When determining security needs for large corporations, industries and institutions, one aspect that often gets overlooked is the parking facility security needs. With increased hours of operation, many larger companies and educational institutes offer longer hours of access, with some being 24/7 operations.
It’s easy to think that if the garage is open at all times, why would it need security? But there are real benefits to making sure that unauthorized people are kept out of these spaces, such as reducing theft and increasing personal safety.
Security grilles are a perfect solution to help increase safety at all times. A complete parking gate system with security gates can easily control who has access to the garage and its contents without increasing manpower requirements.
Retrofitting a roll down gate has typically been an issue for existing building as a metal gate often occupies too much headroom. New compact security gates have helped solve that issue.
Lately, there has been a sharp increase in requests for safety gates for school and college projects. In today’s world of instant access to news and unfolding events, nothing hits harder than school and college tragedies. The demand to properly lock down sections of, or even entire, campuses through automated security gates has spiked dramatically.
That said, today’s campuses are not defined in a way you can just fence in. They include houses and unique buildings such as parking garages. A normal house or classroom building can be secured with doors that require unique access via methods such as swiping ID’s, but many parking structures do not require the same level of security. Because parking garages have such wide openings, and are often open around the clock, they get overlooked.
Installing security garage doors is one option, but if you want to allow for both visibility and ventilation, roll down security gates (also called grilles) are a great solution. Security grilles are made of interlocking metal links that have a solid rod running through eyelets in each end. The links can be manufactured in various metals, sizes and thicknesses and typically arranged in a straight or brick pattern.
Grilles come in multiple configurations and allow for nearly unlimited design opportunities. They enable parking garage security without compromising visibility or air flow – which is very important when cars are idling in underground parking structures. Roll down security gates can also be automatically tied to various secure activation systems - like ID cards, RFID readers, etc – ensuring that only approved and identifiable people gain access. Having a controlled understanding of who has access to all areas is critical to maintaining a secure campus.
The hospitality industry has become more keenly aware that security and safety does not just involve the square footage inside the premises. They realize that securing a facility extends to all areas that patrons and employees utilize – such as surrounding lawns, public spaces and, yes, parking garages.
Understanding that guests expect a hotel’s parking structures to be as safe as its lobby has led to the realization that simple parking arm barriers are no longer adequate security measures. The security gained by using a parking grille gives guests peace of mind, discourages theft or assault, and significantly reduces unauthorized access to hotel premises.
In addition, law enforcement resources have become more and more stretched, leaving hospitality and commercial businesses feeling they have to protect themselves. Security gates are a simple, cost effective deterrent for property crime and other criminal behavior.
When it comes to security, most government facilities, high tech firms and other high-risk locations have substantially increased building safety. That has forced terrorists, criminals and other bad actors to get creative. Look back to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center - which was possible because of open access to a public parking garage under the north tower. If we’ve learned anything in the past several decades, it’s that the best way to prevent tragic occurrences is to restrict access to vulnerable areas. Advancements in activation technology enable security grilles to deploy automatically in the event of any threat. In addition, multiple customizable designs in overhead rolling grilles allow high target establishments to secure areas without having to enclose the entire area off. Once access is restricted, advanced parking gate system safety measures can include x-rays, electronic scanning, thermal imaging or acoustical testing.
Both security companies and law enforcement have long known that locations where people and their valuables are together at the same time, such as in a parking garage, are favorite targets for criminals. From personal theft and assault to vandalism and public intoxication, a parking area can supply perpetrators with easy targets and tempting assets.
Liability Consultants, Inc. of Sudbury, Massachusetts, conducted a study of more than 1,000 premises security liability lawsuits throughout a ten-year period. The study revealed that in almost one-third of all the cases reviewed, the basis of the lawsuit was a murder, rape, robbery or assault that occurred in a parking lot or garage. These parking facilities were attached to office buildings, hotels, apartments, nightclubs, bars, retail stores, shopping centers, and garages open to the general public. The study also found that jury awards or pre-trial settlements to the plaintiffs in the lawsuits averaged between approximately $1 million for assaults and $2.75 million for homicides. Juries have overwhelmingly decided that the establishment attached to the parking area bears the responsibility for protecting their patrons, school faculty, students or employees from harm in the parking area.
Yes, security is more problematic for parking garages. Parking garages allow more vehicles to be parked on the same amount of space. The ability to seen in one’s own surroundings, known as natural surveillance, is reduced in parking garages. Despite a garage or lot’s vulnerabilities, parking facility managers have an arsenal of safety tools and design measures they can implement to create a safer parking environment. Deploying a parking gate system using security grilles is a major preventative step.
No security plan is perfect. For a security measure to be preventative, it has to physically stop a potential criminal from committing a crime. Access control is an important means of reducing criminal opportunity. Access control is gained through controlling the entering and exiting of pedestrians and vehicles. And security grilles are a great access control solution!
When a parking garage is accessible 24 hours a day, there is an increased chance or crime. Surveillance, patrols, the amount of pedestrian traffic and the likeliness of being seen diminishes in the late evening and early morning hours. However, limited access to a parking structure can greatly help. Security gates combined with an identification access system will ensure that unauthorized pedestrians and vehicles will not gain access to the parking garage. While increased lighting, cameras and warning signs can all be effective crime deterrents, only preventing access can directly stop crimes from happening. The most effective means to control parking garage access, is to install an overhead rolling security grille. And in our minds, there’s no better access control solution than a rolling security grille!
One issue that has stopped several parking facilities from installing a rolling gate is that fact that most roll down gates take up 24” or more space in the headroom. With 2010 ADA guidelines requiring at least 98” of clearance for handicapped accessible vans, most exisiting parking garages do not have enough space to give up. Now there has been new compact security grilles that have come put that not only take up 50% less room, they offer high speed, high performance capabilities also.
For more information about overhead rolling grilles and how you can benefit from them or if you have a specific solution you need to solve, contact us today.
Cookson continues to lead in innovations in roll up door, security gate and closure products. To inquire how Cookson’s experts and customer service can help you with your next roll up door project, call 1-800-294-4358