Are parking lots dangerous? Between crime and collisions, parking lots are riskier than you think.
Parking facilities are the 3rd-most frequent place where violent crimes happen. Nearly 1,400 attacks occurring each day across the US. In addition to violence, parking lots are hotbeds for vehicular theft, property theft from vehicles, and vehicle accidents.
Want to make your parking areas more secure? We’ve put together these parking lot safety tips methods to help you keep your lot patrons safe and happy.
7 Parking Lot Safety Tips
In a perfect world, all parking facilities would be designed with safety as a key tenet. Most facilities aren’t perfect, but that doesn’t mean their parking lots are doomed to be unsafe.
Here are seven parking lot safety tips to make your area safe:
1. Use Ample Lighting
Is your parking lot lighting sufficient? Your facility should have bright illumination for driving and pedestrian areas, but also needs to minimize shadows beyond these areas, where attackers could hide. Stairwells, elevators, areas of refuge, and the exterior parts of parking garages are all high-risk locations.
Consider leveraging lighting for daylight driver safety, too. The contrast between bright daylight and a shadowed garage can cause momentary blindness for drivers entering. By overlighting entrances to parking garages, you can minimize the risk of this transition.
2. Install Access Control
Controlling the ease and limitations of access to areas of a parking lot or garage makes your facility more secure. Use security booth, gates, and raising/lowering arms to manage vehicular and pedestrian access. Hinder access to private areas and spots which offer hiding places for attackers (like cut-away areas beneath stairways) with structural elements like cement blocks, fencing, or other obstacles.
3. Practice Impeccable Facility Maintenance
Replacing a burnt-out light quickly does more than keep your lot well-lit. Sending the message that your parking lots are thoroughly maintained signals to a would-be offenders that the area is receiving consistent attention. That means criminals are more likely to get caught and discourages them from taking a chance.
Beyond discouraging crime, well-maintained facilities decrease the chance of accidents and injury. According to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), one of the four principles for crime prevention through environmental design is Maintenance and Management (along with Access Control and Surveillance).
Damaged, weathered and wet surfaces can cause trips, slips, and skids. Installing permeable surfaces is an effective, eco-friendly way to ward off excess moisture and ensure water is properly draining from your lot.
Tall, dense shrubbery can provide excellent hiding places for criminals. Make sure the vegetation surrounding parking facilities is thinned out and kept low so attackers can't hide behind it.
4. Hire Guard Patrols
Having security officers patrol your parking lots is a standard method to increase the safety of those using your facilities. An authoritative presence can serve as a powerful deterrent to crime. Adding on-site or mobile security patrols in parking facilities can significantly enhance security. Ensuring your security officers are well-trained and supported will make them more effective at their work.
5. Implement Surveillance Systems
Where there is greater visibility, there’s less crime. In addition to measures like access control, landscaping, and adequate lighting, installing a CCTV system makes it easier to monitor activity within your parking areas. This is one of the tools that can make your security officers exponentially more effective.
But just having video surveillance doesn’t cut it. The cameras have to be monitored to be effective. The simple presence of cameras in your parking lot isn’t enough to stop criminals; it doesn't take much to test the threat of a surveillance system. When there’s no security response to shady behavior, such as looking into car windows or inconspicuously watching patron’s activities, it’s obvious that CCTV isn’t being watched. That’s a green light for mischief.
Unmonitored surveillance systems create a false sense of security among parking patrons, making them less vigilant against potential crime. Unmonitored cameras can also increase your legal liability if crimes are committed in front of them.
Voice Activated Security Sound systems (VASS)
One way to avoid the risk of unmonitored CCTV systems is by installing Voice-Activated Security Sound systems. With VASS, if someone is attacked, their yells activate all CCTV cameras in the area, which immediately focus on the activity and dispatch mobile security personnel.
Installing motion detectors or using a CCTV systems with analytics for motion detection are effective ways to alert security of commotion on your property. Motion sensors detect infrared heat and will trigger an alarm when the heat in a target area suddenly increases. This form of detection helps prevent false alarms from the wind.
6. Install Phones & Panic Buttons
Emergency phones and panic buttons are easily installed and highly effective at making parking lots more safe. Just the presence of these safety tools help to discourage crime and ensure help will swiftly arrive in any type of emergency.
Emergency phones give lot patrons direct access to security personnel when they are in need of help. If a panic button is pressed, an alarm immediately sounds and security personnel are directed to where the emergency is happening. For attacks, accidents, and health emergencies, these tools empower lot users to help your guards be even more effective.
7. Use Clear Signage
Communication is one of the key parking lot safety tips for an effective security program. Installing signage to communicate with pedestrians, drivers and potential criminals are key to improving safety. Messages should be simple and familiar.
Install signage that warns there are systems in place to stop and prosecute criminals. Use signs that educate lot patrons about available security tools (emergency phones, VASS, panic buttons) and how to use them effectively. Also, don’t forget driving safety. Use signage for drivers which clearly indicates what to do and what not to do in a parking lot.
How To Make Your Parking Lot More Safe
Still not clear on how you can you make parking facilities more safe? Here’s a summary of our parking lot safety tips, so you know exactly what to do:
- Use bright lighting in pedestrian and driver areas
- Illuminate shadowed potential hiding areas
- Light exterior areas
- Use lighting strategically in daytime
- Install security booths, gates, and raising/lowering arms to manage lot access
- Block off potential hiding areas with structural elements like fencing
- Maintain your facilities well to let criminals know your lots are monitored and discourage offenses
- Reduce risk of accident and injury from damages through proper facility maintenance
- Keep trees and bushes low and thin to minimize hiding spots
- Hire well-trained security officers and ensure they are well supported with tools and systems
- Maximize visibility with a CCTV system
- Monitor video surveillance continuously
- Use Voice-Activated Security Sound systems and motion detectors to help guards use video surveillance effectively
- Install emergency phones and panic buttons to discourage crime and enable people to get help swiftly in any emergency
- Install signage that warns there are systems in place to stop and prosecute criminals.
- Use signs that educate lot patrons about available security tools and how to use them effectively.
- Use signage for drivers which clearly indicates what to do and what not to do in a parking lot.
PalAmerican Security is here to help you make your parking lot more safe. Our Professional Security Guard services offer a variety of customized solutions for every type of parking facility. We can help you implement the right combination of these parking lot safety tips to assure the highest level of safety and security possible.