Parking lot safety is imperative for health clubs. Your average member could be inside your facility for at least an hour, and without the proper safety precautions in the parking lot, their cars could be susceptible to break-ins or other crimes.
Taking steps to keep your members’ cars — and any possessions within — safe while they’re in your facility is an important element of risk management. And an easy way to make your parking lot safer is the presence of staff members.
“Keep in mind that criminals typically commit crimes when people aren’t around to witness them,” said Noah Hastay, the operations manager at Gainesville Health & Fitness. “So having staff present in the parking lot on a regular basis is a key to prevent crime, such as break-ins.”
Intentional parking requirements for employees can be a huge help in increasing your staff’s presence in the parking lot.
“We make all of our staff park in the back and on the perimeters of our lots,” said Hastay. “This has our employees walk through the entire parking lot while they are heading to and from the facility all throughout the day.”
Clubs can also use the start and end of employees’ shifts to achieve comprehensive parking lot patrolling. “Our shifts are strategically staggered across all of our departments so within each hour, 15 to 20 employees are present throughout the entire parking lot,” said Hastay.
Education and training are essential components of risk management, and parking lot safety is no different. Staff members should know what behaviors to look for while they’re patrolling the parking lot, as well as other factors — such as time of day — that lend themselves more to car break-ins.
“We have our staff educated on what to look for, such as someone looking into car windows, people backed into a parking spot and watching the parking lot, or people lifting door handles to see if vehicles are unlocked,” explained Hastay.
At Gainesville Health & Fitness, this awareness is also taught to the club’s housekeeping staff, who play a big role in monitoring the parking lot.
“Another strategy we do is have our housekeeping employees be assigned a zone of the parking lot they will be in charge of keeping cleaned, all while keeping their eyes open for anything suspicious,” said Hastay.
And it never hurts to get some help from neighborhood law enforcement. “We have also partnered with our local police department to ensure they do frequent rounds through our parking lot,” said Hastay. “Having their presence has helped deter criminals.”
However, instructing your members on preventative measures they can take to prevent theft also plays a big role in parking lot safety.
“Four times per year, we send out an educational post about keeping valuables out of sight and/or leaving them at home, and saying, ‘Please remember to lock your car doors,’” said Hastay. “We have posted signs in our parking lot and in our facility to remind them.”
Parking lot safety requires a lot of diligence and awareness from both staff and members, but it’s well worth giving the lot an extra look if it makes everyone feel at ease while working out.