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Parking Lot Security: Frequently Asked Questions and Recommendations

Q. How can I improve security in my parking lot?

A.
There are many ways to amp up a parking lot’s security, depending on the type of property and resources available. Some of the most common ways are:
- Live video monitoring and Voice-activated security sound systems
- Installing security gates with swipe access (if lot is used by employees only)
- Appointing security guard and checkpoint
- Ample lighting to prevent any hiding areas
- Removing or pruning vegetation around the lot
- Installing security signs for safety and warning purposes
- Installing emergency phones and panic buttons

Q. Is it a good idea to leave extra space around the vehicle in a parking lot?

A.
Always look for extra space around the vehicle in parking lots. This will allow you to pull through so there is no risk of collision while backing. Keeping enough room around the vehicle also makes it easier for drivers and pedestrians to move through the lot. Wheel Stops and parking bollards have been used by parking lot organizers to aid proper spacing.

Q. I am the owner of a parking lot. Will I be responsible for any security incident losses in my lot?

A.
This usually depends on local laws and ordinances and court decisions. Courts identify such matters in two ways -- whether the situation is a bailment or a lease.
Bailment means “an act of delivering goods to a bailee for a particular purpose, without transfer of ownership.” Drivers give away temporary control of their property (vehicle) to parking lot operators. So it becomes the parking lot owner’s duty to take care of the vehicle. This happens in valet parking where parkers hand over their car keys. .
The situation is termed as a lease when drivers park the car on their own and keep the car keys with them. Mostly in such situations, parking lot and garage operators are not held responsible for any theft or damages..
There is yet another situation when the parker pays a fee to park the car, locks it up and takes the keys. Some can call it lease while others can call it bailment.

Q. How does lighting play an important role in parking lot security?

A.
Good lighting is an important security and life safety element in the parking lot. Dark and dimly-lit areas are good hiding spaces for criminals. Eliminate these areas by installing light fixtures that aim for brightness, wide coverage, and strong color rendering. LED-based lighting technology is a good and cost-effective solution for parking lots.
With proper lighting, witnesses can clearly see important details about criminals such as their clothing, hair color, and license plate numbers in the recorded video. High-quality lighting also helps people in a parking lot to look out for each other.
Also, drivers would be able to see better as they drive around the parking lot, at entrances and exits, and around walkways. Proper lighting eliminates the issue of people not being able to spot properly placed parking lot security signs too.

Q. How to ensure parking lot safety for women?

A.
Following precautions can be taken by women in the parking lot:
-Always be alert. Avoid talking on a cell phone or listening to music with your earphones on. Criminals target distracted and unaware females in the parking lot.
-Carry any self-defense product like pepper spray, knife, or a noisemaker. You can simply press the emergency button on your car key also to call for attention.
-Walk in the middle of the aisles and ramps instead of corners.
-Keep your vehicle locked at all times.
-When you’re inside the car, lock the doors and keep windows closed – then quickly drive away.
-Parking lot owners have the responsibility to provide well-lit spaces, security guards, correct signage, emergency phones and add camera security for maximum vigilance and precaution.
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