The simple act of parking a vehicle and paying for it is a $100-billion industry in this country. Off-street parking (which is mostly privately owned) accounts for about two-thirds of this revenue, while on-street (mostly operated by cities and municipalities) accounts for the other third. Off-street parking, which can be either in aboveground or underground garages or on surface lots, is a fixture of modern American living in cities large and small. People park their vehicles out of necessity for the most part, always hoping that their vehicle will be secure – for the most part.
Notices posted at the entrances of parking facilities (the famous ‘Park At Your Own Risk’ signs) are accepted as indemnities under U.S. law, in that they indemnify parking garage or lot owners and operators from possible litigation in the event of fire, theft, vandalism and the like. However, parking garage or lot owners and operators are not entirely exempt from negligence in certain instances. For example, a woman who survived a brutal rape inside a Boston parking garage was awarded more than $6.6 million in August 2015 after the jury found the owner of the parking garage negligent for failing to warn and protect her from a rapist who had attacked another woman at the same garage just 12 days earlier. It is well-accepted that assaults and kidnappings from parking lots can result in negligence claims against owners of said parking lots.
OSP can help a parking lot’s litigation risk profile by assisting owners and operators with relevant security solutions that could include:
- a fully integrated security risk assessment for the parking lot
- considerations regarding the size and location, as well as type (underground /aboveground, surface lot / multi-story garage, etc.) of parking lot
- typical demographics of parking lot users and the vehicles they drive
- surveillance / CCTV / motion sensor and other allied capabilities and needs in the parking lot, including entrance and exit thereto, all parking bay areas, general walkways and corridors, elevators, booths, etc
- vehicle and personal items theft and grab-and- smash potential gap analysis
- assault and kidnapping gap analysis
- illumination surveys, including for security and secondary lighting
- security gaps and needs analysis for the entire parking lot
- training of parking lot staff regarding security issues and policies
- internal investigation policies and procedures by parking lot management, especially with regard to petty, non-violent incidents
- analysis of adjacent roads, public walkways and other means of entry into the facility by vehicles or pedestrians
- related security assessment of apartment buildings, offices, shopping malls and other buildings that may be adjoined to or nearby the parking lot
Some parking lot owners and operators may be of the opinion that their indemnity notices are all that suffice for them to be protected from litigation. This is incorrect and ill-advised thinking. Any parking lot, be it a garage or a surface lot, cannot afford to be complacent about security issues on their premises. Security management must be taken into due consideration, especially in light of case law and precedent that has not been kind to parking lots.
OSP’s commitment to any parking lot is that we will provide our esteemed clients with security solutions that are customer-oriented and customized to suit the needs and reality of the parking lot. The safety and security of a parking lot, especially of its clients who are often potentially at-risk when using the said lot, is our objective. It is what drives the service that we offer to the industry. It is what we do – and we do so with pride and conviction.