Whichever access control solution you use, make sure
that it works efficiently. Wait times aren’t simply an inconvenience to users, they can also create traffic jams that
lead to security issues, cautions Robinson. The less time
someone needs to enter or exit your parking area, the fewer
opportunities there are for something to go wrong.
You should also assess surveillance capabilities.
Cameras can detect an event in progress, provide recorded
evidence of an incident, and demonstrate due diligence on
your company’s behalf.
“No matter what type of surveillance you use, the most
important thing is that you analyze and act on any information you’ve captured,” Robinson says.
If you can’t dedicate personnel to watch a live video feed,
consider analytics. This embedded software monitors images according to a set of rules. If a camera perceives activity that violates one of the rules, such as the pattern of how
a person walks between cars when searching for unlocked
ones, it will create an alert.
There are many applications specific to traffic management, such as wrong-way detection, license plate readers,
speeding, illegal parking, and congestion. Intrusion detection, facial recognition, and suspicious activity for crowds or
objects can also be useful depending on your risk profile.
“The whole purpose of analytics is to look for irregu-
lar activity,” explains Ahrens. “Alerts can prompt security
personnel to prioritize the video, encourage better situ-
ational awareness feed more closely, and support the overall
response to an incident.”
Even motion detection, which is based on a change in
pixels rather than image analysis, can improve your surveil-
lance. Cameras can turn on only when cued by motion to
conserve bandwidth usage or when movement is detected
when none should be present, such as after hours.
In addition to surveillance, patrols are a smart move
if you have the labor force, Ahrens adds. Whether doing a
walkthrough on foot or taking a swing through in a vehicle,
a human presence can curb incidents in the same way a
police car cruising through a neighborhood can. It also
serves as a reassurance to parking users that their safety is
a priority for management.
At the very least, offer guests and employees the option
to use an escort to and from a parking area, particularly
in the evening hours. In the complete absence of security
personnel or lot attendants, make sure to install call-for-assistance devices, Ahrens stresses. Like the blue poles
installed on college campuses, these units will send a distress signal to staff or the local authorities. This ensures
that occupants have an immediate way to communicate
an emergency and don’t have to rely on their personal cell
phones. More importantly, these devices call attention to
the area as having witness potential.
While you can’t avoid that improving parking security
will require a capital expenditure, investing in safety
measures is never a waste of money. Treating your parking like an asset and securing necessary investments will
result in lots and garages that remain functional and safe
for all users. B
Jennie Morton firstname.lastname@example.org is senior
editor of BUILDINGS.
place to address cracks in the concrete or asphalt, refresh
striping, and power wash spills. Trash bins should be
emptied routinely, stray litter rounded up, and graffiti immediately eliminated. Any residual salt or sand from winter
should be removed as well.
None of these individually presents a safety concern,
but taken as a whole, this kind of clutter can indicate that
there’s a lack of ownership with the parking area. A clean
garage or lot sends the message that property management
is routinely making the rounds, which increases the likelihood that a crime could be witnessed.
Monitor the Flow of Traffic
A parking attendant booth, cameras, and automated
barriers – each of these security features can work in concert to limit who is allowed to park on your property.
To expand your monitoring capabilities, first take a hard
look at access control.
Garages or lots open to the public may simply use an
automatic barrier gate and ticket system, such as what is
commonly used at airports. While access isn’t necessarily
limited, each financial transaction can create an audit trail
To ensure only approved users can enter, you will need
to implement a system that authorizes access based on a
recognized credential. This may take the form of PIN codes,
ID badges, or card readers.
If you currently use magnetic or proximity cards, it may
be time to update to smart cards or biometric identification. Near-field communication (NFC) devices, which use
radio frequencies, are also growing in popularity as they are
increasingly embedded into smartphones.
WOULD YOU WANT TO PARK HERE? The dark, monotonous look of this
garage indicates this isn’t a closely monitored asset. Notice how light
fixtures are only positioned over the roadway. Not only is the narrow
cast insufficient for drivers, it leaves parking spots enveloped by shadows. In addition to better illumination, a coat of reflective, brightly
colored paint would distinguish the columns and walls from the floor.
Eye-catching parking lines and traffic wayfinding would also help users
safely navigate this space.