Tow and impound lots are full of things people want or want back… their vehicles. Security may sound easy and straightforward but it’s serious business. Implementing tow lot security with remote guard surveillance will address many of the challenges these types of environments present.
Gone are the days when a tow lot, or many places for that matter, were patrolled by an elderly, overweight man with a dog. He was supposed to be trained, but in reality it was just about the image. The movie “Stand by me” features a scene at a junk yard with a dog called chopper. It portrays a past era of protection that is to some still the image of security today.
Tow lot security is not just looking after a bunch of impounded cars waiting for fines to be paid. Vehicles are impounded for any number of reasons and protecting them from being unlawfully reclaimed, damaged or vandalized is a serious concern. There is a large market in after sale motor parts and a tow lot can easily become a car part supermarket without adequate security.
There are various challenges that come with securing a tow lot that make security difficult. Very often, the tow lots are large areas that would be cost prohibitive to protect using traditional guard services. The large areas do not always give clear visibility; the vehicles themselves can create perfect hiding places for wannabe thieves or vandals.
Because of their size more and more of them are moving further away from built up areas. To store large numbers of cars space is needed and this means moving to where the space is available. Being further away doesn’t really change the dynamics of what is being secured, more how it should be secured. Having large numbers of professional security guards travel to and from the tow yard adds to the cost of security. With little to no supervision, the security may tend to cut corners or become more relaxed.
Thieves, vandals, and even kids wanting some fun have become more sophisticated or clever. Because of this tow lots can become easy targets. Most people who will illegally enter a lot are confident that the security is not up to scratch; it never has been and never will be, or so they believe. There are equally as many security tow lot managers who don’t understand security and see it as an unnecessary cost.
Using Video Surveillance Technology
Technology is the solution to overcoming the challenges and make it more difficult for anyone to enter or exit a lot without permission. Investing in technology that has been developed specifically to secure large areas brings many advantages, the biggest of which is cost savings.
With the latest in remote surveillance technology the entire site can be monitored from an off site location requiring less people on the ground. One of the biggest objections to using technology to patrol and secure remote areas is the lack of infrastructure in terms of power and cable-based internet. The latest in remote surveillance equipment uses limited power and advancements in software allow it to send images back to base using limited bandwidth.
With some systems, power can be provided with a mobile power station. A mobile solar electricity generator provides adequate power for a number of cameras and systems to be run where there is no access to power at all.
Communication is sent back to the control center using mobile phone technology and in some extreme instances satellite phone networks. The file sizes have been compressed in recent years without adversely affecting the quality of the image or data received.
All of the images from the cameras and other devices are sent to and monitored by a remote team in real time. The stored images are admissible in court and can be used to secure a conviction or provide evidence of wrongdoing.
Another challenge in securing a tow lot is that there are numerous places to hide inside the lot. These places are not always easy to see and are not easily accessible by patrolling security officers.
Technology plays its part here too and thermal imaging is the answer. Thermal imagery was once the sole domain of the military who along with night vision could detect anyone anywhere. The technology is now available for commercial use and security companies have embraced it openly. Today’s thermal imaging systems are are very affordable and the benefits net returns very quickly.
One of the latest and most advanced thermal imagining solutions that is available for security purposes is Thermal Radar. Thermal Radar provides a full 360-degree thermal image of the area being monitored. The system uses very little power and can thus be powered by solar or generators. Combined with the lower power use Thermal Radar uses limited bandwidth.
When securing tow and impound lots heat signatures become important. Humans and animals both give off a unique heat signature but when, or if, an engine in turned on it too emits heat. Engines far away, surrounded by sound blocking walls and other cars or engines when the wind is blowing in the right direction are difficult to hear. With a thermal camera or Thermal Radar the heat can be seen quickly and the relevant action taken.
Security of impound lots becomes a great deal more effective when technology is deployed as part of a balanced security solution. Technology can compliment and in most cases replace the ground patrol staff deployed and reduces the number required. Overall, a remote surveillance solution for towing lots reduces costs, reduces crime and tightens control. The remote solution can monitor licence plates in and out and keep a general eye on traffic in, out and around the lot. There are many other uses for remote security. One example would be remotely checking that on-site staff are working as required.
Consider a remote surveillance solution for your tow lot and begin to reap the benefits many already appreciate.
If you would like to get a free site plan and pricing please contact us and submit your request today.
Be sure to ask about SMART Security Pros no upfront cost plans. Our plans allow you to get started today with installing monitored video surveillance with no large out of pocket expenses.SMART Security Pros is a provider of armed security services utilizing only active/retired/prior law enforcement officers as well as Remote Guard Video Surveillance services. Shawn Scarlata is the Founder/CEO and the author of this post.