Good retail security starts with good parking lot security.

Last Updated:
November 1, 2023
| ~
min Read
Meg Moore
Marketing Writer

As retail’s biggest game day approaches, asset protection professionals know it’s time to run the best defensive plays in the book to secure parking lots.

The winning strategy? A dedicated parking lot zone defense. Without it, bargain hunters could find more than deals on Black Friday.


More than 196 million holiday shoppers hit the stores from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday according to a 2022 survey conducted by the National Retail Federation. This number beats the combined NFL, World Cup, and college football viewership over the same period. This record-breaking tally also topped 2021’s long weekend shopping season of 179 million, pointing to Americans’ eagerness to return the punt and score epic deals in their annual after-turkey dinner traditions.

Of those who shopped ‘til they likely dropped, more than 122 million people visited brick-and-mortar stores over the weekend, up 17% from 2021. And nearly half revealed that shopping malls comprised a key component of their overall 2022 holiday shopping playbook.

With so many shoppers ready to head into stores on Black Friday and throughout the holiday season, it’s imperative retailers proactively protect the parking lot with a zone defense.


Convenient parking options, either in football field-sized lots, multilevel concrete structures, or dedicated spaces outside the front door, are mission-critical for every retailer. Yet these areas provide opportunities for those with other “business” interests.

Retail parking lots maximize space for cars and provide open access for everyone. They are not designed with crime prevention tactics in mind and often lack features that deter and prevent crime. Design flaws that provide cover for criminals can include:

  • Bulky columns and tall walls
  • Poor sightlines and blind spots
  • Remote stairwells and slow elevators
  • Unrestricted access
  • Dark areas, deep shadows, and poor lighting
  • Untended shrubbery in giant planters

Limited camera surveillance, one of the most important security measures retailers should implement, means too few eyes on the property make people—and their vehicles—prime targets.


“What you don’t know is that the game favors the lot,” Amy Estes wrote in an essay about the perils of attempting to score a spot at any Trader Joe’s parking lot.

This is a cold, hard fact security professionals know all too well. When the name of the game is crime, statistics show how it also favors the lot. According to the 2022 U.S. FBI Crime Data Explorer, 822,494 crimes occurred in parking areas. The numbers are staggering:

  • There were 621,910 property crimes in parking lots, the second most-targeted location in the United States. Destruction of property tops the list with 329,696 incidents, 55,168 reports of breaking and entering, and 53,992 vehicle thefts.
  • The FBI reports parking areas as the third-most-common site of murders and assaults in the U.S., following homes, alleys, and sidewalks, with 62,764 violent crimes logged. Of these 40,340 were aggravated assaults, 1,215 were murders, and 2,858 were rapes.
  • Of the 13,377 hate crimes reported, nearly 6% happened in parking areas.

These sobering statistics also present additional security concerns, as criminals can continue or escalate their actions inside the store.

Customers want retailers to provide secure parking options with greater protection. In a recent study, many voiced concerns about the dangers they felt in parking lots:

  • 54% worry about being approached in the parking lot
  • 51% worry about being followed to their cars
  • 36% are concerned about damage to their cars in the parking lots


While many parking lot crimes are crimes of opportunity, often resulting from criminals checking for unlocked car doors, FBI data reveals pressing security concerns to address when implementing secure parking measures to protect shoppers.

A winning parking lot zone defense comprises three parts:


Integrating innovative retail security systems, like license plate readers, facial recognition monitors, and mobile wireless security cameras for businesses, can stop would-be criminals in their tracks and convince them to look elsewhere. Additional measures include hiring security guards or off-duty police officers to safeguard parking lots and prevent incidents and crimes from happening.


Detection applies to stopping a crime before it happens and sharing information in real time when every minute counts. These protection measures, like mobile security cameras, help asset protection teams and retail investigation departments gather evidence to help arrest and prosecute criminals, track patterns, identify trends, and collect data.


A holistic security plan also includes using this invaluable data to inform a proactive response for future security measures. From training new employees and influencing municipal, state, and federal policies, to reviewing security efforts and sharing evidence as necessary, retailers can build upon their efforts to better protect their employees and customers.


LVT’s wireless and mobile business security systems, underpin retailers’ most successful parking lot security strategies. Unlike traditional methods, LVT’s cameras for business are proven to deter retail crimes. Some of the world’s biggest retailers, from drug stores and grocery chains to home improvement centers and electronics purveyors, trust LVT Units to increase parking lot security and safety.

“We had one to two incidents a week in our California stores,” the director of asset protection for a major home goods store said. “Since deploying LVT Units in those parking lots, we haven’t had a single theft in 16 months.”

One retailer saw a 62% reduction in high-risk crimes and a 69% decrease in grab-and-go thefts. Another deployed LVT parking lot security cameras on their properties, and reduced break-ins, violent crimes, loitering, vandalism, and other negative incidents by 40% to 70%.

Our customers know LVT writes the playbook on parking lot security. From reliability and flexibility to easy deployment and advanced technology, our mobile security units call the plays and make the catch. No matter your needs, our team can design a customized solution that will address your challenges. Contact our team today for a demo.

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