Vagrant loitering may seem like a harmless crime, but it can have a negative impact on a commercial property. The mere presence of vagrants and trespassers can make others feel unsafe and may be enough to deter customers from visiting your property, which could affect your net operating income.
Vagrant loitering is a widespread problem in the United States and Canada. While it’s not a crime, it can lead to other violations and criminal activity, like vandalism and property damage. There are some proactive steps commercial properties can take to help deter vagrancy crimes.
One way to decrease vagrant loitering is to enhance the lighting around the premises. Vagrants often loiter at commercial properties after hours to sleep. Lighting would make it difficult for them to do that. On that same note, you can take measures to eliminate potential sleeping spots, like benches, covered areas and any other flat surface.
Keeping your property clean and free of litter can discourage loiterers while promoting a good image to your customers. By ridding your property of graffiti, dirt and debris, you show you care about the appearance of your building. It also helps to deter vandalism and other crimes.
Hiring a security service is another option to help prevent vagrant loitering. Many properties employ a mobile patrol or on-site security guard to monitor the premises. However, these options can be costly and come with their own issues. There are no standard training practices for security guards and many of them may not be equipped to deal with stressful situations, especially one involving a person with a mental illness or drug problems. If a security guard acts in a less than satisfactory manner, it may result in liability issues for a commercial property.
With the advancements in security technology, live remote video monitoring can be a more cost-effective solution than an on-site guard or mobile patrol. Trained security operators remotely watch strategically-placed surveillance cameras simultaneously, from vantage points that may not be accessible to an on-site guard. If they see unusual activity, they can activate a speaker warning or call local police. The video below shows a compilation of how a live video monitoring solution can deter vagrant loitering at shopping centers, during the day and at night.