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When Parking Lots Harbor Crime


There are thousands of parking lots and parking garages throughout Florida. There is nothing more infuriating than coming out of a building to find that your vehicle has been vandalized. The criminal is long gone, but the bills and inconvenience associated with repairing the destruction are right in front of you. Just who is liable for the damage? A good attorney can help make that determination.

Property owners do have a legal obligation to keep the premises reasonably safe.That means the area must be well lit and inspected regularly for hazards like potholes, cracks, or uneven walkways. When danger spots are identified or reported, the property owner is responsible for making necessary repairs quickly. If they fail to do so, they may be legally liable. In the case of your damaged vehicle, the property owner may be liable if inadequate lighting was present.

Additionally, the courts tend to expect large complexes to provide trained security to patrol parking facilities, as well as working security cameras. Their presence can deter criminal activity and keep vehicles in the parking structure safe and secure.

Sadly, about ten percent of all property crimes occur in parking lots. But property crimes are not nearly as frightening as personal attacks. Florida has no shortage of headlines on the topic:

  • Miami Shores: Miami Shores police were called when a gun-wielding man drove up to a woman who was in a Publix parking lot and demanded her purse.
  • Petersburg: An elderly man was robbed and beaten with his own walker in a Walmart parking Lot in September 2016.
  • Kissimmee: A woman was stabbed in the neck in a Home Depot Parking Lot in Osceola County.
  • Venice: Law enforcement was called to respond to an assault and attempted carjacking incident in a Publix parking lot in Venice.

Avoid Parking Lot Crime: Personal Safety

With all the threats out there, what can you do to ensure your own safety and the security of your vehicle?

Your personal safety should be your top priority, so stay alert: Pay attention to other vehicles, pedestrians, and anyone who appears to be loitering. Put away your ear buds and cell phones, and keep your eyes and ears open to possible threats. Some experts recommend carrying pepper spray to use as defense if necessary.  Another idea you may consider is carrying a whistle or noisemaker of some kind. If you use it, you may frighten away attackers and alert others who can help. And park smart: avoid areas that are not well lit or that are secluded in order to deter criminal activity.

Avoid Property Damage

Be considerate! Do not invite angry retaliation by taking up two parking spaces! Even though bad parking does not justify someone keying your car, some people do not need a lot to incentivize them.  By all means, do not leave valuables on the seat of your car or otherwise visible. Some criminals just cannot resist such an invitation.

When Parking Lot Crime Hits Home

If you are the victim of parking lot crime, you need compassionate, yet aggressive and experienced legal representation. Our knowledgeable premises liability team at Scoma Law Firm will investigate every angle of the crime to determine if negligent security played a part in the incident. Call our Clermont office today for your free, confidential consultation.


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