Horror stories, movies, and monsters have never been my thing. Children’s books like “Where the Wild Things Are,” to adolescent tales about the boogeyman taught me at a young age to be wary of things that go bump in the night.
This proves to my younger self that bad things happen at night. It’s enough to make anyone lose sleep.
While popular culture seems to perpetuate that notion, there’s actual data to back it up. In a study funded by The Sleep Judge, a site exploring sleep-related issues, they analyzed data from 10 major cities across the U.S. to determine what times of day most crimes occur. The study found that while crimes generally are split evenly between both the day and evening, the majority of more serious crimes take place when it’s dark—mainly from 7p.m. to the early morning hours.
When it comes to crime, parking lots are an attractive destination for criminals to hit. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that parking lots are the third most frequent place where crimes occur. And the kinds of crimes can run a wide spectrum—anything from loitering, solicitation, various forms of theft, vandalism, to violent assault. Part of the reason is that parking lots present their own set of unique challenges when it comes to safety. Those challenges only become magnified as the sun goes down and it becomes harder to see.
THREE MAJOR CHALLENGES IN PARKING LOT SECURITY AT NIGHT
The sheer square footage parking lots makes surveillance a challenge. Having enough people or eyes to monitor all areas at one time can be a drain on resources.
Once you factor in the size of the lot, and then add the numbers of vehicles and shoppers coming in and out of the parking facility, you have an ideal scenario for criminals to escape attention. They can easily blend in with their surroundings while targeting victims. It provides perfect cover for perpetrators to commit a crime and to escape undetected.
Many facilities have blind spots or dark lighting that provides hiding spots for unscrupulous people with bad intentions. Criminals use this to their advantage by hiding in the shadows which allows them to get an upper hand by surprising unsuspecting victims. During the evening, visibility is further compromised making it more challenging to identify criminals who have committed a crime.
However, with advancements in technology and video imagery, night vision cameras can be a large part of the answer when it comes to preventing parking lot crime, particularly in low-light situations.
According to a study by Cornell University, parking lot security cameras are one of the most effective deterrents when it comes to fighting crime. Statistics show that security cameras have helped reduce crime by up to 51%.
The presence of a camera by itself can shatter the sense of anonymity that criminals crave and turn crimes of opportunity into inopportune endeavors. Add in the use of night vision cameras to provide crisp images in low light situations and that veil of anonymity is lifted even further.
For one, nighttime cameras are more cost effective than guards who need to cover and rotate between large amounts of areas which can leave other areas compromised. Night vision cameras offer truly 24/7 monitoring that can cover many areas simultaneously and continuously without any gaps in coverage. It can also eliminate human fatigue or clear up ambiguousness on what is being seen due to poor lighting.
The ability to capture detailed high-quality images in low light scenarios makes it easier to identify and stop criminal acts in the moment or even to prevent them from happening to begin with. And if something does happen, nighttime cameras can still pick up details like facial features and license plates numbers in sub-optimal lighting which can be invaluable in aiding police in apprehending, investigating, and prosecuting criminals.
TYPES OF NIGHT VISION CAMERAS
INFRARED (IR) NIGHT VISION CAMERAS
Utilize technology to amplify existing light in low-light situations to enhance the image to create clearer and more visible pictures or video. While IR cameras work well in low-light situations it cannot work with a complete absence of light.
THERMAL IMAGING CAMERAS
Utilize technology to detect and read heat radiation from objects to create an image. The images are shrouded with a series of colors to indicate the various temperatures from the objects in the area captured on camera. The heat maps created by the thermal signatures can help identify anything from people, animals, tools, vehicles, building structures, and many other objects. This can be particularly helpful in bad weather, smog, smoke, or other scenarios where visibility can severely hinder surveillance.
With night vision cameras, the veil of anonymity during the evening can be severely mitigated eliminating places where criminals can hide. The ability to identify those up to no good and improve the quality of what is being seen and recorded on surveillance cameras can be a gamechanger in keeping parking lots protected at night.
And that peace of mind can be invaluable to shoppers, employees, and businesses alike, where visiting a parking lot no longer needs to feel like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Emerging technologies, like night vision cameras can be instrumental in making sure that we can change that tune.