Unsecured car parks are highly attractive targets for criminals. In addition to the cars themselves, there’s the option to steal their contents. More aggressive criminals might even target pedestrians on their way to and from their vehicles. That’s why it’s vital to ensure that your business car park is suitably protected. Here are some tips to help.

Seal up unused car parks

With the COVID19 situation still in flux, many business car parks are likely to be empty or at least largely empty. These car parks are unlikely to be targeted by thieves or muggers. They can, however, become destinations for fly-tippers.

Once a fly-tipper has done their work, it’s the landowner’s responsibility to clean up the mess. This can get very expensive even if a fly-tipper has only dumped general household waste. If they dump hazardous waste, then you can be looking at a huge bill.

Temporary Vertical Concrete Barriers (TVCBs) will stop fly-tippers from being able to drive onto your premises. You might want to supplement these with some kind of temporary fencing to deter pedestrians. This will deter vandals such as graffiti artists. Graffiti is not usually dangerous but it can be offensive and it is often expensive to remove.

Implement effective access control

Your access control is your first line of defence against crime. Ideally, you want your business car park to be fully enclosed except for one or more designated access points. Then you need some way of monitoring who gets through the access points.

In the very smallest businesses, using old-fashioned gates with keys may still be a feasible option. This is, however, limiting even on a small scale. Ideally, you should be looking at electronic solutions such as PINS and access fobs. You will also need a way to open the gate if a legitimate user forgets their PIN/fob. It’s therefore preferable to use access points with remote control.

If a space is too small for a gate, then you might want to look at rising-arm barriers and/or rising bollards. These both move in vertical space and hence are easier to fit into tight spaces. It has to be said that they offer somewhat less protection than gates. They are,  however, a lot better than nothing.

Depending on your business, you might want to offer a separate access point for pedestrians and cyclists. Turnstiles can be a good option here. They stop people on motor vehicles but most pedestrians can pass through them easily and cyclists can just lift their bikes over them. If you do this, however, may need an alternative option for people with mobility issues.

Have plenty of lighting

Adequate car park security should at least have decent lighting. Lighting may be the world’s oldest security measure but even in the modern world, it’s still one of the most effective. It’s also the foundation for other security measures like CCTV. Effective lighting means that criminals have, literally, nowhere to hide. Making this happen is usually a two-step process. Firstly, you need to install plenty of lights. Secondly, you need to remove any barriers to those lights.

As soon as light hits a barrier, it creates a shadow. This provides a hiding place and essentially defeats the purpose of installing the light in the first place. The best way to check for barriers is to look at your car park in the darkest hours of the night. You should be able to see every area as clearly as you can in the daytime. If you can’t then you either have insufficient lighting or an issue with barriers.

If you want to keep costs down, you might want to consider using motion-sensitive lighting. This is often fine, just remember to make sure that it stays on for a suitable length of time. Ideally, you should also have the option to activate your lighting remotely. Whatever form of lighting you use, make sure that the components are protected from both the elements and humans. If they get dirty, clean them quickly.


If you have effective lighting then you can also have effective CCTV. Just keep in mind that the use of CCTV is covered by GDPR. This has three main implications. Firstly, you can usually only cover private areas, not public ones. Even then, your use of CCTV has to be proportionate. Having cameras in a car park is, however, unlikely to be an issue as there is no expectation of privacy.

Secondly, you need to obtain consent to film people in your space. In reality, this is generally as simple as putting up a sign telling people that they will be filmed if they continue past the sign. This gives them the opportunity to turn back. If they decline to do so, they are effectively giving you consent to film them.

Thirdly, you need to ensure that any images are only kept for as long as necessary and then destroyed. Currently, the standard practice is to store them for six months and then delete them. Rules may change post-Brexit so be alert to this possibility. Images must be stored securely until they are fully deleted.

While this may sound like a lot of work, it basically just means that you need to use CCTV cameras mindfully and have an effective process for managing the images. In many cases, this effort is more than worth it due to the security benefits offered by CCTV.

Employ a security firm

If you have plenty of lighting and CCTV you can have your business car park remotely monitored by a security company. Just knowing that the car park is being monitored, even remotely, can be a powerful deterrent. It’s particularly useful if you have an intercom system so a security guard can safely challenge anyone on your premises. This in itself can be enough to persuade intruders to leave.

Of course, if anything does happen, then a security guard can inform the emergency services promptly. This will typically mean the police. Security guards can, however, provide help in other situations. For example, if a legitimate user has a medical event, a security guard can alert the first aider.

Author's Bio: 

Newgate are specialists in providing businesses through the UK and around the world with secured access solutions such as security barriers and gates, bollards and road blockers.