How to Prevent Car Theft on Your Parking Lot

According to the Bureau of Justice, more than 1 in 10 property crimes occur in lots or parking garages. The FBI says over 1,400 of these incidents occur somewhere in the U.S. every day. NPR reports car theft is up in some cities.
crime at auto dealerships

Whether your business has a parking lot or your business is pay-to-park, customers have expectations. Parking lots and garages provide criminals with many opportunities, including vehicle or property theft and vandalism. Parking lot crime can reflect poorly on your business. After all, who wants to frequent a restaurant where parked cars are a common target? 

If your guests don’t feel safe walking to their car, they may not come back. Therefore, if your business has or is a parking lot, it’s important to prevent car theft and other security issues. That’s why businesses should seek the help of a parking lot company to secure their assets.

One case study showed the higher risk of property or car theft in parking lots stemmed from:

  • Inadequate fencing
  • Poor lighting
  • The absence of attendants

To mitigate the risk for your customers, many businesses seek the expert counsel and technology tools that a parking lot security company can provide. Preventing car theft is just one benefit. Let’s look at some of the ways these security firms can mitigate your risk.

How Can Parking Lot Security Companies Help Your Business?

Modern Parking Surveillance Cameras

Some of the most common responses to secure a parking lot include a mix of technology solutions and human effort. This can include: 

  • Hiring onsite parking lot attendants. One study showed the presence of human attendants lessened crime.

  • Improving the lighting in your parking facility will help. Criminals like to hide their activity, after all.

  • Installing electronic access and entrance barriers is a great technique to secure a commercial building for your tenants.

  • Adding fencing to secure the perimeter of your open parking lot is a proactive way to set boundaries between your customer’s property and the criminal element.

  • Improving observation at common access points, such as a parking garage entrance and exit, will boost safety. This could include more lighting or nighttime video surveillance cameras.

  • Placing reminder signs in parking lots for your customers and criminals. The signs could tell them they are on video camera, which for a criminal can be a deterrent. Reminding the customer to not leave valuables in plain sight in their car will let them know you take their safety seriously.

Using the latest in video surveillance tools helps automate your “eye in the sky.” Old CCTV cameras are out-of-date and out of focus compare to today’s HD digital cameras and other associated tools that allow you to work smarter. Some of the latest in video surveillance upgrades include:

  • License plate recognition to record who is entering and leaving your lot.

  • Zoom-capable long-range cameras that can be controlled from a smartphone app. Loiterer on your lot? You can program these cameras to ping you or your security company via text that someone isn’t where they should be.

  • Motion sensors can detect action, zoom in, and sound an alarm or spotlight to startle the intruder. Simultaneously, the camera can capture their picture in crystal clear HD and send it to the cloud to be stored for later use, including prosecution.

  • Virtual security guards can be used in addition to or as a supplement to these technologies by monitoring your video surveillance cameras 24/7/365.

Can Parking Lot Design and Management Prevent Car Theft?

Prevent Car Theft

Parking lot security is a problem for many business owners, whether they operate a college campus, healthcare facility, a large commercial building, or a small business. On the one hand, the convenience of off-street parking adds to a company’s appeal. On the other, securing these lots is hard. Each type of parking lot has its own set of issues. Here are some examples:

  • Long-term parking lots are a great target for thieves. Many of these facilities, found often at airports, may not have enough security to go around. Theft of items from inside the car are a common target. Vehicle theft and vandalism or even stolen parts can be real problems for the patrons of these facilities. 
  • Park and ride commuter lots are a great way to save money on a commute while decreasing your carbon footprint. The problem is that these lots have particularly high theft rates. Many times, attendants are only there at the beginning and end of the day. This opens the door to criminal activity while patrons are at work.
  • Commercial parking lots, also called pay-to-park locations, rarely seem to have onsite security teams or enough security cameras to go around. They offer a great service but may have poor lighting and several blind spots where cameras may miss important details about activities happening on the lot. Some lots have overgrown shrubbery that becomes go-to hiding places for criminals.
  • If you watch movies, it seems like parking garages are dark, dangerous places where lots of crime happens. Parking Today says, “Parking garages have had an undeserved bad name as locations for crime.” However, without the proper design and security systems in place, parking garages could easily live up to their Hollywood reputation.

Can the designs of these facilities help prevent car theft or other types of behavior? Of course. The Urban Institute says:

“The place a car is parked has a lot to do with the risk of car crime. In fact, vandalism to cars, thefts of car parts/accessories, and thefts of personal items are not typically premeditated acts. Rather, these crimes tend to occur because a car was parked in an unsecured location with a large number of other cars, in places where perpetrators go unnoticed or can easily escape.”

Failure to control access to these facilities, poor lighting, improperly placed video surveillance cameras, and more all contribute to higher criminal activity in parking lots. Protecting your parking lot is a great way to ensure repeat business from your customers. As investments go, there is a direct link to your bottom line. Pro-Vigil wants to be your go-to research for parking lot security. We offer solutions to mitigate your risk and protect your investments. Call on us. We can help.

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