|Security cameras provide live, real-time video |
to assist security personnel in spotting
potential or real problems
Efficient security systems for parking structures deter criminal activities and anti-social elements from destroying property. Over the years, security companies have responded to this need and developed a range of security systems for parking facilities, such as audio intercoms, access cards and video analytic solutions.
Systems integrators who want to add new services should consider the viability of protecting parking structures. Not only do these areas include a range of commercial and residential vertical markets, but they provide the opportunity to deploy a diverse range of integrated technologies.
Parking lots and garages are notorious for criminal activity. According to the latest U.S. Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, parking facilities constitute more than 7 percent of the nation’s violent victimisations and more than 11 percent of property crimes.
Assessing security risks
All this comes as the parking industry moves toward automated, unmanned lots and structures. As these facility operators cut manpower, they are looking for new security solutions to protect patrons and property. The extent of this need is supported by surveys that show that one-third of drivers cite security as a major factor in choosing where to park their vehicles.
Because parking facilities vary widely in size, type and location, it’s impossible to design a one-size-fits-all security solution, says John Mosebar, Vice President of Marketing for Aiphone Corp., Bellevue, Washington. But there are certain best practices that apply to all facilities, he says.
“Any security plan should begin with an all-hazards assessment to identify a facility’s strengths and weaknesses,” says Mosebar, who is a 32-year veteran of the security video intercoms manufacturer. An experienced security integrator can conduct the review and present a viable and attainable plan to address short- and long-term spending priorities.
Mosebar lists the following security tools that have proven to be effective in parking facilities:
"Any security plan should begin
They provide instant two-way communication to a security guard or facility operator when built into all-ticket dispensing and revenue control systems. Intercoms are valuable in both emergencies and equipment failures.
Emergency towers or wall-mount boxes offer immediate audio assistance to visitors and help operators assess emergencies. Some units are equipped with built-in cameras and can be integrated with an existing video surveillance system. These stations should be brightly lit, making them easy to locate while serving as a criminal deterrent.
Access cards provide monthly parkers the ability to open special entry and exit lanes. They limit pedestrian entries to the entry/exit gates and one other entry. There’s also the possibility to lock all other access points to the outside and install a keypad or card reader. That too saves rekeying costs whenever keys are lost or stolen.
Security cameras provide live, real-time video to assist security personnel in spotting potential or real problems and take action before incidents escalate. Cameras should be capable of providing clear video under varying light conditions, especially in outdoor lots. Cameras can be a major criminal deterrent, so they should be easy to spot. Mosebar suggests painting them a bright colour and including a monitor displaying a live feed at all entries while using signage to announce the facility is under video surveillance 24/7.
"Facility operators need to create
Realistically, few parking operators can afford a dedicated monitoring staff. Recorded video provides evidence to resolve assaults, theft, accident reports and other liability issues. Consider recording continuously during the day when the facility is busy. At night or other quiet times use motion detectors or edge analytics built into the cameras to trigger recording.
Many parking facility operators add analytics to their camera/recording systems. License plate recognition (LPR) software is one of the most common. LPR is used to detect vehicles and count cars as they enter and exit. By linking a credit card to a license plate number, monthly parkers could eliminate the need for a physical credential. Even pedestrian safety could be improved by not permitting gates to lower when a person is standing in its path. Analytics can also notify operators of cars that may be abandoned, improperly parked or moving in the wrong direction.
Mosebar adds that once in place, all security equipment should be tested monthly. That also presents a viable plan for service and maintenance contracts and additional recurring monthly revenue.
“Rather than notifying patrons to park at their own risk, facility operators need to create safe and secure lots and garages. The result will be a facility filled with honest patrons, providing one more reason for criminals to look elsewhere for targets,” Mosebar says.