How many times have you taken the stairs in a parking garage at night? Was the parking lighting broken? Did it feel unsafe? How about just walking from your vehicle to the elevator or to your destination? All it takes is one broken light to create a hiding space for intruders. Most parking lighting leaves a lot to be desired.
That’s because companies spend more time securing their buildings. After all, security ensures the safety of their employees, assets, customers, and other visitors who come to their business. However, they tend to overlook parking lighting and security. Parking lots and garages need as much protection as the building.
Parking lots have more dangers than just poor parking lighting. An NSC poll has found that 66% and 63% of drivers make phone calls or program GPS systems respectively while driving through the parking lot. Their vehicles are not stopped in the parking lot. The vehicles are moving in parking lots. More than half of those responding say they text, check emails, and groom while driving in a parking lot.
Businesses also have a responsibility to ensure the entire property including the parking garage and lot are safe. Otherwise, they’re at risk for liability issues. They may not be able to stop people from multitasking while driving in a parking lot, but they can invest in parking lighting to reduce their risk.
It’s one of the fastest, least expensive, and most effective options for parking lot and garage security. Nonetheless, parking lighting isn’t straightforward. There are many factors to consider parking lighting as part of your security strategy and planning.
You may be considering LED lighting. The most important advantage they have is they last about 10 times longer than compact fluorescent light (CFL) and incandescent bulbs. LEDs have an 80% lower rate of consumption compared to traditional lighting. Not only do LED lights last longer but they’re also more energy-efficient, which makes them more sustainable.
One LED light provides the same amount of coverage as a 250-foot stretch of string lights. Businesses can yield more savings by using lighting systems that run on solar or battery power. Using LED for parking lighting can aggregate savings worth thousands of dollars.
Be aware that the LED’s life expectancy is dependent on the manufacturer as well as the design and installation of the lighting. Parking lighting is complex and dependent on multiple variables. For these reasons, it’s highly recommended that businesses work with security and lighting professionals to ensure the parking lighting is done correctly. They will help you maximize the parking lighting while lowering your liability risk.
Investing in parking lighting is a big first step. But it’s equally critical to stay on top of the parking lighting to verify they’re in working order or to fix them as soon as possible. Besides, there’s a big problem that affects parking lots and garages.
What You Need to Know About Catalytic Converter Theft
Just about every business with a parking lot and garages must take steps to prevent catalytic converter theft. Organized crime rings and other crooks target parking structures because it gives them access to many vehicles in a small area. Plus, parking garages don’t have much traffic, especially at night. A criminal tells a news team why they like parking garages.
“Apartment complexes were good targets due to many cars in one area, plus there are not usually many surveillance cameras like in subdivisions,” said an anonymous burglar in an interview with.
A VOX.com story confirms thieves target parked cars to steal catalytic converters. The story verifies catalytic converter theft has reached historic highs as it rose from 16,600 in 2020 to 64,701 in 2022. That equates to 177 thefts per day! The catalytic converters can be swiped in under two minutes. Moreover, crooks tend to operate in teams. They will roll under multiple vehicles with a saw or other metal-cutting tool to steal as many as they can.
The problem is so severe that the Department of Justice teamed up with multiple law enforcement agencies to shut down a $545 million nationwide catalytic converter theft ring. It took 32 search warrants to arrest 21 suspects in five states and charged them in connection with the ring.
Here’s more proof that thieves target parking areas. According to a story on 5NBCDFW, “They’re out there on the streets right now, some in undercover vehicles, looking in parking lots where most of these are occurring because a lot of this is happening in broad daylight and the average person doesn’t realize what’s taking place,” said Plano police officer David Tilley.
The same story reports a dealership has had 21 catalytic converters cut out from new vehicles in a matter of weeks. In response to the catalytic converter pandemic, the Plano Police has established a task force devoted to catalytic converter theft.
No security measure can work alone as bad actors may damage or trick the lighting and motion devices in the parking lots and garages. Therefore, you’ll want to complement parking lighting with technology like remote video surveillance.
How Remote Video Surveillance Complements Parking Lighting
Basic video cameras can’t help catch crooks after they run away with the stolen converters. Proactive security requires investing in business-grade video surveillance with monitoring. These have the ability to help deter crimes.
Traditional security cameras are passive. They cannot stop crime from happening. They don’t do anything until something occurs like breaking into the building. But parking lots don’t involve breaking into buildings. Passive video cameras can only see what’s happening. Someone must be on-site to notice a crime took place and check the video recordings.
Remote video monitoring provides proactive security. It can help spot a potential problem before anything happens. For example, it can notice suspicious people approaching the parking lot or garage before they crawl under cars. As soon as a trained monitoring operator gets an alert from video analytics of a problem, they can act. This could mean activating an on-site speaker to warn the intruders they are being watched, and/or calling local authorities.
The operator is not on the site. They’re in a safe place away from the business. This allows them to do their jobs without fearing for their lives as many criminals have become brazen.
Since the trained monitoring operator often responds before the crime happens, law enforcement may arrive before the crooks flee the scene. The opportunity to get the police to the scene is one of many advantages of video surveillance with remote monitoring.
What makes remote video surveillance different is that video analytics and trained operating monitors watch the entire property around the business. It can maximize a property’s security investment because it can do more than catch a crime in action. It can also help with liability lawsuits.
For example, it’s after hours at a commercial building. A few cars remain in the parking lot, but the building is closed. Video analytics analyzes all the cameras for any one of its many programmed scenarios. One scenario may be a person walking around the property after hours. There should not be anyone on the property, but occasionally someone may work late or stop by to check on something.
That’s why it’s important to have a trained human monitoring operator in the process. They can ascertain whether the person is an intruder or an employee. Any actions they take will depend on the scenario.
Benefits of Remote Video Surveillance
Video surveillance can help protect companies from liability claims. Say a driver is texting and driving and hits another vehicle. The property owner cannot be held liable for the driver’s actions. The person who owns the damaged vehicle will need to deal with the distracted driver rather than the property.
Video cameras can see and record the entire incident. It can be used as evidence in the case. Video technology can capture activity including vandalism, theft, made up injury claims, and fake damage.
Check out these videos to learn what remote video surveillance can do:
- Pair tries to steal a motorcycle
- Erratic behavior in a parking garage
- Parking lot prowler caught
- Auto dealership gate-hopper
- Date night at a parking garage
- Mischief maker in a parking garage
You might wonder if you can save money on monitoring by relying on only video analytics or humans. However, each has its strengths and weaknesses. The pairing of both helps eliminate the gaps. Video analytics has the ability to simultaneously scan all the cameras, which can be challenging for humans. But humans can determine what’s happening and react appropriately to the situation.
Integrating parking lighting and video surveillance can help close a lot of security gaps, reduce your liability and risk, and limit the amount of damage that comes with crimes. Moreover, you’re securing the entire property including assets, employees, customers, tenants, residents, and visitors.
When you work with a security vendor like Stealth Monitoring, you gain access to innovative security technologies and solutions. Stealth has many locations across North America, which allows the company to build partnerships with local police departments. This helps your property because the people responding to the emergency call know Stealth has video proof something is happening and it’s not a false alarm.
Where do you begin in finding the right video surveillance? Refer to the choose the right video surveillance service checklist of questions to ask. Start by looking for companies with experience in securing businesses in your industry. Every industry has different requirements. If you have questions about video surveillance with remote monitoring, please contact us.
Texas Private Security License Number: B14187
California Alarm Operator License Number: ACO7876
Florida Alarm System Contractor I License Number: EF20001598
Tennessee Alarm Contracting Company License Number: 2294
Virginia Private Security Services Business License Number: 11-19499
Alabama Electronic Security License # 002116
Canada TSBC License: LEL0200704