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Methods for Ensuring Parking Lot Safety

Parking lot safety is a prime concern in cities of all sizes.  This is because parking lots provide prime opportunities for criminals to prey on their victims.  Safeguarding public safety in these areas is a matter of both public education and improving surveillance technology.  This post will cover a number of options for improving parking lot safety.

Making the Public Aware

An alert populace is the best defense against wrongdoers.  With that in mind, here are some tips to include in any parking lot safety campaign:

·         Drivers should not approach their vehicles if a van or other large auto is parked alongside.  This is especially true if the vehicle has tinted windows.

·         When possible, motorists should ask a police officer or security guard to walk with them to their car.

·         Drivers should keep one hand free while walking to their vehicle.  This will give them a fighting chance to thwart potential attackers.

·         Drivers should walk to and from their vehicle swiftly and with purpose.  Studies show that striding with an air of confidence deters criminals.

·         Motorists should have their keys ready in their hands to open the car door.  They should never stand beside their vehicle while fumbling through their purse or pockets for the door key.

·         Once in their car, drivers should lock the doors immediately.

·         Drivers should avoid rummaging through shopping bags, totes, or fiddling with their phone or other electronics while walking to or from their car.  Personal business can wait until the motorist is in a safe location.

·         If the motorist has a keyless entry system, then he or she should only unlock the driver’s side door when approaching the vehicle.  Unlocking all the doors gives criminals a chance to slide into the auto from the passenger side.

·         Drivers should never approach their vehicle if strangers are loitering around it.

·         Drivers should hide or remove valuables from their vehicle whenever possible.

·         Motorists should park as close to their destination as possible.  This is especially true if they will return to their auto after sundown.

·         When possible, drivers should park under a streetlight or in a lighted area of the parking lot.

·         Drivers should always take the most brightly lit path to and from their vehicle.

·         If a stranger approaches a driver while he or she is in their vehicle, the motorist should honk their horn and flash their lights to attract attention.

·         Motorists should avoid parking near trees, shrubs, or other large visual obstructions.

Using Technology to Enhance Parking Lot Safety

Modern technology has enabled the development of new security technologies over the past 20 years.  This is good news for those concerned about parking lot safety.  It means that public and private officials have powerful new tools at their disposal for protecting those who use parking lots.  These measures include:

·         Cameras that combine audio and visual surveillance for enhanced monitoring abilities.

·         Video equipment that records the surrounding area with full 360° coverage.

·         “Smart” systems that can detect suspicious activities in parking lots and notify emergency responders without the need for human assistance.  These products can be set to respond to all types of signals, from shouts and screams to honking horns and flashing lights.

Parking Lot Safety: It’s About More Than Preventing Crime

Criminals are not the only threat to parking lot safety.  Other potential risk factors include careless or inattentive drivers, inclement weather, and unaware pedestrians.  Other than public education, some ways to mitigate these hazards include:

·         Installing rubber or concrete speed bumps within the parking lot.

·         Trimming back landscaping features to aid visibility.

·         Installing traffic posts advising those on foot to exercise due caution during wet or icy conditions.

Conclusion

There is no one sure way to ensure parking lot safety.  Protecting the public from criminals and other hazards requires using a combination of methods.  By exercising due diligence and implementing proper procedures, however, authorities can make parking lots safer for those who use them.