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Increasing Public and Private Parking Lot Safety

Parking Areas Are Affected By High Crime and Incident Rates

Each day in the United States, millions upon millions of people park their cars in parking lots. For most of us, parking lots are just a part of the background and don’t have much of an impact on our day. However, parking areas are actually some of the most dangerous spaces in the country. They’re designed to accommodate as many vehicles as possible and are inherently filled with transient people – after all, no one stays in a parking lot for long. And when a vehicle is parked, unattended, in a lot for an extended period of time, it’s usually because its occupants are inside a building and out of sight.

Even more dangerous than parking lots are parking garages. Their design almost always means that they’re fairly dark (especially if they’re underground lots), and there are a lot of places – between cars, behind large pillars, behind stairwell doors – where someone could hide. 

Aside from risks from people, 20% of all car accidents happen in parking lots – including 70% of all hit-and-runs. While many of these accidents are minor, they result in about 500 deaths per year and over 60,000 injuries. Additionally, one-third of all criminal acts take place in parking lots – including 22% of car thefts and 10% of all violent crimes – including assaults, kidnappings, and murders.

Security Measures Dramatically Reduce Crime Rates in Parking Areas

In an effort to increase parking lot security and make them safer spaces for customers, staff, and vendors, there are a few things that property owners – including independent lot managers – can do. 

1. Video Surveillance

One of the biggest things parking lot owners can do is install video surveillance. Studies have shown that simply installing surveillance cameras can result in more than a 50% reduction in crime, specifically in parking areas, as they act as a deterrent to criminal activity. And that’s before you actually turn them on and use their recorded footage to either stop crimes in progress or obtain evidence to provide to law enforcement agencies.

License Plate and Facial Recognition software can also provide security personnel with alerts when individuals on watch lists or unauthorized vehicles or people are attempting to gain access to a restricted parking area. In some instances, surveillance detection systems may be checking for approved vehicles that belong to current employees or residents, but they can also cross reference watch lists so that anyone from terminated employees to known criminals are not allowed access to the premises.

2. Access Controls

For parking lots and garages that are for use by specific individuals, such as building employees or residents, access controls can ensure that only authorized vehicles and individuals gain access. It also means that in the event of an incident – either at the parking area or nearby – there’s a record of a time-specific individuals and/or vehicles were arriving and departing, which could help law enforcement with their investigations.

3. Public Safety DAS and Cellular DAS

Parking garages – especially those that are underground – have notoriously bad cellular reception due to their construction (heavy concrete and steel) and the massive amount of interference in the way. This means that when someone is in trouble, they may be unable to call for help – and when first responders arrive on the scene, they may be hindered in coordinating their response efforts. 

By deploying a Distributed Antenna System that will boost both cellular signals for private citizens and and radio signals for public safety officials, parking lot (and building) owners can create a safer, more secure environment for their customers, guests, and staff.

4. Notification and Alerting Systems (MNS)

In the event of an emergency, it’s imperative that everyone in the area knows exactly what to do and where to go – and parking lots are no different. From huge stadium parking lots to multi-level garages, the amount of emergency situations that can – and all too frequently, do – occur in parking areas is immense, and ensuring that everyone on all levels or in all sections is aware of an emergency situation and knows what action needs to be taken (shelter in place, evacuate, avoid a specific area, etc.) could save lives and help first responders navigate the situation more efficiently. 

5. Remote Monitoring

Finally, being able to remotely monitor and maintain your surveillance cameras, access controls, and notification and alerting systems helps to ensure that property and individuals are safe at all times by preventing outages or downtime. Many of the router’s MCA provisions allow for T1 line connectivity that can automatically failover to cellular should the T1 go down or slow to unacceptable levels. In locations where a T1 line isn’t available or is too costly to install, the routers can provide primary connectivity on one cellular network and backup connectivity by auto-switching to a different SIM on another carrier.


For over 30 years, MCA has provided expertly tailored communications solutions to property developers and builders needing two-way radios, job-site connectivity, and wireless signal enhancement systems. Our team offers top-tier support for every aspect of your business and mission-critical communications projects from start to finish. Our engineers assess your needs, design custom solutions, and install systems that fit your organization’s exact requirements.

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