

We use a secure fob or card system in all our properties. There’s CCTV at each property, as well as a 24-hour safety and security team ready to respond to any incident. Keeping you safe and secure is a vital part of what we do.

Tailgating makes it harder for us to do that because people who shouldn’t be in the building can get in. Don’t assume somebody is just another resident, or a delivery driver - that might not always be the case, especially in our city centre locations.

How can I help prevent tailgating?

We don’t expect you to recognise the face of every person who lives in your building. And we have plenty of legitimate visitors coming in and out during the day, delivering mail or carrying out maintenance.

But those people will have their own key card, fob, or visitor’s pass.

Here’s what you can do to stop tailgating:

  • Always have your card ready in your hand when you approach a security door. If somebody else is around, they can see that you’re allowed in.
  • If you feel suspicious about somebody hanging around near a security door as you approach it, quickly close the door behind you after you’ve gone through.
  • Tell your property team about anything that feels wrong. If somebody has followed you through and it doesn’t feel right, report it to the person at reception right away.

Like most people problems, the solution to tailgating is behavioural. With a little effort and vigilance, we can all make sure you and your things are safe at home.

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Staff writer at The Common Room