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Boston, Massachusetts

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Ken Margolin
Ken Margolin
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Parking Garage Crimes

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A United States Department of Justice survey lists parking garages as the second most likely site of non-violent crimes and the third most likely location of violent crimes (as of 1999). The problem seems especially pronounced in college settings and in urban areas. Floors of unattended vehicles with plenty of places to escape or hide, a general lack of good lighting or consistent security measures and the availability of people walking alone to and from their cars make parking garages obvious locations for crimes of vandalism, theft and assault.

The design and security activity of a garage can greatly enhance its safety, yet for many people parking in a less-than-ideal location can sometimes be an unavoidable choice. Whenever possible, it is best to park in a well-lit area of a garage, near an elevator or other entrance or exit, or near a staffed location, if one exists. It is advisable to have keys in hand when approaching the vehicle and to keep an eye out for people who appear to be loitering in the area. Often people are attacked and/or robbed while they are distracted by looking for their keys, managing packages, children, etc. If one has to retrieve a vehicle late at night or when a garage is not very full, it is a good idea to have a friend, co-worker or security employee (which most offices, malls, etc. have available) as an escort. Once inside the vehicle, keep doors locked and windows closed and proceed to the exit with an awareness of people who might be approaching the vehicle while it is moving slowly.

Parking garage owners and managers also have responsibilites to attempt to minimize parking garage crimes. Lights need to be adequate and working. Dark corners in particular need to be lit. The responsiblility increases if crime is a known problem in a particular parking garage. In that instance, a future parking garage assault is forseeable. Management may be obligated to install security cameras, employ roving security guards, and even offer to accompany patrons to their cars.