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If you’re a business or property owner and manage a parking lot, you may already be familiar with the importance of a robust parking security system. Security guards and cameras are commonplace and certainly important, but there’s another area you can’t overlook — parking lot access control. Parking access control systems are designed to protect your property and ensure the safety of those using and working in your parking areas.

It is also vital to ensure secure and smooth traffic flow within your parking lot, along with an efficient and organized management system. This guide to parking lot access control will provide more insight into this parking security system method, helping you apply the safe and efficient protection your organization needs.

Common security threats of parking lots

Parking lots are a large part of any business, providing a place for customers and staff to safely and securely park when they come to visit. However, they can also be a source of security threats if they are not properly protected. Here are some security threats frequently associated with parking lots and how businesses can protect themselves and their patrons:

  • Trespassing. Uninvited guests can hang around your parking lot, both during work hours and after hours, and potentially threaten customers and employees or try to gain access to the building through tailgating. Parking lots are among some of the most common public places for victimization, and you should always take steps to ensure your parking lot is well lit and monitored to discourage loiterers.
  • Vehicle break-ins. There are approximately 880,595 vehicle thefts that take place annually, many occurring in parking lots. Vehicle break-ins can lead to a drop in consumer trust and a negative public perception of the business as a whole. This can make it difficult for companies to attract and retain customers, as well as damage their reputation. In addition, if the break-in is not adequately addressed, it can lead to further break-ins, making it difficult for businesses to maintain a safe and secure environment.
  • Theft of valuables. One of the significant security threats of a business parking lot is the theft of valuable items. This can include anything from purses and wallets to electronic devices and other expensive items. With the rise of car-break-ins and smashed windows, it’s vital for businesses to take proper security measures to protect their customers and guests from this type of theft.

Protecting a parking lot from security threats is essential to ensure the safety of patrons and prevent loss or damages. Businesses should take the necessary steps to secure their parking lots, including installing a parking access control system. Taking these precautions will ensure that only authorized individuals can access the lot, and provide an audit log of who entered in the event of a breach.

What is a parking lot entry and exit control system?

A parking lot access control system is designed to help monitor and secure a parking facility. It typically involves parking lot entry and exit control systems, which allow vehicles in and collect payments. These systems can also be used to monitor and control the flow of traffic in and out of the facility.

An access control system aims to provide a safe and secure environment for visitors and staff. It also helps reduce unauthorized access and other potential security threats. The systems often feature multiple layers of access control, including parking lot gate systems.

Controlled access parking lots typically operate on a centralized system, meaning all the entrances and exits to and from the parking facility are monitored and managed by a single computer system. This system typically includes integrated payment processing and surveillance systems. The parking lot access control system records all entry activity, and sends that data to the centralized system.

When an entry or exit is attempted, the gated parking system will perform various checks, such as scanning a vehicle’s license plate or requiring an access credential. If authorization is successful, the gate or door will open, and the car will be allowed to enter or exit the parking facility. If the authorization is unsuccessful, the gated parking will remain closed and the vehicle will not be allowed access.

Essential components of a parking control system

In today’s digital world, a secure parking lot is a must-have for businesses of all sizes. Installing a parking lot entry and exit control system for parking lots that allows restricted entry and exit is a great way to protect your property and personnel. But what does an access control system for parking lots look like, and what does it actually do? Here are the essential components of an effective access control system for your business.

  • Keypads, card readers and intercoms. For restricting entry, a keypad parking entry system is one of the most common options. This system requires drivers to enter a code that unlocks the gate and grants access to the parking lot. If you prefer a card-based system, card readers are an excellent option for parking lot controls. These readers can be placed at the entrance or exit of the lot and programmed to restrict access to specific times or days of the week. Some buildings will need options for visitors or non-credentialed users to access the parking lot. Adding an intercom system allows parking gate control system operators to speak to visitors and determine who is allowed access to the lot.
  • Parking gate system credentials. In order for authorized vehicles to enter the lot, each driver will need a credential to operate the gated parking system. Credentials for vehicle access control can include key fobs, PIN codes, mobile credentials or even license plates. 
  • Security cameras. To further secure your lot, installing CCTV video cameras is a great way to monitor activity in and around your parking lot. Some advanced cameras have the capability to identify license plates of vehicles entering and exiting the lot.
  • Parking lot barriers and gates. Barriers are one of the most economical ways to secure access to your parking lot. Depending on your parking lot layout design, placing barriers at both the entrance and exit of the lot will help to prevent unauthorized vehicles from entering or leaving the lot. 

Benefits of installing parking lot access control systems

Parking access control is a secure, reliable way to manage access to and monitor activity within a parking lot or parking garage. Parking lot security systems work best as part of an integrated system of elements — including gates and cameras — that allows businesses to securely monitor and manage the parking lot and its vehicles.

  • Security. Parking control systems allow businesses to track who enters and leaves their parking lots and garages while implementing access restrictions and controlling unauthorized vehicle access. Efficient parking management can help to deter criminals and unwanted visitors while also providing valuable evidence that can be used in the event of a crime.
  • Greater efficiency. Parking lot entry and exit  control systems can alleviate the hassle of manually opening and closing gates for each vehicle. Both parking lots and parking garages can benefit from a parking lot security system or barrier gate system. At the same time, automated ticket dispensers can streamline the ticketing process. Additionally, parking lot entry and exit  control systems can be integrated with existing property management software to make it easier to manage parking space assignments and access rights. Your existing security cameras also become more cost-effective when integrated with other security devices as they can be triggered to record only when motion sensors detect activity.
  • Deeper insights. Finally, the collected data that parking security systems generate can be used to gain valuable insights into vehicle activity and occupancy tracking. This data can then be used to effectively develop targeted marketing strategies and optimize parking area utilization.

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Integrating parking lot gate control systems with existing security

As businesses and public spaces become increasingly reliant on technology, an increasing number of businesses are turning to parking control systems to ensure only authorized personnel have access to their premises. Integrating parking lot controls with existing security measures can give an organization better oversight and accountability over who can enter their parking lots. Here are some examples of how parking gate control systems can complement your existing security system.

  • Automated gate entry. Automatic parking gates can be equipped with parking control systems that can be configured for specific entry or exit requirements. This will allow only authorized vehicles to enter or exit the lot, helping to prevent any unauthorized intrusion. Furthermore, the parking gate systems can be integrated with barcode scanning to make entry and exit more efficient.
  • Automated lighting. You can also use parking control systems to automate lighting in your parking lot. This can help to increase visibility and deter criminal activity by allowing lights to be switched on as soon as someone enters the lot or when movement is detected by a motion sensor.
  • Time and attendance monitoring. Parking lot access control systems can also be used to monitor time and attendance for office parking facilities. Integrated with identity providers and HR software, the system can track who is entering and exiting at what times based on credential information or vehicle identifiers. For large commercial parking lots at malls or multi-tenant buildings, attendance monitoring can provide valuable insights for parking lot zoning and traffic optimization. When integrated with payment systems, parking gate control systems can help operators more effectively manage their parking facilities during peak hours and identify potential fraud. 
  • Security cameras. Using a parking lot entry and exit control system, you can connect security cameras to the gates to provide an additional layer of security and allow law enforcement or security personnel to monitor activity should there be any suspicious activity. Integrated parking gate control and video security improves situational awareness with visual verification of all access activity at the gates. 

Setting up parking and vehicle access control for your lot’s security

Setting up parking and vehicle access control for your lot’s security

As businesses continue to open and operate, parking lots remain a critical infrastructure component. A business’s parking lot needs to be secure from both outside and inside threats, and you can best achieve that by leveraging parking lot controls to upgrade security in your parking lot.

Choosing the right parking lot gate system

Parking gate access control utilizes hardware and software to give users remote or physical access to a parking lot based on permissions. Choosing the right gated parking system means finding the combination of readers, credentials and management software that works for your organization.

Parking security system access cards or mobile credentials allow a business to manage employee access to an area quickly, while keypads may be more suitable for companies with fewer employees or multifamily residential properties. Automated parking gate systems with integrated payment stations will be more appropriate for commercial buildings like malls, airports and stadiums.

Establishing access protocols for your parking control system

Once you’ve chosen the right parking control system for your parking lot, you need to develop protocols for granting and restricting access. This will involve deciding what type of access people have and when they can access the area. It’s important to outline these protocols clearly and effectively in order to keep your parking lot secure.

Developing access protocols for gated parking systems involves creating group permissions and assigning roles to determine the level of access for each user. For example, you may want to limit access for staff to certain hours, or have a specific area of the parking garage for visitor access. You can also assign roles within your parking gate control system like Administrator and Operator to further restrict access.

Auditing and redefining best practices

It’s vital to regularly audit your parking lot gate control system to ensure it is functioning properly and keeping your property secure. Audits can involve looking at parking access control system reports to identify anomalies, as well as adjusting permissions, zoning and any integration rules based on new insights or business needs. 

How to identify parking lot access control risks and vulnerabilities

Owning a business often requires a lot of security measures to ensure the safety of the property and employees, which is why it’s essential to regularly identify security risks and vulnerable areas of your business’s parking lot. Doing this will help ensure a safe and secure environment for everyone involved.

Review access points and security gates. Ensure all entry and exits are locked, and any security gates are monitored with gate controls or cameras. Poorly maintained locks and parking gates can easily be broken, leaving the parking lot vulnerable to intruders.

Also consider lighting options. It’s crucial to ensure sufficient lighting around the parking lot. Motion-sensor lighting is a good option for darker areas outside the lot, and LED lighting should be used in areas within.

Who should use parking lot entry and exit control systems?

Whether you own a commercial office building or any other property, parking lot access control systems are vital for managing and securing vehicle access. Through the use of various technologies, such as access readers and vehicle recognition systems, parking lot access control can help you maintain control of your parking lot while ensuring the safety of your customers and visitors.

Different types of properties can benefit from the use of a parking lot access control system in order to regulate and control vehicle access. The type and size of the property as well as the design of the parking lot all factor into the kind of access control needed.

  • Commercial properties. At commercial buildings, gate access control ensures that only authorized vehicles and paying customers are allowed to park in the lot. This is especially important for businesses that require more robust security, such as banks and government buildings. By utilizing vehicle access control gates, a property manager can ensure that only those personnel and vehicles that have been approved to enter can do so. Integrated payment systems and visitor management will help commercial buildings manage traffic flow at peak hours.
  • Industrial properties. At industrial properties, a parking lot system is used to restrict access to the lot where delivery vehicles and large trucks are frequently going in and out. For example, access control can be used at a large factory that requires deliveries to control when and how those deliveries are made. Additionally, it can regulate who is allowed to enter the lot and where they are allowed to go. This is especially important for factories that have hazardous materials, as it ensures that only those personnel authorized to be in that area enter the lot.
  • Multifamily residential. Apartment buildings and condo complexes frequently rely on gate control systems to prevent non-residents from entering the property. Requiring all vehicles to have an authorized credential, such as a key fob or registered license plate, makes it easier to ensure residents have the access they need. Because residential properties may have more turnover than other types of buildings, it’s crucial to have a good parking access control management software to instantly issue or revoke access as tenants move in and out.

Why parking controls and lot layout design matter

The parking lot design of your property can also influence the type of parking control system you need. Depending on the size and design of the lot, you may need to consider a variety of access control technologies such as card readers, key fobs and vehicle recognition systems.

For example, a large parking lot with multiple entrances and exits will need a convenient but secure way to manage access, without inhibiting the flow of traffic at peak hours. In that case, a keyless entry system may be the best option. This system allows visitors to use authorized key fobs or cards to open particular doors or gates to gain entry to the lot. On the other hand, if you have a smaller lot with only a few daily users, a more basic access control system such as a keypad may be sufficient.

In addition, parking gate control can help operators optimize various levels or zones within a garage or lot. By adding additional parking gates and readers within a lot, you can add schedules for individual gates, designate parking spaces for visitors and control who is allowed to park in specific areas based on their permissions, all automated through the parking lot access system.

With increasing crime rates and car thefts, a parking gate control system is essential for preventing any unwanted intruders from entering your restricted spaces. By implementing the right parking control system and following these best practices, you can rest assured that your parking lot is always secure and operating smoothly. 

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