Baguio City to require building owners to secure parking lots

THE Baguio City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance requiring all owners and operators of commercial buildings whose building permits were issued pursuant to the provisions of the National Building Code to provide sufficient lighting facilities, layout, and security personnel within the parking lots of their buildings.

Councilor Leandro Yangot, Jr. said the purpose of the local legislative measure is to secure the customers’ property within the vicinity of the building and to avoid any other circumstance that may cause damage to the said properties.

Under the ordinance, failure of the building owners to provide the necessary lighting facilities, layout, and security personnel for their parking lots after due notice shall be fined P5,000 or an imprisonment of one month or both upon the discretion of the court.

Yangot pointed out security for parking lots has become one of the major concerns involving peace and order and security lately, and crimes and other forms of criminal activities committed inside shopping centers, supermarkets, arcades, strip malls and business offices occur in the parking lots.

According to Yangot, many cases involving crimes within parking lots often revolve around lack of sufficient lighting, surveillance, and response from the building owners and once crime occurs in an area, authorities find difficulties in investigating the said incidents because of the absence of adequate security personnel who should serve as a deterrent to the commission of such incidents.

The alderman underscored improving safety and security measures makes it easy to deter crimes, reduce potential liability and make customers feel safer once within the vicinity of commercial buildings, thus, well-secured parking facilities will definitely increase customer arrivals because they feel safer while inside the establishments.

Yangot argued increased customers means increased profit which can be used to justify the increased cost-related to any security improvements.

The proponent explained security lighting is used to increase the effectiveness of security and closed-circuit television (CCTV) by increasing the visual range of the guards or CCTV cameras during periods of darkness or by increased illumination of an area where natural light does not reach or is insufficient. Lighting also has value as a deterrent to individuals looking for an opportunity to commit crimes.

Further, Yangot emphasized the parking layout also provides an advantage for natural surveillance; CCTV coverage and structured surveillance and response and positioning of the layout to increase the effectiveness of CCTV surveillance at the parking areas can also be cost-effective.

He noted parking perpendicular to the line of sight and CCTV coverage reduces the criminal value of hiding between cars waiting for potential victims and walking corridors between cars at strategic locations also concentrates foot traffic and increases natural surveillance by retail patrons.

Yangot claimed the provision of security personnel is important because the mere presence of guards will definitely prevent people with criminal intents to advance their ill motives. (PR)
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