Security Tips for Airport Parking Lots
Parking at airports is convenient, though it also has some inherent risks. Leaving a car unattended for hours, days or weeks at a time in a crowded area makes it vulnerable to theft, vandalism and damage from natural elements. Luckily, there are many ways airport leaders can make their parking lots a safer place to leave cars, which we've condensed into 10 handy airport parking lot security tips.
1. Install Sufficient Lighting
Does the airport parking lot have ample lighting? The lot's driving and pedestrian areas must have plenty of bright lights, with minimal shadows where an attacker can hide. High-risk areas include elevators, stairwells and the exteriors of parking garages.
Another safety feature to consider is lighting during the day. Sometimes, the stark contrast between bright daylight and a dark garage when drivers enter a parking garage can momentarily blind them. Lighting the entrances to parking garages will minimize the chance of this happening.
2. Implement Access Control
Airports can also make parking lots more secure by controlling access to specific areas. Gates, security booths and raising and lowering arms help to manage pedestrian and vehicular entry. Use structural elements such as fencing and cement barriers or block off spots that allow attackers to hide, such as cutaway spaces under stairs.
3. Stay on Top of Maintenance
If a light burns out, replace it quickly. Staying on top of maintenance will keep the lot well-lit while sending potential intruders a message that the lot receives constant, thorough attention. Criminals know they are more likely to get caught in a well-maintained lot, which often discourages them from taking the risk.
In addition to discouraging crime, a well-maintained lot will also lower the chance of injuries and accidents. One of the four Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles established by the National Crime Prevention Council is Image and Milieu, which states that a well-maintained property will significantly improve safety.
Weathered, wet or damaged surfaces can cause people to slip, trip or skid, so putting in permeable surfaces is an eco-friendly and effective way to keep excess moisture away and ensure the property has sufficient water drainage.
Keeping the landscaping well-groomed is crucial, as dense, tall shrubbery gives criminals a readily available hiding spot. Trim the bushes and plants around the parking lot and thin them out so an attacker would be unable to use greenery to hide.
4. Use Security Officers
Having guard patrols in the parking lot is another standard way to increase a parking lot's safety. An authoritative presence is an effective method for deterring crime. Ensuring officers have training and support will make them more successful at their jobs.
5. Install Surveillance Systems
Places with more visibility experience less crime. Besides adequate lighting, landscaping and access control, a CCTV system will monitor activity in airport parking lots. It's also a tool that will help security officers perform essential functions.
Remember that a surveillance system also requires monitoring to function well. Having some cameras in a parking lot is only as effective as the security response to the threat. If a criminal realizes there is a delayed response to their suspicious behavior — such as peering into cars or watching other patrons' activities — it may convince them that they can commit a criminal act unnoticed.
Having an unmonitored surveillance system can even further encourage criminals to act. When parking patrons see security cameras, it often provides them with a false sense of safety, and they may lower their guard against crime.
Effective monitoring solutions for a CCTV system include the following.
- Voice-activated security sound systems: By installing a voice-activated security sound system, the sounds of an attack will activate all CCTV cameras in the vicinity. The cameras then focus immediately on the activity and alert security guards.
- Motion detectors: Airports must also consider installing motion detectors or investing in a CCTV system that includes analytics for detecting motion. These are both effective for alerting security personnel of a disturbance on the property. A motion sensor detects infrared heat, triggering an alarm if the heat in a given area increases suddenly. These systems prevent a false alarm caused by the wind.
6. Install Emergency Phones and Panic Buttons
Installing emergency phones and panic buttons considerably improves parking lot safety. The mere presence of these will help deter crime and ensure that help arrives quickly in an emergency.
An emergency phone will allow parking lot patrons to access security personnel directly when they need it. When someone presses a panic button, an alarm will sound immediately and direct security personnel to the emergency location. For accidents, attacks and health emergencies, tools like these make security guards even more effective.
7. Create Sidewalks for Pedestrians
In many parking lots, pedestrians must use the same area as moving vehicles. Often, drivers are so intent on finding an available spot that they neglect paying attention to pedestrians. Adding walkways between the bumpers of parked cars keeps pedestrians out of vehicular traffic and allows them to transition safely from their vehicles to the building.
Airports must also consider raising the pedestrian walkways at crossings to the level of surrounding areas. These eliminate the need for pedestrians to step up or down, which slows down car traffic. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to lower walkways that approach an intersection. In these places, installing longer-sloped curbs and transitions will avoid the handicap ramp feel and look at the intersection.
8. Make Sure Handicapped-Accessible Parking Spaces Are Code-Compliant
Ensure the size, number and location of accessible parking spaces comply with the most recent building codes and state and federal laws. Put handicapped spaces wherever provides the shortest route or travel to a building entrance. In buildings with multiple entrances with adjacent parking — including most airports — the handicapped spaces must appear closest to the doors.
There must always be an unimpeded route from accessible parking spaces to the building entrance. Ideally, the path has no stairs or curbs and is at least three feet wide with a slip-resistant, firm surface.
9. Add Speed Bumps
Speed bumps, or speed humps, are critical for discouraging speeding, which will help protect pedestrians and other drivers using the parking lot. While putting up speed limit signs is a practical first step to preventing speeding, a speed bump physically forces drivers to slow down, lest they damage their cars.
Place speed bumps near crosswalks, intersections, corners and other places that require speed control. These tools will drastically reduce the chances of a speed-related accident in these places.
10. Use Easy-to-Understand Signs
Communication is a final, vital element of parking lot safety. Signs to inform drivers, pedestrians and potential criminals are essential for making the lot safer. Ensure any messages are familiar and straightforward.
Recommended messages for posted signs include the following.
- The security systems installed: Let potential criminals know what security systems are in place to stop and prosecute them.
- The security tools available: Include voice-activated security systems, panic buttons and emergency phones. Clear signage also shows patrons how to use the security tools effectively.
- Driving safety: Signs can also indicate how drivers need to behave in the parking lot. It is crucial to establish traffic flow. In parking lots, drivers will often back out of a spot or drive the wrong way down a one-way aisle and forget about pedestrians completely. Install signs and arrows to keep the traffic in the parking lot moving in a single direction and guide drivers where they need to go, which is especially useful near blind spots. Use high-visibility paint and striping to identify parking spots, two-way traffic, lanes for emergency vehicles, pedestrian crosswalks and handicapped spaces.
Benefits of Shade and Hail Protection Structures for Airports
Covered airport parking improves the overall experience for travelers who must leave their vehicles behind. VPS' covered parking structures allow airport parking vendors and airport operators to offer a premium parking option protecting travelers' vehicles against damaging natural elements, including UV rays, hail and other inclement weather.
- Classic: Commonly built with pedestal-style foundations, VPS' Classic Cantilever allows for installation in single, double or triple rows.
- Heritage: Our most popular option, the Heritage Cantilever, is available for single- or double-row installation. It has a standard-hip roof system.
- Crescent: A newer design, the Crescent Cantilever features a continuous roof system and trussed-cantilever beams. Choose single- or double-row installation.
- Panorama: Our Panorama Cantilever boasts an attractive design with an arched, continuous roof. Its elegant simplicity has made it one of our more sought-after new designs.
Cantilevered structures feature columns only on one side, leaving parking spaces and drive lanes open and unobstructed.
Below are some benefits of installing a VPS protective structure for airport parking lots.
- Aesthetics and curb appeal: A parking lot's appearance impacts a visitor's perception of its quality. VPS structures with fabrics and steel color designs that match your branding will help bring attention to the covered lot.
- Ability to distinguish specific areas of the parking lot: Customizing VPS structures to highlight various facility areas also allows customers to identify them quickly.
- Passenger safety: The fabric protection structures can also help improve passenger safety.
- Wide variety of solutions: We design our products to provide an attractive, appealing solution to the many kinds of spaces that cars occupy, like parking areas, rental lots and loading areas.
- Protection from harsh natural elements: Without any coverage, vehicles and passengers are at risk of damage from UV rays, heat and inclement weather like hail.
- Accommodation of additional safety accessories: We can design and fabricate our structures to accept internal wiring for security cameras, lighting fixtures and other additional safety accessories.
- Opportunity for additional revenue: Covered parking is an amenity for which customers are often willing to pay more.
- More comfort for passengers: Since covering cars protects them from the sun's heat and UV rays, they're considerably cooler than those left out in the sun, providing passengers with a more comfortable experience.
Protection for Airport Parking Lots
For nearly three decades, VPS has been leading the industry with our production of cutting-edge, fabric-based structures and has received particular acclaim for our structures that protect cars from hail damage. Our cantilevered structures are an ideal choice for parking lots that require unimpeded movement for vehicles and people.
Our cantilevered structures come in a wide range of roof styles and allow our clients to create an aesthetic that perfectly suits their business. Our high-quality designs also help facilities avoid catastrophic losses from hail and provide protection from UV rays and heat, which can also cause considerable damage over time.
Any airport parking lot can benefit from quality protection from hail, UV damage and heat. Our experts can help business owners choose the best VPS structure for any airport parking lot. To get started with parking lot protection, fill out our form, and one of our representatives will respond promptly.