USA TODAY Places Spotlight on Parking Garage Security

November 28, 2022

Fun fact about Knightscope’s Autonomous Security Robots (ASRs): over 60% of ASRs currently deployed are used to secure a parking lot or parking structure, either exclusively or in addition to other areas of a client’s property.  Why such a high percentage?  Crimes frequently take place here, which directly impacts visitor and employee safety.  Due to the size and physical layout of many parking areas, it can be difficult and costly to secure them consistently.  We’ve even heard of security programs that omit securing parking altogether since the people they really want to protect are indoors for the vast majority of the time. Our clients have not only reported the ASRs to be extremely effective at deterring crime, but that the technology is also very cost effective.  Sports arenas, retail centers, universities, office buildings, corporate campuses, public parks, movie theaters, casinos, public transit, warehouses, distribution centers and hospitals are among the rapidly growing list of industries that have augmented their security programs with our force-multiplying robots.

Some of the statistics and issues reported by USA Today highlights just how dangerous parking garages can be, and also sheds light on the issue specifically affecting healthcare.  The article’s title directly asks the question, “Why hospitals haven’t done more to protect healthcare workers in parking garages?"  Using the data shown in the graphs below from the FBI and U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are two main points made:

  • Parking garages - whether at hospitals, hotels or downtown offices - are the third most common place for assaults, abductions and homicides after private homes and streets, alleys or sidewalks, according to FBI data from 2018, the most recent year for which numbers are available.
  • Crime numbers involving healthcare workers are equally striking: in parking areas and else where on the job, the country’s 16 million health care employees are at least four times more likely on average than other professionals to be victims of workplace violence.
Source: FBI Crime Statistics (2018)

The concerns and experiences, some tragic, shared by several healthcare workers related to the level of security in their hospital’s parking garages provided a glimpse into the issue some face on a daily basis.

California is the only state to track and publish detailed data on hospital violence.  The state’s OSHA unit reported health care workers were victims of 218 “violent incidents” in their parking areas from July 2017 to December 2019. Hospitals in most other states are not even required to release information about violence on their properties.

Needless to say, we’d like to help.  Time and again we’ve seen firsthand the phenomenal impact Autonomous Security Robots have had in deterring criminal activity in and around parking areas.  Here are some examples:

  • A major hospital network was experiencing, on average, 2 crimes per week in the parking lot of one of their main hospitals.  Once our K5 Autonomous Security Robot was deployed, the crimes were eliminated, recording zero crimes in the following 12 months.
  • After using a K5 ASR for the first 7 months in a public park, including parking areas, the Huntington Park Police Department recorded a 46% reduction in crimes reported and a 68% reduction in citations.
  • A commercial property in downtown San Francisco was averaging 20 crimes per month in their parking garage including trespassing, vandalism, and theft. After deploying a K5 ASR, they recorded just 1 crime in 12 months. 

What’s also impressive about the hospital and public park referenced above is that they are open access properties, 24/7, meaning that there aren’t perimeter gates or fences that enclose, or limit access to, the property.  Anyone can drive or walk onto the properties at any time from all directions. Regardless of the industry, these are eye-opening statistics that should get the attention of any organization’s C-Suite.

Additionally, Knightscope’s  Blue Light Phones have provided emergency communications in remote areas to help secure parking areas from intruders, severe weather events, or other safety threats.  Here are a few benefits realized by end users:

  • K1 Blue Light Towers have been installed throughout campuses with full wireless functionality and no digging or trenching that provided reliable communications away from buildings and improved public safety.
  • The days of walking into a building and asking to use the phone are well behind us, leaving little or no recourse for those with dead batteries or zero service. Publicly accessible K1 Blue Light E-Phones and call boxes allow anyone to call for help when and where it is needed – regardless of power, cell signal, or remote location.
  • Knightscope’s full line of K1 machines provide a meaningful supplement to the potentially dangerous false sense of security of a smart phone that can seemingly do anything… until you leave it at home, the battery dies, the phone malfunctions or your carrier has no service. 

We know there are healthcare networks and other organizations who are going above and beyond to provide a safe and secure workplace – we actually work with many of them.  We’re certainly not claiming to be the silver bullet in parking security, but we do have 5-foot tall, 400 pound, fully autonomous white “bullets” that are keeping healthcare workers safe and multiple versions of communication devices through which you may always find a friendly voice.  One physician even stated, “When I’m walking to my car, and it’s 4 AM in the morning and really dark, I’ll be walking really carefully, holding tightly to my phone and keys. Then, I hear the robot’s sound that it makes as it’s patrolling the garage, and a wave of relief washes over me, that I’m not alone, and it makes me feel better.”

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