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Prevent Crime – Design in Your Security!

By Randy I. Atlas

During my career as an NCARB-certified architect

in safety and security design, I have noted that major errors in the design and operation of parking facilities arise from the mind-set that they are merely stables for vehicles and not places where human behavior occurs. Among the resulting problems from this shortsighted design

approach can be an environment with numerous hiding spaces, as well as poor visibility created by high walls, structural columns and multiple levels. Even worse, subsurface or under- ground parking facilities often include no outside visibility. Other problems include poor entrance and exit planning

with signage that does not assist users to quickly or logically move through the facility. Pedestrian access points fail to pro- vide natural surveillance from the sidewalk through the garage door and perimeter access by persons walking or driving is usu- ally unsupervised. Also, the same access protocol is always followed without

factoring in staffing patterns, late-evening checkouts and other use considerations. Often, there are no or inadequate electronic security measures for surveillance and access control. And, I have noted, the facility is usually dirty and under-

maintained. Vandalism, graffiti and general disrepair send a clear signal to potential criminals and other undesired users

Problems include poor entrance and exit planning with signage that does not assist users to quickly or logically move through the facility.

that the parking site is fair game, just as it makes legitimate users feel afraid. Parking facilities can avoid these problems if they use the pre-

cepts of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED). CPTED incorporates five principles. The first is use of natu-

ral surveillance. Sites are designed so that users can see farther and wider, making it harder for criminals to hide or carry out their activities. The second is creation of natural access control, including “spatial definition” that encourages legitimate site users and discourages illegitimate ones. The third is the encour- agement of “territorial behaviors” by legitimate users. The fourth is management and maintenance of the facilities that meet industry standards of care. The fifth is legitimate activity support, and encouraging and attracting legitimate and legal users and uses.

16 Parking Today

On the Ground Perimeter definition and access control deter unwanted

pedestrian-level access to the parking lot or garage. It can take the form of fencing, level changes, ground floor protection, and other architectural and environmental barriers that channel peo- ple to designated entry points and discourage others from hiding outside and inside the property or buildings. Ground-level metal screening should be used to prevent or

deter unauthorized access, while upper floors should be open with cable strung to prevent cars from overshooting the parking spaces and toppling off.

Continued on Page 18

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