Security Tips for Garages and Parking Lots
Since garages and parking lots contain valuable vehicles and personal contents, car owners and their passengers could be potential victims theft and violence. Garages and parking lots are frequently favoured “hunting grounds” for robbers and thieves.
In some garages, access to the garage can be controlled or closely monitored. A parking attendant can view the occupants of cars entering and leaving, and a closed circuit television (CCTV) camera may be used to record license numbers and drivers’ faces,
both major deterrents to many criminals.
However, ground-level pedestrian doors, located out of sight of the parking attendant, should be monitored by CCTV to avoid blind spots.
The threat to people and property in covered/enclosed parking garages can be even higher than the threat in open lots. Isolated floors and locations often make effective surveillance or monitoring difficult, and criminals can find places to hide more easily.
Adequate lighting and the use of CCTV monitoring can reduce (but not eliminate) the crime risk. Adequate lighting not only helps people recognize and avoid dangers. In many cases, enhanced lighting also deters criminals by creating the fear of detection, identification and apprehension.
When CCTV is used, good-quality digital color cameras can operate in low light in enclosed garages. CCTV features high-resolution color monitoring/recording systems. Live CCTV monitoring is definitely preferred, as the monitoring station can properly react to any situation when it happens, using SIGHT and SOUND technology.
Where possible, interior and exterior stairwells should be visible, either through the use of no walls on the stairwells, or by using plexi-glass or “see-through” type walls. This “open” approach deprives criminals of a place to hide and assault their victims, while providing customers early warning of potential danger and possibly the ability to be heard if they shout for help. In either case, the stairwells should be well lit. Additionally, white painted and bright wall colors with good signage should be obvious to help people move around and not get lost.
Emergency call boxes, “panic alarms” and intercom systems often have large, red mushroom-shaped buttons. When pushed, the buttons activate an intercom connected to a security office or the parking garage attendant, who can provide directions or summon aid. When a CCTV camera also monitors the alarm box or station, the parking attendant or security officer can view the scene to assess the situation and more accurately respond.
Open Parking Lots Security
Similar approaches can be used with surface parking lots, including those adjacent to retail or entertainment facilities.
If the lot can be surrounded by a “see-through” fence, that is ideal. If not, lesser demarcation of the lot boundaries with partial fencing, low hedges, planters or shrubs (not more than 36″ high), etc. can provide a psychological barrier to criminals, and a clear indication of where the “private” property begins. Patrolling security personnel can also provide a significant deterrent to criminals.
Where appropriate, the use of a parking lot attendant can also serve as a deterrent if the attendant is able to view the lot.
A key element of security in most surface parking lots is visibility — for employees, customers, and passers-by. Within the lot, any trees and shrubs should not obstruct viewing, either by direct viewing or through use of CCTV.
A significant part of visibility is lighting. Artificial lighting should enable parkers and employees to note individuals or movement at night at a distance of 75 feet or more, and to identify a human face at approximately 30 feet, a distance that will allow them, if necessary, to take defensive action or avoidance while still at a safe distance.
This blog provides an introduction to those security measures and approaches that will help owners and operators of garages and parking lots provide a reasonable level of security at their property.
For more information on how to protect your property, contact Joe Allen, Sonitrol Security of Delaware Valley @ firstname.lastname@example.org or (302) 652-3060.