Vehicle and vehicle related crime has been falling since its peak in the mid-1990s, however vehicle related crime still accounts for around 16% of total crime according to the 2019/20 figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Parking areas can be a focal point for vehicle crime, with 9% of all vehicle crimes being committed in work or public parking facilities.
Improved security in parking facilities can help to address this issue. Secured parking facilities reduce crime by:
- Increasing the effort – controlling access to and from parking facilities can prevent theft of motor vehicles
- Increasing the risks – improving surveillance through patrols and CCTV can deter offenders by increasing the likelihood of apprehension
- Reducing the rewards – off-street parking can prevent opportunist vehicle crime from occurring. By turning public space into private space, offenders will not be able to find plausible reasons for being in this area when challenged.
The Park Mark Safer Parking Scheme is one of Police CPI’s many crime prevention initiatives. It is a national standard for UK car parks that have measures in place to ensure the safety of people and vehicles and which achieves the challenging ‘Park Mark’ standards. One of the conditions of the award is that the facility must have lower levels of crime than the surrounding streets and thereby it stands out as the best place to park vehicles.
Park Mark is awarded to parking facilities that have been subjected to a rigorous risk assessment conducted by a police Designing Out Crime Officer (DOCO) and the British Parking Association (BPA). The assessment includes an examination of management and maintenance of the car parking facility together with ensuring there are effective security measures such as appropriate levels of surveillance, lighting, signage, boundary protection and cleanliness.
There are nearly 5000 Park Mark award holding car parks throughout the UK, including car parks in shopping centres, hospitals, hotels, and train stations. This is around quarter of all car parks around the country, with the smallest having 10 spaces and the largest having 13,000. The Park Mark website https://www.parkmark.co.uk/ has search facility by which vehicle owners can identify a Park Mark car park to ensure they are able to park in a safer environment when undertaking their next journey.
The distinctive Park Mark signage also helps drivers find these car parks where they can confidently leave their vehicle, knowing the environment is safer with some car park operators achieving crime reductions of more than 80% in the first year after joining the scheme compared to equivalent non-Park Mark facilities.
It should be noted that it is the car park that is granted the award not the organisation. This is because organisations, such as local authorities or large private companies can have many car parks, but not all of them will pass the assessment.
You can find out more about the Park Mark Safer Parking Award by viewing this short video https://youtu.be/evROSbQ39cE or by reading these case studies:
- Dundee City Council
- University of Sheffield
- APH - airport parking
- Alhambra Shopping Centre
- City & County of Swansea