We’ve all been told not to park our cars in parking garages at night, and people have frequently been warned that there are no promises about protection from muggings and theft when you choose to leave your car in a parking garage. Thankfully, technology has expanded to the point where we can address these issues and start to secure these traditionally dangerous sites.
If you want to learn more about how security cameras in garages and parking lots can help solve and prevent crime, read on for more information!
Privacy Versus Security
Privacy versus security has always been the stumbling that has governed the lack of technology-based security in public spaces. Before the advent of cell phones and other means by which people could be tracked and located at all times, personal privacy was a much more valid argument against installing security cameras in public locations like garages and parking lots.
However, technology is a daily presence in our lives. Combine this change of opinion about technology with our increased awareness of rape and assault statics in recent years, and you have a powerful argument for increased technological assistance with security in these kinds of public spaces.
In the US, a woman is 10 times more likely to be raped than to die in a car crash, for example. If these kinds of statistics do not argue for better security in garages and parking lots, then surveys that show that 1 in 10 property crimes happen in parking lots and garages should help cement the need for increased technology-based security in these spaces.
Parking garages are full of dark corners and spaces that are not visible from other parts of the garage. Criminals are aware of the lack of security in many parking garages and parking lots, and they often take full advantage of the anonymity of darkness or a lack of surveillance in these locations.
The Power of Security Cameras
Security cameras, also commonly referred to as CCTV or closed-circuit television cameras, are often the best option for use in public spaces where theft, assault, and other kinds of crime are common. CCTV is a good resource because the video can be clear and you can install night vision on the cameras to make sure that crimes at night are not nearly as attractive to criminals.
Studies show that crime in car parks has been reduced by 51% when CCTV is installed and warning signs are put up to notify that it is in place in the area in question. Criminals know that they can be readily identified on surveillance video and they are unwilling to take that risk. Even dummy cameras installed in buses and public locations have been shown to reduce crime.
As people have become more accepting of surveillance being a daily part of their lives, the original societal pushback about the use of surveillance cameras to protect areas like garages and parking lots has given way to a desire for increased security in public spaces. CCTV is one of the best means to offer up this end-result and it is a relatively low-cost means by which to secure a large space with a high level of effectiveness.
Legal Protection for Lot Owners
As people have grown more accepting of being on camera in public spaces, lot owners are offered the chance to protect themselves from liability. Lots that are not secured with a security camera system often install signs to that effect, thereby eliminating the chance that the lot owner will be held liable for theft or other crime that has been perpetrated on their property.
While many lot owners view the relatively low cost to install and maintain a surveillance system as a necessary part of lot ownership, those who cannot afford it are able to reduce the risk of being sued for liability if someone chooses to park in their lot after dark or after the parking lot staff has gone home.
For lot owners who have chosen to install a camera system, they are now able to ask for slightly higher parking fees to cover the cost of having security staff on hand to monitor lots at night. This is good for everyone as the quality of the parking lot and garage experience is improved for everyone when theft is deterred.
Types of Security Cameras
There are a variety of surveillance camera types that can be installed in spaces that need security. The shape of the space in question and the coverage that is required can affect which kinds of cameras are used.
This kind of camera is a modular camera that allows the user to choose custom lens types and camera housings. It can be used in outdoor environments as well as indoor spaces. While not the most attractive kind of camera, nor the most discreet, you can customize the lens on this kind of camera and they are a perfect choice if you don't need night vision and have a well lit area.
This kind of camera is common in garages where outdoor weather conditions can be hard on other types of cameras.
Dome Security Camera
This is like other kinds of cameras as far as resolution and behavior, but the camera is enclosed in a dome-shaped housing. This is a great camera for use in spaces like warehouses or other large areas that are not always fully indoors.
This camera style is discreet and it can be a great application for areas where you would like to have a slightly wider visible range available to you.
Pan Tilt Zoom Cameras
These cameras allow the operator to pan, tilt and zoom. This camera is operated with a joystick from a control room location, or can even be controlled from a smartphone. A PTZ cmaera is the perfect camera choice if you want to employ someone to examine entry and exit points with care throughout the day.
Some of these models will auto track items that are moving and this camera gives a huge range of coverage for large spaces.
This kind of camera is housed in a cylindrical housing and often comes with its own included infrared LEDs that provide night vision for the camera to see in complete darkness. These are great cameras to install in spaces that are dark. You will kill two birds with one stone when you install this kind of camera since you will be adding light for the camera to see as well as surveillance to the space.
This is a great companion element to add to your security system and it can complement large cameras with a better range of vision by adding light and security to dark corners.
Day & Night Starlight Cameras
These cameras are made with the intention that they will be used 24 hours a day. They come with a filter that adjusts for the changing light of the day and they will allow you to see objects and movement at night as well as during the day.
This is not the same as installing night vision, but you can deal with dimly-lit corners quite effectively with this camera, making it a great addition to well-lit areas that have some dark corners.
Thermal Security Camera
This kind of camera looks for heat to distinguish objects and people in its field of vision. In places that are foggy, or where steam and smoke might be a consistent factor in getting a good visual on people inside of a space, this camera can help make it possible to see people despite these challenges.
This camera will also work in complete darkness, which is a unique feature that can have applications in certain spaces that are not met by the technology of other kinds of cameras.
Tips for CCTV Installation
Lot owners who are wanting to offer the protection of CCTV in their lots will need to be aware of the best ways to install these cameras for maximum effectiveness. A garage or parking lot is a large space that can be hard to cover effectively and thoroughly. Installing your security cameras correctly can make a big difference to your ability to protect your customers from criminals.
Exits and Entries
You should always place CCTV cameras near all entrances and exits for your lot or garage. This will ensure that you will be able to capture license plate information or even footage of the face of someone coming or going into the garage who is suspected of a crime.
Being able to track a suspect both into and out of the garage can help greatly when seeking justice for a crime. Likewise, stolen cars and other stolen property which can be identified on the CCTV feed at the entrance and exits of your garage space can greatly assist the police as they look for suspects in these cases.
Surveillance systems can have blind spots if you do not install them in the correct locations to avoid this pitfall. Elevate your cameras to help with blind spots in corners or behind pillars. Also, make sure that you install enough cameras to cover all the spaces in your garage where crimes are most likely to occur. If you simply install cameras up high in the hopes of seeing everything with fewer cameras, you will lose a lot of your resolution quality.
Blind spots are best eliminated by the installation of a sufficient number of cameras to capture quality video of all the nooks and crannies of your lot or garage space. Consider a combination of daytime and nighttime camera technologies to help eliminate difficulties to do with weather, lighting, and other factors that can cause low-resolution video.
Security cameras can catch a great amount of detail when they are running, but only if there is enough light. You are defeating the purpose of installing CCTV in the first place if you do not also install enough lighting to make it possible to see what is being recorded on the video feed.
Put lights in dark corners as well as the central driving lanes of your lot or garage to make sure that your cameras can capture everything that they need to see. LED lights are cost-effective, last for a long time, and cast bright light that helps make things very visible on camera.
As an added bonus, bright lights are their own crime deterrent and customers will always feel much safer using your lot if it is well-lit.
While you are legally required to install signs that clearly state that your lot or garage is protected by CCTV, these signs can also help to prevent theft or crime. Install signs in prominent locations and make sure that these signs state the legal ramifications of crime that is conducted on your lot.
Make these signs bright as well, and make sure that they state that the coverage of the CCTV cameras is 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Your legal obligation will be fulfilled and you will have made it clear to criminals that your garage is not a place to visit to break into cars or to perpetrate muggings.
How Security Camera Systems Prevent Crime
Having a security camera system is not the same as having police on the scene guarding a location, but it does offer the police an advantage when a crime is reported to them. Gone are the days where a parking lot or a garage was the perfect place to break into cars or to attempt to steal people’s money and possessions. With the help of CCTV, police are able to make arrests more quickly.
CCTV offers the ability to actually see the face of the suspect when a crime is committed. This makes tracking down the offender much easier than in the past where a description might be all they had to go on. Eyewitness descriptions are notorious for being flawed, and this lack of information about parking lot or garage crimes could add days to the investigation process.
Because cameras are not readily visible to those who are perpetrating crimes, there is an increased chance that criminals will not be aware that it is in place when they decide to enact criminal behavior. The presence of security guards might discourage a criminal from taking illegal action on one level of a parking garage, but the lack of an enforcing presence on the floors above it could make them believe that they are secure and hidden.
Studies also indicate that the reduction of crime through the use of CCTV is also due to an increased feeling of safety and community that comes along with efforts to increase security. When people feel safer, they are more likely to report crimes and more likely to take action if they believe that something illegal is going on in their proximity.
Lastly, video footage that is taken of a crime can be instrumental in securing a conviction. In previous decades, faulty eyewitness accounts and other conflicting information could easily lead to suspects getting off because of a lack of evidence related to the crime. While video of the crime is not all that is needed to secure a conviction, it is often a large factor in cases where criminals are successfully tried for their crimes.
Can CCTV Prevent Crime All By Itself?
While it is possible that seeing a CCTV sign will deter many criminals, it will not always deter bad actors from taking action against people using a garage or parking lot. There is some evidence that CCTV is not as great a deterrent in places like cities and that CCTV does not always offer up enough coverage of an area to reliably identify a criminal after a crime.
Security cameras work best when they are paired with other kinds of prevention like better lighting and security personnel. Security camera technology is improving in leaps and bounds and there is no knowing what will come of this technology in the future. For now, pairing the right mix of surveillance cameras with personnel on-site is a very effective means of preventing crime in your garage or lot.
The value of security cameras in large spaces like garages and parking lots is clear, and when combined with the presence of security staff and things like gunshot detection systems and crime mapping software, it can be highly effective.
Preventing and Solving Crimes is Helped Via Security Cameras
Security cameras are a necessary part of any plan to provide safe and secure parking, both in cities and in more rural settings. If you own a parking lot or garage, installing a security camera system is always a benefit to both you and your customers. Beyond this, secure public spaces make people happier and healthier.
Crimes are much easier to solve when the police can identify a criminal and go find them. Being able to link the criminal with clear video footage of their actions can help make cases more open and shut as well.
Installing security cameras is a great way to prevent crime and to increase civic spirit. Technology is making the world a better place, one security camera at a time!