Over the past month or so, we’ve written posts examining security plans for specific commercial properties. Last week, we shared some tips for Securing Your Storage Facility. These facilities require taking special precautions due to their size and vulnerability. This week, we turn our attention to securing another unique type of application that we have quite a bit of experience with. In this post, we share some best practices for creating parking garage security. For many reasons, parking garages require quite a bit of extra attention in the security department. Therefore, we’ll take a look at securing them from a few different perspectives.

First, we’ll review some important fire and life-safety related tips. Vehicles contain quite a bit of combustible materials, making parking garages a unique fire hazard. For this reason, addressing this issue should sit near the top of your security checklist. Then, we’ll look at a couple types of camera you should consider installing. In addition to standard commercial surveillance, we also offer camera options that help with this specific application. Finally, we’ll share an idea to add a physical security presence that goes a long way towards deterring crime in parking garages. Now, let’s get started by sharing some important fire and life safety tips.

The National Fire Protection Association Fire Alarm and Signaling Code and Fire Code books

The The National Fire Protection Association Fire Alarm and Signaling and Fire Codes lay the foundation for laws that govern fire system installation and monitoring.

Fire and Life Safety Tips

As we mentioned above, the presence of cars containing combustibles makes parking garage fires especially destructive. The National Fire Protection Association (or “NFPA”) create codes that states then adopt into law regarding the installation and placement of fire detection and safety devices. Additionally, these codes also dictate requirements for minimum legal coverage. Installing a sprinkler system, a fire alarm system, and fire extinguishers placed in specific locations are often required in parking garages. We recommend working with a professional security company (such as ourselves) to make sure your business meets local fire safety codes.

Additionally, placing emergency call boxes throughout your garage adds both life safety and peace of mind. These boxes allow people to call for help if they feel threatened for any reason. Furthermore, they also allow for calls relating to fires, falls, accidents, or other emergencies. We recommend placing these call stations so that customers can see one at all times. Next up, we’ll see how you can add cameras suited especially well for parking garage security.

Unique Surveillance Measures

We recommend installing commercial surveillance to secure all of our customers’ properties. However, in some applications, we consider adding this security an absolute necessity rather than an optional additional security measure. Parking garages certainly fit the former category for a few reasons. For starters, parking garages sit on expansive properties with very few, if any, employees on many of the floors. This allows thieves the cover and privacy needed to scope out and commit crimes. Furthermore, the presence of hundreds of cars in one place can turn parking garages into a gold mine for thieves if left unsecured. Finally, the semi-outdoor nature of these properties provides quick means of entry and escape for criminals.

For these reasons, we strongly recommend installing cameras at your parking garage. Doing so will provide a visible deterrent for those considering committing a crime. Just as importantly, it will allow you to review and save footage of any suspicious events that do occur. In this section, we’ll look at adding this surveillance on a couple levels. First, we’ll discuss providing a secured perimeter through the use of exterior cameras. From there, we’ll discuss adding a unique level of security through specialty cameras that fit parking garage security needs to a “T.”

Exterior Property Monitoring

A big part of securing your parking garage lies in your ability to keep “eyes” on the property’s exterior. Obviously, cameras go a long way in helping you achieve this goal. We recommend installing cameras that provide you a complete 360-degree view of your property’s exterior. This ensures that nobody entering or exiting can do so completely unseen. Cameras with high resolution and adequate night vision capabilities will give you the security you need in this instance. We recommend working with a company with the proper licenses and know-how to help you choose the right cameras and install them.

Once you’ve completed this important step, consider also taking other actions to make your surveillance more effective. For example, installing extra lighting on the outside of your building will enhance your cameras’ night vision capabilities. Installing optional equipment such as extra banks of infrared lights can also create this additional security for you. Now, let’s look at some industry-specific recommendations for your parking garage surveillance.

An Everfocus Vandal Dome Camera.

Vandal-Resistant cameras, such as this one by Everfocus, provide a strong measure of resistance against physical attacks.

Vandal Resistance and License Plate Recognition

As we mentioned earlier, parking garages provide both cover and time for criminals. This includes time to view and attempt to thwart the security measures you put into place. For this reason, we recommend installing cameras with vandal resistance, especially inside your garage where individuals can access your cameras more easily. Vandal-resistant cameras, such as the one pictured, have domes designed to withstand blows and blunt force attacks. Therefore, you will maintain the security provided by your camera and save money on adding replacements due to vandalism and environment-related wear and tear.

Furthermore, we often install cameras in parking garages specifically designed to read license plates. These license-plate-recognition (or “LPR) cameras have extremely high definition to ensure they can provide you the license plates of cars as they enter your garage. Additionally, they also have technology that allows them to capture a license plate number without getting the picture getting “washed out” by the reflectivity of license plate in difficult lighting conditions. These conditions make it very difficult for standard security cameras to capture plate numbers with consistency. Therefore, we recommend installing these specialty cameras to provide the proper level of security. Now, let’s finish up our discussion on parking garage security with a look at hiring guards for a physical security presence.

A Physical Security Presence

In addition to installing security equipment, achieving parking garage security also involves hiring professional guards to roam your property during both day and night. Just as we pointed out before with cameras, the mere presence of guards can deter crime. Thieves or vandals recognizing a visible, consistent physical security presence will consider committing their crimes elsewhere rather than risk getting caught. Of course, guards spotting a crime in progress will also work to stop the crime. Furthermore, you can even specify that you wish to hire specially-trained armed guards as way to provide extra deterrence and security against crimes in your parking garage.

Additionally, guards will also create a sense of security in customers. Commuters who see a security presence at your property will give you their business over your competitors who do not hire guard services. Therefore, these services pay off from both a security and a business standpoint! This unique combination of security and peace of mind for your customers make hiring guards one of our most important tips for securing your parking garage.

Putting it All Together for Complete Parking Garage Security

We hope that this post helps you effectively and efficiently secure your parking garage. Additionally, we encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have. We’ve helped many business owners secure their own garages, and would love to help with yours. Moreover, we offer free site surveys to both new and existing customers alike. While on site, we can address any security concerns you may have. Furthermore, we can make recommendations of our own based on our observations of your property. Together, we can create a complete plan to make your parking garage, as well as the vehicles and people inside of it, as safe and secure as possible!