We recently published a comprehensive guide to surviving the perils of street parking. However, when back at home you may feel as if you’re free from the same stress. This false sense of security is most often felt by those who live in a condominium with gated underground parking. It helps alleviate some common concerns, but there are still a number of threats that must be addressed. Do you live in a strata property with protected underground parking? If so, we encourage you to follow the same best practices of safe parking in public lots, but to also consider the following addendum.
4 More Tips to Preventing Damage and Theft to Your Automobile When Parking in Your Condominium’s Underground Lot
1. Get Involved at Your Next Strata Meeting
Unlike an owner of a single detached home (and garage) you don’t have full control over the security of your parking space. But you do have a voice, and presumed membership on your strata board. Use it wisely. In your next meeting (or be the one to call a meeting) discuss what can be done to improve security in the building’s gated parkade. If the installations and protocols listed below do not already exist, become a champion for them via the following:
- Make a formal request for better lighting for the underground parkade.
- Make a formal request for added security cameras to cover all areas of underground parking (no blind spots!)
- Make a formal request for security personnel (where applicable) to perform around-the-clock scheduled walkthroughs of the parkade.
- Establish a clear rule that forbids residents from lending out building access keys/fobs to visiting friends and family, unless they have a designated visitors pass and have been made aware of security guidelines.
- Establish a clear rule that no resident must enter or exist the parkade without remaining idle to confirm that the gate has closed before leaving the property or proceeding to their parking spot.
- Establish a rule that no items (boxes, spare tires, or other possessions) are permitted to be left in a resident’s parking space. Clutter invites criminal interest and mischief.
- Establish a “community watch” that encourages residents to look out for one another’s vehicles. This should include a formalized way to immediately report suspicious activity to building security.
Always remember, when it comes to parking in a strata community – a squeaky wheel gets the grease.
2. Request a Better Spot
If your request for added security is ignored due to budgetary constraints, a lack of resources, or general laissez faire attitude by the strata board, then you may need to take matters into your own hands. If there is a more visible and better-lit parking space available, request it. If there is not one currently available, get placed on a waiting list for the spot so that you are first in line. Building residents with “seniority” typically have priority. If you’ve got seniority – use it.
3. Don’t Forget Your FOB
Every day across BC, drivers forget their remote fobs in the car. Some condo-dwellers even leave them in there on purpose, when the fob is connected to their smartphone. This invites criminals who have gained access to your underground lot to rummage through and possibly make off with your vehicle. They can easily identify “push-button” cars by the lack of keyhole access in the doors. They will walk up to check doorhandles until they find one (yours?) that will allow them to enter. It’s a low-risk and low-skill tactic on their part which invites less experienced criminals to pick-off vehicles from a lot. More advanced thieves however, are able to clone the signal from a web-enabled vehicle’s fob in a method known as a relay attack. By leaving your fob in the vehicle, you invite advanced thieves (hackers, really) to clone the fob and return another day to outright steal your automobile.
If you own a keyless entry/start vehicle buy an app-enabled keychain for your fob which picks up on when your smartphone (which you presumably have on you) is a given distance away from your fob. It will send an audible or vibrating signal to your smartphone to alert you that you’ve left it in your vehicle.
4. Use a Cover When Not In Use for Extended Periods
If you don’t plan on using your vehicle for an extended period of time, invest in a manufacturer-suggested custom cover that will help prevent scratches and dings from passing residents/drivers. It will also deter criminals who may have gained access to the parkade as they likely won’t take the time or risk to fuss with a secure automobile cover.
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