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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is the Safer Parking Initiative needed?
2. What's causing the problem?
3. What evidence do you have that Safer Parking will reduce parking lot crime and disorder?
4. Why are you using the UK program as a safer parking model?
5. What if a lot manager or owner doesn't want to, or isn't able to afford to, implement recommended changes?
6. Can a lot manager or owner re-apply if they change their minds?
7. Will non-complying parking lots be identified or blacklisted in any way?
8. How much does it cost for a parking company, business, or community group to join?
9. How much money is the Police Department investing in this program?
10. Are there plans to expand this program outside the downtown core to other neighbourhoods, or to other municipalities?

1. Why is the Safer Parking Initiative (SPI) needed?

Thousands of people every year experience the shock, out of pocket cost and loss of work time that result when their vehicle is vandalized. Businesses, especially downtown, suffer from loss of customer patronage and employee dissatisfaction. Theft from autos and disorderly behavior in parking lots lead to fewer people willing to shop and work downtown.

Vancouver has a high property crime rate. Theft from vehicles and vandalism cost citizens $35 million in 2003, and costs the parking industry millions of dollars per year.

The U.K.'s Safer Parking Program, which has been in operation for a number of years, has shown that cooperative measures by police and businesses can significantly improve the safety of urban parking structures and increase public use.

2. What's causing the problem?

Property crime has many facets. It is well established that vehicle break-ins and disorderly behaviour are often related to drug addiction. In the downtown core, incidents of theft, vandalism and disorder often occur in and around parking lots, leading the public to lose confidence in the security of parking facilities.

While parking operators are investing millions of dollars each year in security and physical upgrades to their lots, no program or standards exist to measure and track these improvements, and the public cannot readily access information about security measures implemented in the various facilities.

Members of SPI believe that safety and security in parking lots can be improved with co-operative action.

In addition, SPI will push for additional, necessary crime prevention measures such as offender accountability, drug courts, and addiction treatment. However, experience has shown that safer and more secure parking does not have to wait for these measures in order to make progress.

3. What evidence do you have that Safer Parking will reduce parking lot crime and disorder?

Many Safer Parking Award facilities report zero crime occurrences on a monthly basis, and the SPI has helped reduce crime by an average of 47% in awarded Vancouver parkades. Experience in the U.K. has shown that cooperative measures can reduce parking lot crime and disorder dramatically, while increasing public use of parking facilities and improving profitability.

4. Why are you using the UK program as a safer parking model?

Britain's Safer Parking Program is an initiative of the Association of U.K. Chief Police Officers aimed at reducing crime and fear of crime in parking facilities. The organization awards the Park Mark™ to facilities that have achieved the requirements of a police risk assessment. Parking lot operators have seen significant benefits and cost savings, and a recent survey showed an average reduction in car crime of about 70% in Park Mark lots.

5. What if a lot manager or owner doesn't want to, or isn't able to afford to, implement recommended changes?

The program is entirely voluntary.

6. Can a lot manager or owner re-apply if they change their minds?

Certainly.

7. Will non-complying parking lots be identified or blacklisted in any way?

SPI will only identify parking lots that have received the Safer Parking Award.

8. How much does it cost for a parking company, business, or community group to join?
        
At present, there is no fee to join the Safer Parking Initiative coalition.

9. How much money is the Police Department investing in this program?

The Vancouver Police Department and Edmonton Police Service are investing the time of officers as well as information resources. It does not make a direct monetary investment.

10. Are there plans to expand this program outside the downtown core to other neighbourhoods, or to other municipalities?

We are exploring expansion in other jurisdictions. If you are interested, please contact Alison.hill@vpd.ca.

 

 

 

 

 

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