We Ignore Safety Issues at our Peril


We Ignore Safety Issues at our Peril

Here is another article about a city (Cutler Bay, FL) that is considering requiring security camera’s in local garages.

Once again, the government is trying to solve a problem that should be handled by the local businesses. This is a free market issue. If people know that some garages are safer than others, they will park there and be more willing to shop in the businesses they support. They should be handling the problem themselves. However since they aren’t, city councils are stepping in, and as usual, will cause more harm than good.

Since 911, Century City Towers in Los Angeles has had guards on the entry ramps to its huge parking facility. They stop and check every car entering. My guess is that they have virtually no parking issues. This is done purely because the management felt after 2001 it was a good idea because of the terrorist threat. And they have kept them.

I am not for a minute saying that any garage over 25 spaces should have a security guard, but I am saying that responsible garage owners should consider what kinds of security they can and should afford. This is not something in which the local government should be involved. They will require cameras but not require anyone to monitor them. Therefore the crime will be committed and the police will have information to use after the fact. In the end, the crime still happens. Then they will require monitoring, and then someone to respond to the problem, and after a while, businesses will be providing their own police forces. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

What does make sense is for each business to take what precautions it feels necessary. The local parking folks should band together and make some recommendations. (white paint, new lights, cameras on entry/exit, patrols, emergency call boxes, etc). What is important in some high crime downtown areas may not be necessary in the ‘burbs. However the heavy hand of government will mandate solutions, mainly because the parking folks are doing little of anything on their own.

The UK has a “safe parking scheme” (I love the word ‘scheme’ which has a positive meaning in the UK but a negative one in the US) that is put forward by the British Parking Association. They have set up some guidelines for safety in garages and then have a local committee made up of garage folks and police to go around and check out the garages. Those that pass receive “Safe Parking Scheme” decals and folks know where “OK” garages are. Those that elect not to participate or fail simply don’t get the decal. Doesn’t take long to figure out who cares and who doesn’t. It’s all entirely voluntary, but peer pressure does seem to work.

We could learn from our British cousins.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. Being pro-active is the key. This type of political action usually occurs because of repeated issues. My experience is that if incidents occur and the parking management makes a public noticeable effort (something as simple as stepped up patrols or lighting improvements) that the perpetrators move on and the issue goes away. Ignoring it and/or playing the “it’s not our liability” card magnifies the issue.

  2. Being “intelligently” pro-active is the key. Again, with due respect your crime prevention tactics will not only not work but they will end up costing the parking company unnecessary money. Stopping and checking cars as they enter a parking facility doesn’t make any sense. What exactly are the guards looking for? Profiling has proven not to work, and could possibly be against the law. If there have been repeated car thefts from the garage or lot then guards could check the identiy of drivers when they leave to confirm that it is their vehicle. Whether there are full time monitors watching the video security cameras makes no sense either if the idea is to prevent crime. What exactly is the monitor looking for before the offender attempts to commit an offense? So someone is walking down the movement lane toward an exit, does that mean the police or security guards should chase them down? This is a good way to get sued for false arrest.
    As proven, again, surveillance camera systems can’t prevent crimes in public environments for the simple reason that the bad guys are generally not constant repeat users and therefore cannot be recognized prior to committing a crime.
    You might consider suggesting that parking facility owners and managers do some basic research into the subject of crime prevention before going out and spending “feel good” money.

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