One of the increasing challenges businesses are facing either in new locations or existing ones is the need for added security in parking lots. Property theft just seems to be spreading everywhere these days, and parking lots are no exception. Everything from smash and grabs to catalytic converters being sawed off can happen in minutes without any kind of deterrence. And once word gets out that a given location is a prime hot spot for easy grabs, the problems get worse.
Fortunately, there are some easy changes a business can make to at least dampen, if not prevent, problems in the customer parking lot or where employees are expected to put their vehicles when on shift.
If your parking lot is dark at night, that might as well be a big Las Vegas welcome sign to thieves. The harder it is to see what’s going on outside, the more likely any car parked there is going to get hit for anything valuable. And don’t believe just emptying the car is enough. Car parts of all types have a value via black market selling if there’s enough of an opportunity and time to strip them down. Lighting up a parking lot makes things a lot harder. Visibility can be picked up at a distance, noticed by passing police and neighbors, and generally makes stealing riskier. Big LED lights that are hard to get to without the right equipment are ideal, including fixtures with light shield boxes that prevent moisture or projectile damage.
While video and filming won’t stop a crime from happening in a parking lot, they do work as a deterrent. No criminal wants to be seen in the act, as well as recognized. Cameras come with some very good lenses and abilities these days, and more than one criminal has been fully convicted by video capturing him in the act as well as clearly identifying the suspect.
Combine cameras with active surveillance, which can be performed by staff or by hired support, and a business has the added element of being able to interpret a crime as it is occurring. This gives the business’ system the ability to trigger a police response before the criminal can get away with the activity (assuming an officer is nearby). And even if the response does not arrive right away, the added element of a witness with video recorded simply creates more of a firm case against the thief once identified and caught later on.
As simple as it sounds, a sign can be a huge deterrence of potential property crime. First, it puts the thief on notice that the parking is being watched. Second, the idea that things will be harder to pull off without getting caught oftentimes causes criminals to shy away. Why take more risk than necessary if there are other parking lots to hit instead that are easier? Finally, signage provides a clear warning to loiterers, homeless and vandals that their activity is not welcome either. Combined with an occasional patrol, and the clear activity tends to drive away many problems before they happen.
Parking Lot Maintenance
Police departments around the country have regularly reminded business property owners of the broken window theory when they see a related issue. The concept essentially posits that where there are clear signs of negligence or lack of care, crime tends to follow. So, if there is one broken window in an empty building, soon there will be three and eventually it will be broken into. The same goes for parking lots. Poorly kept locations tend to attract problems. Instead, maintaining an active periodic presence, cleaning up the lot regularly, avoiding disrepair, trash being dumped, or squatters all help keep a parking lot safer. Removing overgrowth eliminates hiding spots and repairing the lot’s asphalt annually shows the area is being used. All of these factors help improve business security tremendously versus ignored locations that turn into dumps.
Hire a Security Guard
For lots with heavy parking activity and traffic at night or day, one would think that would scare criminals away, but it tends to attract them. However, what they don’t want to see is an active security guard driving around patrolling the lot and ready to identify them in the act. A good example of this is seen at shopping malls. Those without a security and patrol presence tend to have lots of smash and grab problems. However, malls with guards regularly patrolling their parking lots realize minimal issues because the risk of getting caught is much higher.
Hire an Expert’s Review
If you’re not sure where to start or are hesitant to make a decision about whether a guard, camera, signs or all the above would work, an expert security assessment is a great idea. With a professional eye towards what your facility and parking lot specifically needs as well as the most apparent risks from a security perspective, you can then match the right resources to your parking lot versus guessing and making costly mistakes. However, whatever path is chosen, remember, doing nothing when risk is increasing won’t make it go away. Crime and property theft in parking lots only gets worse without a visible response.
Adance On-Site Protection Security offers overnight and 24-hour security, regular patrols, camera installations, as well as a complete on-site security solution in Albuquerque, NM. Contact us today to learn more!
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