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5 Ways to Stop Loitering on Commercial Properties

Posted by Shawna Ivy on Nov 28, 2022

Loitering is rarely one of the top concerns for commercial buildings. However, this way of thinking is risky. When you don’t take proactive steps to prevent it, loitering can cause a variety of problems for a business.

With the colder months on the way, squatters and campers look for empty buildings to stay in overnight. Then, they leave at daybreak before anyone shows up for work. If the commercial building is currently unoccupied, then they won’t leave. The more squatters there are, the greater the likelihood of more problems as they could have arguments and worse. This leads to more crimes.

People who camp on a property don’t always clean up after themselves. When this happens, the commercial property will look unkempt to the public passing by. Another issue that arises with loitering is liability. If someone gets hurt on your commercial property, you could be held liable. It doesn’t matter if they were loitering or committing a more serious crime.

Why Is Loitering a Problem on Commercial Properties?

In the simplest terms, loitering is when an individual loafs around on a commercial property without permission. They don’t plan to do any business or buy from the company. Loitering affects security and pushes away customers, employees, and visitors from the commercial property.

When people see someone lounging around on the commercial property, they may not feel safe or comfortable coming to the building. They don’t know whether the person is dangerous especially today when so many criminals are emboldened. In short, loitering affects your commercial property’s brand and resale value.

Homelessness is a serious problem that’s hard to solve. The reality is that a commercial property needs to protect itself. The people looking for a place to sleep are human like all of us. Fortunately, there’s a way to help prevent them safely and humanely from turning your commercial property into their new home.

How to Deter Loitering on Commercial Properties

In implementing these five things, you’ll greatly reduce the chances of loitering happening on your commercial property.

1. Maintain commercial property aesthetics

It doesn’t take much to negatively affect the property’s look and feel. Loiterers can leave litter and other messes behind. Be sure to have trash cans posted outdoors to limit trash on the property and stop it from entering the property.

Overgrown landscaping gives thieves hiding places. The public will likely avoid businesses that look shabby. They don’t feel safe. If any graffiti appears on your property, clean it up as soon as possible.

Check signs, lighting, windows, and fencing (if you have it) regularly. Anything that’s broken is another thing that affects your commercial building’s appearance. A well-maintained building shows the public that commercial property is under a watchful eye. Doing all these things also helps avert vandalism and other crimes.

2. Post signs

Posting “no trespassing” signs may or may not be doable depending on your commercial property as it could be a public place where people come and go during business hours. If it’s vacant or serves employees, then it may be worth doing.

Other helpful signs to hang up are “Area under surveillance” signs. This only applies if you have video cameras with remote monitoring. More on that shortly.

3. Put up fencing

One advantage of putting up a fence around your commercial property is that you can create a single point of entry and exit. This simplifies tracking who comes and goes on the property. It may not be possible to have a fence depending on the business and municipal laws.

The more layers you add to security, the less likely loiterers will turn your commercial property into a home. As previously mentioned, check the fence on a regular basis to verify it’s free of damage and tampering.

4. Install efficient lighting

Commercial properties without lighting attract loiterers because it’s harder for anyone to see them. Lighting is one of the least expensive ways to enhance security on your commercial property. However, it’s important to work with a security specialist on this. There are factors to consider to ensure you optimize the lighting for crime prevention.

Just like with fencing, it’s critical to regularly check your lighting to make sure it works or to have it fixed as soon as possible.

5. Use video surveillance with remote monitoring

Thanks to technology advancements, there are more cost-effective security solutions that offer multiple layers of security. Video surveillance with remote monitoring builds in security layers and offers complete coverage around the clock.

Video cameras with video analytics and human monitoring can view your entire property. Trained monitoring operators watch your commercial property and its surroundings without putting anyone’s life at risk.

Unlike many traditional security technologies that are reactive, video surveillance is proactive in helping to deter loitering, crime, and damage. What makes this technology different is the monitoring component. You have two things monitoring your commercial property: video analytics and trained monitoring operators.

What’s the difference between reactive and proactive security? Passive security often only catches problems after they happen rather than before or during. Remote video monitoring can spot problems early before the trespassers do anything.

The reason it’s critical to have someone watching the cameras is that security cameras without eyes can give people a false sense of security. Do not post “Area under surveillance” signs unless you truly have people monitoring the cameras. Remote video surveillance technology scans the property for suspicious activity. At the same time, it shows people you care about their safety. It communicates to potential loiterers that you will not tolerate loitering and will report it.

Remember that if someone gets hurt even if they’re doing something illegal on your commercial property, they could win a liability lawsuit. Remote video surveillance helps lower liability. This doesn’t apply to just any security camera technology. It needs to be video surveillance with video analytics and human intelligence.

Some vagrants loitering on commercial property may notice the cameras and move on to the next property. Anytime a trained monitoring operator catches a drifter on the commercial property, they can activate an on-site speaker warning and/or contact the police. Law enforcement can do a good job of safely and humanely removing the wanderer from the commercial property.

This pairing allows video analytics to do the heavy lifting on the repetitious part of monitoring. Analytics scrutinizes what it sees in all the cameras. The moment it finds a potential problem, it alerts the trained operating monitor who acts as needed for the situation. They may reach out to the commercial property’s point of contact, warn the loiterer on an audio speaker, or call law enforcement.

A nice thing about video surveillance with remote monitoring is that you don’t have to check your fencing, lighting, landscaping, and other problems. The monitoring operators can contact your business anytime they find issues.

Remote Video Surveillance Does More Than Prevent Loitering

Video surveillance with remote monitoring benefits your commercial property in other ways besides preventing loitering. In fact, video surveillance helps solve many problems. The presence of video cameras alone can cause potential loiterers to find someplace else to go. Some may not notice the cameras. In this case, the monitoring operator can issue a verbal warning over the speaker without ever stepping foot on the commercial property.

Unlike security guards, video surveillance can save and store all recordings securely for later retrieval and review. This is valuable especially when you learn about a problem that happened days, weeks, or months earlier. Law enforcement and insurance companies can use the footage to help with their investigations.

Recordings also help with situations involving fraud and liability. If a loiterer claims something happened on the commercial property, analysts can search and study the recordings for visual evidence of what actually happened. The recordings can stop an expensive liability lawsuit if it shows the business is not at fault.

Some companies reuse video recordings in employee training. They create short clips to demonstrate the right and wrong ways to complete tasks and interact with customers. They also use the footage to find the best ways to organize a commercial property. It depends on your industry because each one benefits in different ways.

Video surveillance companies like Stealth Monitoring work with commercial property owners and operators to identify operational efficiencies and opportunities. The high-resolution cameras and their bird’s eye views of the property make it easy to identify areas for improvement. You may learn about redundancies to eliminate.

You can also use video recordings to market your commercial property. They’re a great resource for creating short videos of property or business in action. All of these advantages together can lead to a quick return on your investment.

While incorporating these five things will help cut your risk for equipment theft and maximize your security investment, you want to ensure your security investment pays off. The way to do that is to work with a company that has experience in your industry. Every industry and even businesses in the same industry have different security requirements.

Check out the industries Stealth Monitoring has worked with all across the U.S. and Canada. You can watch videos of remote video surveillance in action for your industry.

Stealth has an advantage that many security companies don’t have. We have partnerships with law enforcement across North America. We can customize a security system to meet your company’s requirements and budget.

To learn more about video surveillance security technology, pick up your video monitoring guide to learn how it does more than catch criminals. If you’d like to learn more now or after reading the guide, please contact us.