Across the United States, parking lots rank number three in violent crimes. More than one in 10 property crimes happen in parking lots or garages. That’s about 1,400 incidents happening in car dealerships, retail storefronts, and commercial parking lots all over the U.S. every day.
As a property owner it’s your responsibility to keep your parking lot safe. If your property becomes known as a place where violent crime occurs or parked cars are regularly burgled or damaged, that could turn away customers. How can you keep your property and the people on it safer?
Types of Parking Lot Security Solutions
Crimes that occur on your property are a liability for your business – not legally speaking, but in terms of public image. Some enhancements you can consider to maximize parking lot safety include:
- Adding additional lighting to deter criminals.
- Limiting landscaping to minimize places criminals can hide behind.
- Adding security signs to the property.
- Adding fencing around the lot and a security gate.
- Adding emergency phones.
- Employing a security company to patrol the area.
With the exception of onsite security guards, these security features don’t provide proactive security. Nor do fences or phones capture information that can help you apprehend the criminal perpetrator. And onsite guards can be very expensive to retain around the clock, 365 days a year.
Because of these challenges; businesses like apartments, shopping centers, office parks, and parking lot companies are adding live video monitoring into their parking lot security strategies. There are a number of advantages to using tools like modern, advanced parking garage security cameras.
The Advantages of Modern Parking Surveillance Cameras
While older analog CCTV cameras were hard-wired, newer security cameras connect wirelessly to the Internet and record data straight into the cloud. They can be equipped with solar panels and long-term batteries. They can even be weather-hardened to make them less vulnerable to power outages or outdoor disruption.
Modern parking lot and garage security cameras can be programmed to trigger an audio alert to deter criminals. The software automates responses when certain rule-based protocols are breached.
Intruders or criminals might hear a loud, booming voice that warns them they have been seen and the authorities are on the way. It might be accompanied by bright lights and piercing sirens. That’d deter most malicious actors from ever committing a crime! When these alarms are triggered, the camera system alerts trained security professionals that there is a parking garage security issue that needs addressing.
You can enhance your video monitoring parking lot solution with:
- License plate recognition features that capture the characters on a plate and record the data. Modern security cameras can be cloud-based so that data is stored off-site and not on a vulnerable server.
- Long-range video cameras can see clearly, day or night. Theys can zero in to capture detailed images including faces or license plates. When there is no obvious place to mount a camera, the ability to see great distances can come in handy.
- Mobile trailers with video camera mounts. Parking lots are flat, so they do well with a trailer-mounted pole camera. These cameras are cloud-connected and can be equipped with solar panels for continuous recharge.
- Motion sensors can detect action occurring around your video surveillance camera. Smart software allows your security team to program these cameras to do things like zoom in on the movement. This can be combined with an alarm or a floodlight feature, all while recording the activity into the cloud.
- Thermal imaging cameras are perfect for areas where the lighting is low. Large outdoor environments aren’t a problem because these sensors detect the heat spectrum, something the human eye cannot do. When you add smart computer analytics to these tools, the camera can detect a human shape, then send an alert that someone is where they shouldn’t be — even when it’s dark. These after-hours deterrence systems can be used to protect overnight car lots or long-term airport parking lots.
Parking lots often have quite a bit of activity, so having an outdated alarm system may not work as well as a truly modern parking lot safety system. You don’t want alarms going off every time someone slams a car door!
Supplement Your Parking Lot Security with Virtual Guards
Virtual guard services can help ameliorate this problem by adding human judgment to the mix. This works by feeding the video surveillance footage over a wireless network straight to a security guard in a remote location who can determine if the activity is harmful or benign. Is this person being held up in a parking lot, or is it two people who seem to be friendly with each other?
The best parking garage security systems equip real humans with the right tools to make this judgment call.
These parking lot solutions can help resolve legal disputes if there’s an accident or damage to a car on your property. This can minimize any legal headaches in addition to protecting your customers, employees, and property.
State-of-the-art video cameras are equipped with the latest in artificial intelligence (AI) software. Smart AI cameras may someday be able to identify if a car “belongs to” someone. While we’re not there yet, today’s AI-driven cameras can analyze enormous amounts of data, make decisions about threat levels, and respond to things that, in the past, would have required human intelligence.
For example, you can install perimeter defense cameras that use AI analytics to create a virtual fence line around your parking lot. These cameras can detect the difference between a false alarm, such as a stray cat, and the shape of a human being prowling in an area where they shouldn’t be. The camera can then automatically:
- Turn on a spotlight;
- Play a loud recording saying that the person is trespassing, and the authorities are being alerted;
- Record the activity to the cloud;
- Alert a live guard at a security hub;
- Send you a text that there is a problem.
These cameras also offer video categorization features that enable easy searches for footage, making it easy to find what you’re looking for fast.
If you are the business owner of a parking lot, security must be a big concern. Selecting video surveillance as your go-to parking lot security tool is an important way to reduce any potential legal headaches and keep your customers safe. Customers and employees will see the cameras and feel more secure — and having a secure parking lot might even help attract some new business. Criminals will see them and know you’ve taken steps to protect your business.
Pro-Vigil offers leading-edge AI-enabled video surveillance systems to protect your business. When you’re ready for a comprehensive solution for parking lot security, talk with our team.