As business owners, resolving homeless issues has become one of the most intricate and complicated issues we face today. Finding security surveillance solutions can be difficult and require collaboration from different organizations within our communities. For businesses, trespassing and panhandling by homeless individuals can lower comfort levels of customers and employees at the company’s facility. More serious situations can arise when vandalism, overnight camps, and theft occur. Additionally, there are several reasons people fall into homelessness, such as job loss, mental illness, and drug/alcohol abuse; which make it difficult to know how to deal with homeless issues.
So what steps can businesses and organizations take to safeguard their facilities from crimes and incidents related to homelessness? One idea is to apply the “Broken Window Theory”, which states that maintaining and monitoring urban environments to prevent small crimes such as vandalism, public drinking, and turnstile-jumping helps create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness, thereby preventing more serious crimes from happening.
The theory assumes that the landscape “communicates” to people. A broken window transmits to criminals the message that a community displays a lack of informal social control and so is unable or unwilling to defend itself against a criminal invasion. It is not so much the actual broken window that is important, but the message the broken window sends to people.
There are also many other techniques you can utilize when dealing with incidents involving homelessness specifically, including parking lot security for trespassers.
Below is a list of precautions you can take to protect yourself and your company from potential damage or lawsuits.
- Avoid confrontations and maintain a safe distance. Use caution in dealing with homeless individuals.
- Do not offer food or money. It may encourage more panhandling. If you are inclined to help the homeless, it is better to contribute to local charities, missions, food banks or social service organizations that assist the needy.
- Do not permit anyone to camp or loiter on your property.
- Do not allow anyone to store shopping carts, bedding or other personal belongings on your property.
- Restrict access to sidewalk overhangs, alcoves, or other areas protected from inclement weather.
- Lock or remove handles from water spigots.
- Keep trash dumpsters locked when not being filled or emptied.
- Secure outside storage sheds or containers.
- Lock or turn off exterior power outlets.
- Lock gates after hours and enforce parking lot security for trespassers
- Install motion-activated exterior lighting after hours.
- Trim landscaping to eliminate hiding places.
- Canopies of mature trees should be maintained at least 8 feet above the ground.
- Bushes should be trimmed to less than 3 feet except where privacy or environmental noise mitigation is a primary concern, or where higher plants would not block any views/ lighting/camera coverage or provide hiding places.
- Keep property free of trash, litter, junk, etc.
- Use graffiti-resistant paint or anti-graffiti coatings on the sides of the building and any other design features that could be vandalized.
- Additional protection can be obtained by planting vines and bushes along the sides of the buildings. They help keep vandals away from the walls and cover areas that might otherwise be vandalized.
- Report graffiti and other vandalism and clean up promptly after the officers have taken pictures.
- Design public amenities to discourage misuse. For example, shape benches and other seating to be comfortable for sitting but not for sleeping.
- Have plants at sidewalk level. If raised planter boxes are used, the sides should be at least 4 feet high or their tops should uncomfortable for seating. By making them very narrow and allowing plants to grow over them, it will make them less desirable.
- Establish, post, and enforce rules of conduct for public use of private property. Include signs of nighttime curfews and prohibitions of loitering, illegal lodging, drinking alcoholic beverages and drug activities. The signs should state that persons engaged in prohibited conduct will be asked to leave the property and that failure to cease the behavior or leave the property will result in a call to law enforcement.
- Install Remote Guarding security solutions to cover public areas. Remote Guarding cameras are integrated with military-grade algorithms capable of detecting people in areas they shouldn’t be in. Remote Guarding agents respond to alerts sent out by these cameras and ask persons engaged in prohibited conduct to leave the property.
Parking Lot Security for Trespassers
To learn more about how Remote Guarding can stop homeless related incidents at your property, contact Elite Interactive Solutions for a free consultation regarding parking lot security.