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Technology Can Round Out Your Security By Jody Stahl High-profile vehicles, their contents and their own-

ers make parking facilities targets for crime. The best way to deal with that is to conduct a risk assessment to discover where vulnerabilities exist and how best to shore them up. Liability Consultants of Sudbury, MA, conducted a

study of more than 1,000 liability cases involving mur- der, rape, robbery or assault occurring in a parking lots or garages. Facilities included at office buildings, plants, retail establishments, pay-for-park lots and garages open to the public. The settlements of the lawsuits aver- aged in excess of $1 million, depending on the severity of the crime. The study concluded that the best protection was to

incorporate specific security measures that involved closed-circuit television (CCTV) that can record license plate numbers, driver’s faces and criminal behavior. Parking facility owners can avail themselves of

advanced technology designed to work under numer- ous scenarios. Amulti-location parking facility owner in New York

City put in preventive technology such as panic and scream alarms and access control systems throughout all their facilities.Within several months of installation, an incident at one of their locations quickly turned from an argument into an assault.Ascream alarm activated when activity reached a certain level; simultaneously the police were alerted. That the assault was caught on CCTV video helped

(a) give police the ability to ID and capture the alleged assailants; (b) prosecute those involved; and (c) indemni- fy the facility owner. The recorded incident was further useful as evidence in the criminal trial. Parking facility owners may have all the signage

visible to inform the car owner they are not responsible but, in reality, they are. Most garages should have, as part of their standard security plan, a camera system at the points of entry and exit for noting the vehicle’s con- dition as it enters and leaves. Minor bumper damage, say, is generally not as large an issue as the scrapes, scratches, dings and vandalism – all, unfortunately, part of doing business. Parking facilities are at risk from vehicle owners sub-

mitting false damage claims. Being able to prove damage did or didn’t happen on the premises, as an insurance tool, is another reason a CCTV system proves valuable in minimizing annoying and frivolous insurance claims. Garage owners should work with security compa-

nies to design a system to meet all the security goals while providing an extra layer of insurance for the park- ing facility. Not all systems are the same; there have been

Parking Today

advances in camera technology that parking facility own- ers should understand. The role of the camera is to capture images. This

technology can be even more useful when megapixel cameras are installed. This new technology can pick up fine details – an excellent tool when determining when the damage occurred or focusing in on the minutest details contained in each picture frame. Signage informs users of the facility about the type

of system on the premises that’s designed to keep them, their vehicle and its contents safe. If a facility is moni- tored 24 hours a day, let it be known through signage; if not, specific signage can help parkers understand that and act accordingly. Lighting performs a valuable security feature, and

most security consultants recommend that for interior garages, vertical and horizontal 6-foot candles be installed and kept on. Camera systems today can provide exceptional detail

of the subject they record. This is especially important when reviewing digital frames of the parker and vehicle as they entered the facility. Cameras are so high-powered and, when positioned correctly, can take video or pic- tures of the subject from all angles. This is a great tool to determine if damage existed. Even though a business owner on Long Island, NY,

had employed a guard service to patrol his property, a vandalism problem persisted. He hired the company I work for, which decided to use video surveillance com- bined with a two-way audio through our off-premises 24-hour monitoring center. Our system, called iVision24, was deployed to

address this recurring problem. The self-contained wire- less unit was placed on the property. Almost on cue, a vandal was seen entering the lot by

monitoring professionals at the central station. Imagine the shock, when over the speaker attached to the camera came the words: “You in the blue sweatshirt, you are being watched and recorded. The police are on their way.” Our central monitoring station was able to have two-

way communications with not only the would-be perpe- trator, but also the guards and police who immediately converged on the scene. To address your security issues, be sure to make time

to assess the needs of reducing liability. View your prop- erty as a place that criminals might target, and take appropriate steps to safeguard your location through security best practices and advances in technology.

Jody Stahl, Director of Business Development for World Wide Security/GC Alarm, can be contacted at


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