In December 2014, a violent parking lot attack in West Denver was caught on surveillance cameras. The attack happened at about 2 a.m. and left three victims injured and traumatized. This is just one of a string of unrelated attacks in Denver parking lots last year, which left many wondering, are parking lots still safe?
Across America, parking facilities are the third most frequent place in which violent crimes happen, with nearly 1,400 attacks occurring each day. Theft, assault, murder, and rape are a few of the prevalent occurrences in parking garages today. That said, how can we make parking lots safer for everyone?
Most crimes happen under the cover of darkness, which is why the first thing we should all look at is lighting. There must be sufficient lighting to eliminate dark corners where attackers can hide and catch people unaware. It is also important to consider lighting options that provide the best illumination. Soft white lighting may be easy on the eyes, but it isn’t necessarily the best choice when security is at stake. Folks from candjlighting.com suggest using metal halide lighting in parking areas because it provides bright white illumination and truer color, both of which promote safety.
CCTV cameras are going mainstream and it has definitely become a necessity for public safety. Installing a CCTV system allows security personnel to monitor activity within parking areas and spot suspicious characters. Their effectiveness, however, also depends on the people monitoring them, as the mere presence of CCTV cameras is no crime deterrent. A good example of an effective CCTV system is Denver’s HALO system, which drew praise because of its positive effects in promoting public safety, assisting in arrests, and law enforcement pursuits.
High, dense shrubs and trees provide good cover for people with ill intent. With this in mind, planners and parking managers should make sure that any vegetation surrounding parking garages or lots are trimmed and kept low so attackers can’t hide behind them.
A parking lot becomes a potential crime scene when it provides offenders with the necessary elements to conceal their criminal intent and catch would-be victims off guard. By having sufficient lighting, installing an effective CCTV system, and paying attention to landscaping, we can all make sure our parking lots are safer.