Ensuring security at commercial plazas and shopping malls are a challenge because of the number and variety of people coming and going all day. From shoppers on foot to all kinds of vehicles, contractors, tenants, loiterers it is quite a mammoth task to keep tabs on all that is going on.
How do you improve commercial shopping plaza security to protect your property, your tenants, and your visitors? Just as there are advancements in security technology, criminals have developed equally sophisticated and creative methods.
The most important tip to keep in mind – securing your property must be proactive rather than reactive. Do not wait for incidents to happen before taking necessary steps. Here are 5 common security problems that commercial plazas suffer from and what you can do today to prevent or combat these problems:
Loitering may not seem like a major problem at first glance, but it can have a negative impact on the overall environment of your commercial plaza. While it is not a crime itself, it can lead to vandalism and other serious crimes if it’s not controlled. Moreover, the presence of loiterers and trespassers can make your customers feel unsafe and deter them from visiting your commercial shopping plaza.
One of the easiest and most effective tools to discourage loitering is to ensure good visibility within and around your plaza. Ensuring good lighting in and around your perimeter will deter intruders from trying to vandalize or break-into your commercial property. Identify all blind and dark spots around your property. Ensure all entries and exits are well lit. Safety and security is greatly enhanced by installing adequate lighting in areas such as parking lots, stairwells and dark hallways. Consider motion activated lights for external areas and internal lights that make your building look occupied even when there is no one around. It is highly unlikely for any troublemakers to be taking drugs in a well-lit area.
Limit access to your plaza building to few monitored entrances. Protect them with appropriate security hardware. Maintain good visibility of all entryways, possible hiding spots around the property. You can also discourage loiterers by keeping your property clean and litter-free. Remove any graffiti or garbage immediately to promote a good environment to your customers.
Security guards can be employed to deal with loiterers, but they are costly and have often been proven inefficient. A much more dependable and less costly solution using the latest video surveillance technology is remote video monitoring (or video security guard as we call it). With this service, cameras with intelligent video analytics monitor high-risk points on your plaza. Whenever there is suspicious activity these cameras alert professionally trained remote monitoring agents who can then view the camera feed in real time. If there are loiterers or trespassers, the agents will warn them through a loudspeaker and siren to force them to leave the premises. If the problem persists, the monitoring agents can alert authorities if required, or even dispatch a security guard to further deter them.
2. Vehicle damage and theft
Parking lot accidents happen all the time. The combination of vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, shopping carts, and tight driving lanes make them a potential recipe for disaster. While most parking lot accidents are minor and involve low speed impact, they can still result in serious damage to your customer or tenants’ vehicles. Sometimes there are theft complaints on your commercial plaza and as the property manager, it now falls on you to mediate the dispute or provide the evidence.
Ensuring video surveillance is installed all around your commercial plaza, including parking lots, is a great way to achieve a safer environment. In case of an incident, you can find video evidence to determine who is at fault. Installing security cameras and displaying signs notifying your plaza is monitored is a great way to deter vandals and thieves from damaging vehicles on your property.
The size of your parking lot will determine which video surveillance system you will need to install. This will determine how many cameras you need and how to space them out. You also have the option to choose fixed lens cameras or pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras that will allow you to look closer at live activity. The size of your lot will also determine the resolution of the cameras you should choose. To successfully read the license plate of a vehicle you need to have the right camera.
3. Property maintenance contracts are not followed
Running a commercial shopping plaza successfully involves taking care of numerous operational variables. As the property manager you have your hands full ensuring daily processes are followed e.g. garbage is removed on schedule, pest control visits take place as per agreement, snow removal is done promptly in winter, lawn services are professionally done and other maintenance contractors do their due diligence. Sometimes there is unauthorized garbage dumping at the plaza at night and you are then responsible of disposing it at your own cost.
It is not possible to monitor and control all these operational processes physically, especially when you are responsible for multiple plazas. This is where your commercial plaza video security system can employ technology to make your life easier. Through your video surveillance system, you can monitor each of your plazas remotely. You can track if all maintenance services are being done on schedule and monitor the quality of the work by maintenance contractors. This can increase your operational efficiency by eliminating the need to travel to each property in person. Real-time remote monitoring also means if you are not happy with the quality of the work done by a service contractor, you can take corrective measures immediately.
4. Liability due to slip and fall
It can take just one slip and fall injury claim to put you out of business. If someone claims to slip and fall on your property, it is good to have evidence of what really happened. A good video surveillance camera can protect you from false liability claims. Ensuring that you have the proper resolution will make the difference between capturing an incident and feeling let down with a grainy image. Once cameras are installed, they need to be maintained properly and checked often to ensure that they are recording.
5. Overnight parking
Your video surveillance system can help you track and take corrective measures against any unauthorized overnight parking at your commercial plaza. Again, just like loitering, it is not a crime but can lead to more serious consequences if left unchecked.
Commercial plaza security can diminish a property’s attractiveness, make customers and tenants feel unsafe as well as lead to more undesired activity. On the other hand, your bottom-line ROI will increase when you’re able to cut out criminal or illegal activity. Ensuring a safe environment at your commercial plaza is a key step in attracting businesses and customers to your commercial plaza.
Do you have a commercial plaza that needs better security? Contact us today for a no obligation consultation.