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Car Crime — Pilfering in the Parking Lot

Posted by Brandon Koepnick on Aug 12, 2020

Based on annual car theft statistics
from 2007-2016, a motor vehicle is stolen every 6.5 minutes in the United States. How can you help keep your parking lot from contributing to this statistic?

In the first video, a suspect was seen going in between cars, accessing multiple vehicles at a multifamily residential property in Florida. A trained Stealth security operator saw the activity and contacted police. When officers arrived on the property, the individual tried to run, but he was unsuccessful in his attempt to escape. Police caught him and placed him under arrest.

In the second video, an individual was trying to access multiple vehicles at a West Palm Beach apartment community. One of our Stealth security operators was watching and contacted local authorities. The responding officers arrived and searched the property. They located the individual and placed him under arrest.

Finally, our security operators saw two people pulling on the door handles of multiple vehicles in an apartment parking garage. Our monitoring operator alerted the on-site guard and called police. Officers arrived and arrested the suspects.

Defining Car Crime

Statistics show that roughly 209 cars
are stolen every day because the keys are left inside the vehicle. In some prior theft cases, the car was not only unlocked, it was still running. Thieves count on this type of carelessness.

Safe City is a community-based initiative whose goal is to reduce crime, build awareness and make communities safer places to live and work. As part of a partnership with the Urban Institute, Safe City created a guide to help property owners, business owners and managers understand and address car crime problems.

According to Safe City, “car crime” refers to several auto-related crimes, including, auto theft, theft of personal belongings, theft of car parts/accessories, and vandalism. Location, time of day and day of the week can impact the likelihood of a car crime.

These locations are the most prone to car crime:

  • Parking facility located in an urban area
  • Large parking lot/garage, such as a shopping center or large office or apartment building
  • Parking areas easily accessible to highways
  • Lots or garages with poor lighting, no access control and lacking surveillance

Cars that are left unattended for longer periods of time, such as overnight or during the workday, are at greater risk of crime than those only parked for short periods. Vandalism and theft occur mostly at facilities where there is little to no surveillance.

Deterring Car Crimes with Proactive Security Measures

While you can’t change the type of facility you have or its location, you can control how you secure it. Good lighting, pruned shrubs and a well-maintained parking lot can all help deter criminals. A clean, bright property sends a message that someone is keeping an eye on things. Would-be offenders, not wanting to get to caught, will tend to stay away.

Speaking of keeping an eye on things, implementing a security system is a proactive way to boost safety. Many properties use traditional security guards, but they can be expensive. It’s also not always effective considering a guard can only be in one place at a time and can’t always see who may be lurking behind a car.

Live video monitoring is a more efficient and cost-effective solution. Trained security operators watch properties in real time to help identify and deter crimes in progress. Using video analytics, our operators can cover many areas simultaneously, from vantage points not always accessible to a guard. If they see something suspicious, they can act immediately.

Your responsibility as a property owner/manager is to maintain a safe environment. You can achieve that by making it more difficult for potential perpetrators to commit a crime.

For more information about live video monitoring for your multifamily residential or commercial property, contact us.