When we think about static security, we often think about our homes or our workplaces: the buildings that we want to keep safe and secure. But we often overlook the car parks that might be attached to them, without considering that these might, actually, be at greater risk than buildings to things like theft and vandalism.
One of the reasons for this is that we are used to leaving vehicles outside.
Even if we usually have off-street parking, when the vehicle is in use it will be on the roads and, when parked at the destination, it will be left alone. Fortunately, thefts and damage to vehicles is rare — partly because so many places have good security in place — but why are car parks a potential problem?
Although cars are left outside for much of the time, cars parks offer a combination of factors that make them an especially tempting target to those with bad intentions.
First, there is the sheer volume of temptation they offer.
A thief, of any type, might only find a few cars parked on a street. But a car park might have hundreds of vehicles, and they might fancy their chances of finding one that has been left insecure or with something valuable left in sight.
Second, cars often have less visibility than other areas cars might park.
A street or road, for example, is overlooked by houses or shops, with people coming and going. Car parks, which are not known for their aesthetic appeal, are often tucked out of sight, behind or even under buildings. This means there isn’t the natural surveillance you would get elsewhere.
Finally, there are many unknowns in car parks.
By their nature, most people won’t know what cars should be there, or who they belong to. On a road, people might recognise their neighbour’s car just as quickly as they recognise their neighbour. They might challenge someone trying a car doorhandle on their road, but they wouldn’t feel able to issue the same challenge in a car park.
These mean that the cars in car parks are at a higher risk than they would be elsewhere.
And there are several threats. People might actually consider car theft to be the biggest problem, but most car crime never sees the car moved from where it is parked, instead it’s theft from the car. An increasing problem is the theft of catalytic converters. These have more than doubled in the past year and can be stolen in less than a minute. Hybrid cars, in particular, are targeted because their converters have a higher amount of valuable metals, increasing their value.
But other crimes include the common smash and grab, breaking a window to steal a valuable that has been left. Or even checking cars to find one that has been left unlocked or with the window open to provide an opportunity to rummage through glove compartments to see what can be taken.
And, of course, there is the risk of pure vandalism, and occasionally owners will return to their vehicles to find damage, from smashed lights, broken wing mirrors, to scratches, that appears to have just been inflicted just for the sake of it.
There are a number of ways to protect car parks, but one of the best is including it in any manned guarding schedule you have. Using static security is not just for buildings, it can cover anywhere, and having uniformed, and quality security undertake a regular patrol can help deter criminals and keep visitors’ cars safe while they are parked.