Parking Lot Security


When you park your car in a municipal or campus lot or garage, you assume that your vehicle and its contents will be safe.  But, are you really aware of the lot’s security procedures?  Here are a few items to be aware of:

-  Hide or remove your valuables from plain view before leaving your car.
-  Leave your engine running until you are ready to exit the vehicle.
-  Check surroundings to make sure they look safe before you get out.
-  When walking back to your car, keep your keys in hand, so you can enter quickly or use the keys as a weapon if needed.
-  Before getting inside, check the front and back seats to make sure no one is hiding.
-  Lock your doors once you get inside the car.
-  If someone suspicious approaches you, honk your horn and flash the lights to draw attention.

We also checked with Patrick Fiel, ADT pubic safety advisor, to get his thoughts on what agencies can do to help secure a public parking lot or garage.

Lighting and Visibility
There should be adequate coverage throughout the entire lot, not just in specific areas.  Also make sure that foliage or other objects are not allowed to provide a hiding place for would-be criminals.


Security cameras can provide extra pairs of eyes for the security staff.  Ideally, the video should be monitored – to alert security personnel or law enforcement of an immediate problem – and recorded to be able to help identify suspects and, if need be, prosecute offenders after an event.

Clear Signage
Perhaps overlooked in areas of security is the power of signage.  Not only can signs help move vehicles to designated areas quickly and efficiently but they can also deter crime.  Criminals avoid areas with cameras and proper signage with clear warnings will go a long way to stopping dangerous activity before it occurs.

Keep the lot or garage well maintained.  Does the parking area look like it has been ignored by maintenance?  Is paint peeling off walls or are parking spaces unevenly presented?  Parking areas that display a lack of attention are more likely to become a prime target for criminal activity. 

Security Guard Presence
Regular patrols from a security guard or periodic roll-by’s by police or security vehicles are useful procedures that will create a safer environment. 

“With basic maintenance and planning, you can make your parking lot safer and less of a magnet for criminals,” Fiel said. 

–– PSW Staff

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