Most experts agree that lighting is the most important safety feature in a garage/lot to minimize the risk of theft, accidents and violent crimes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 1 in 10 property crimes—including motor vehicle theft and property theft—occur in parking lots or garages.
One of the most effective ways to deter crime in parking lots/garages is by making sure that the lighting in the facility is adequate. According to a DOJ report, “one the few facility features that has been documented to reduce crimes in parking facilities.” Lighting design plays a very important role in creating a secure parking lot/garage.
First, consider the design features that actually invite crime into a parking lot/garage:
● Vague and Unclear Signage. Because large parking facilities can often become confusing and difficult to navigate, poor signage can distract people from what’s happening around them as they try to search for their cars--making them susceptible to crime.
● Failure to Control Access. When parking lots are unsecure, they provide criminals with easy access. Entrances and exits should monitor access and control traffic flow.
● Poor Lighting. When a facility is well-lit, it eliminates the potential for hiding spaces and helps to increase awareness of parker’s surroundings.
● Lack of Surveillance. By making sure a facility is properly monitored with security guards and camera systems, it can be a major component to deter crime.
● Lack of Maintenance. When criminals see that a facility is rundown, it alerts them that security is not tight and actually invites criminals into the facility.
If you think that you might need to make improvements in your lighting, here are a few things to consider:
● If your parking facility is over ten years old, updating your lighting to more modern fixtures will provide ongoing savings with reduced energy costs.
● Lighting plays a critical role in how well camera systems work in an outdoor environment. In order to get the most out of your CCTV security system, having uniform lighting is important..
● Be informed about the ordinances that your city or town has enacted regarding “light pollution.” Ordinances set limits on the amount and type of lighting that you can use in your facility.
● Lighting requires regular maintenance. If the lighting in your facility is older or dirty, you will get less output. It is important to have lighting cleaned and maintained on a regular basis.