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Purse snatchings, vandalism, assaults, car jackings, robberies, abduction, rape and even shootings have become a problem in the parking lots of some of America’s most visible stores where there is inadequate security in place. The parking lots of Walmart,Target, Lowes, and many other retail shopping centers have become prime locations for criminal conduct. It is the responsibility of the retailer to assure that their guests who are invited to shop and socialize on the site of their businesses have a safe and enjoyable experience while on their premises whether in the store or in the parking lot.

Parking lots come in all shapes and sizes from the gigantic high-rise or subterranean multi-level structures to the flat lots of a small retail strip-center with only a few stores. While parking lots provide a great service by allowing us access to retail and office centers, they sometimes create a substantial risk. What determines the relative safety of a parking are governed by three factors. They are 1) the nature of the parking lot, 2) the crime history, and 3) the location.

The crime rate of a parking lot can be affected positively or negatively by its’ design. Large high-rise or subterranean structures can have poor visibility because of walls, pillars, and elevation changes.

Stores should also have security on premises with a visible presence. Regular patrols should be undertaken and where appropriate, video surveillence should be available. The property should be well lit at night and designed to avoid remote areas with limited visibility. In addition internal protocals should be adopted to protect patrons on the premises and to assure a quick response in the event of an emergency situation.

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