How robust is your parking garage or lot security? Beyond hazards like traffic accidents and slips and falls, occupants can be vulnerable to theft, assault, and harassment. All it takes is one incident and workers or customers may be skittish about where they leave their cars.
Don’t let your parking area become a minefield of menaces. You can deter criminal acts with commonsense strategies that won’t break the bank.
Understand Your Liability Risk
If you neglect parking security, lots and garages can leave your company open to risks that can negatively affect your business reputation and insurance rates.
“Parking is one of the greatest areas of liability for a property owner,” stresses Sean Ahrens, a security consulting practice leader with Aon Global Risk Consulting.
According to the National Crime Victimization Survey conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, over 2.4 million crimes occurred in parking lots or garages between 2004 and 2008. Of those, 16% were violent victimizations such as assault, rape, and robbery; the remaining 84% were motor and personal property theft. While the survey did not include murder, these numbers demonstrate the wide range of threats frequently encountered in parking areas.
Parking users are also exposed to less deadly risks such as traffic collisions, slips and falls, and medical emergencies, explains Ahrens. Individuals parking their vehicles deserve the same level of protection that they receive inside your building. This is true no matter if parking is free or paid, adds Ahrens – your company is liable for user safety either way.
The challenge is that the risks for parking areas are always changing, says Geary Robinson, director of Parking and Transportation Services at the University of North Texas and co-chair of the Safety and Security Committee for the International Parking Institute. The 1990s put attention on bombings, 2001 gave way to terrorist attacks, and the last five years have seen an increased focus on mass shootings. No matter how big your parking area is, there’s a distinct reality that it could be a gateway or staging area for violence.
“It’s incumbent upon a building owner and the security team to constantly evaluate their property’s lot or garage and look for ways to improve safety,” Robinson stresses.