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Parking Vs. Pop Culture Gritty Crime and the Parking Garage By Isaiah Mouw and Ben Bronsink

Parking vs. Pop Culture is a series of articles dedi- cated to significant parking references found in pop culture. The winner, either parking or pop culture, will be determined by whether the parking ended as a positive or negative experience in the particular pop culture reference.

In the movies and on television, parking garage drug deals, chases, murders and

muggings are commonplace. You probably have such a cinematic incident in mind already. An entire book could be written on crime in parking facilities found in pop culture. Let’s look at some examples in popular movies and on TV shows in just the past decade:

2001: In the Employee of the Month episode from HBO’s “The Sopranos,” a doctor is attacked, beaten and raped in a parking garage.

2002 : In the film “The Bourne Identity,” Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) escapes agents by hid- ing out in a parking garage.

2003: In the Mr. Monk Goes to the Ballgame episode from USANetwork’s “Monk,” a CEO and his wife are murdered one night in a deserted parking lot.

2004: In the 2004 film “Collateral,” a contract killer chases a cab driver through a parking garage.

2006: In the Happenstance episode from “CSI: Crime Scene Inves- tigation” on CBS, a happily married mother, who was sim- ply dropping off her dry cleaning, is fatally shot in a parking lot.

2007: In the Dumb Luck episode from TNT’s “The Closer,” a personal trainer is found dead in a valet parking lot.

2007: In the horror film “P2,” a businesswoman is pursued by a psychopath after being locked in a under- ground parking garage on Christmas Eve.

This selected list is just from the past decade, but crime

scenes in pop culture have been around for as long as TV and the movies have been. From the ‘30s with Fritz Lang’s “M” to the ‘70s with the “Dirty Harry” movies, parking facilities and crime seem to go hand in hand.

There is an inside joke

Are we missing something? Could these scenes of crime taking place in parking facilities be as commonplace as pop culture depicts it?

2009: In the Hopeless episode of “Criminal Minds” on CBS, a young couple are killed in a parking lot outside a restaurant.

2009: In theMemo from the Dark Side episode of NBC’s “Law & Order,” a young war veteran is found murdered in a uni- versity’s faculty parking garage.

2010: In the Special Delivery episode of “NCIS: Los Angeles” on CBS, a Marine with a high security clearance is found dead in a Beverly Hills parking facility.

2011: In the Key to the City episode of ABC’s “Detroit 1-8-7,” an assistant prosecutor is shot dead in a courthouse parking garage.


among parking professionals: If you want to put an end to crime, then simply close all parking facilities. Take a minute to think about

the last time a murder took place in one of the parking garages you operate or work in. For 99% of us, nothing comes to mind.We may have had a suicide jumper or been a victim to vehicle break-ins, but a violent crime as depicted in

almost every primetime mystery television show? Nothing. This is not to say that violent crime never takes place in park-

ing facilities, because unfortunately it does. But thanks to pop culture, the public’s general perception is that one is more likely to be a victim of violent crime in a parking facility than in any other location. Are wemissing something? Could these scenes of crime tak-

ing place in parking facilities be as commonplace as pop culture depicts it? A study conducted by Mary Smith ofWalker Parking Con-

sultants, using the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) shows that just 8.2% of violent crimes in 2005 occurred in parking facilities. As a comparison, 38% occurred at or near one’s resi-

Continued on Page 28 Parking Today

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