Homelessness is a problem that affects everybody — including businesses that want to provide a safe environment for staff and customers. Companies that humanely remove homeless individuals and encampments from their property eliminate loitering and panhandling that can detract from customer experience and even lead to vandalism and theft.
Homelessness happens for many reasons, meaning there isn’t a cut-and-dry strategy for removing these people from your property. But there are some tips you can follow to ensure your business handles things the right way. By installing security cameras and video monitoring services, companies can effectively safeguard against loitering by getting authorized people to the scene. For more information on how to deal with homeless people loitering on your commercial property, read on.
How Does Loitering Affect Your Business?
Having homeless loiterers on your property has undesirable effects on business, and it can be hard to take care of the problem without risking dangerous situations. If a shopping center, restaurant, or any other kind of business has panhandlers hanging around their building, this can affect reputation and the well-being of employees. What’s more, customers may not feel comfortable entering your business if someone who looks intoxicated or dangerous is near the building. If this drives customers away, it can cost you. This problem can also increase over time if it’s not taken care of, with your property becoming known as a place where homeless people can camp out.
Tips for Dealing with Homeless People on a Commercial Property
- Put up signs clearly stating that loitering is prohibited, and that people who break this rule will be subject to law enforcement.
- Avoid provoking homeless people, and do not start any physical confrontations.
- Giving panhandlers food and money will attract more to your business. To help homeless people, donating to food banks, charities, and nonprofit organizations is a better choice.
- Do not permit encampments, and make sure shopping carts, bedding, and other personal items stay away from your building.
- Lock any dumpsters, storage areas, and exterior power outlets.
- Keep your property illuminated at night with motion-activated lighting.
- Make sure any parking areas are properly secured.
Should I Get Employees to Deal With It?
You may be tempted to have employees deal with removing homeless people from the property, but this could potentially put them in dangerous situations. If employees have to tell people to leave, aggression and violence might escalate, which could result in injuries and financial liability for your business. To safely remove homeless people from your property without putting anyone in danger, calling local law enforcement is a good option. Police are equipped to handle these situations, and can safely take the person elsewhere. This is where security camera installation comes in handy, as cameras let businesses remotely monitor premises for loiterers, and quickly deal with the situation by getting authorities to the property.
Security Cameras for Homeless Loitering
Installing security cameras on the outside of your business is a great way to deter homeless people from loitering on your property, and to reduce crime in general. If someone sees high-quality security cameras monitoring the area around your facility, they will be less likely to camp out there. Security cameras also help you get authorities to the scene when someone is loitering or causing a nuisance. Police get many calls about disturbances, and few can be acted on seriously. If you have video footage, that will give your case more priority, meaning law enforcement will take care of it quicker. Some camera systems can send cloud-based alerts to your smartphone if an intrusion happens, and/or instantly call local law enforcement. If you have an area homeless people are breaking into, these cameras can help by automatically detecting anyone who enters, and making sure they are taken off your property in a timely manner.
Remote Video Monitoring for Homeless on a Commercial Property
If you want to be sure your business is safe from loitering and vandalism, live video monitoring can provide the level of protection you’re looking for. With remote video monitoring, trained security agents monitor feeds from your security cameras at all times, ensuring any crimes that happen are instantly detected so that agents can deal with the situation accordingly. Agents may talk down to loiterers through speakers and ask them to leave. If they refuse to leave, agents can call authorities to remove them from the property.
Smart CCTV Monitoring
The most effective way to ensure law enforcement gets to the scene to take trespassers off your commercial property is to combine smart security cameras with video monitoring services. A smart surveillance system with video analytics will detect any intrusions that occur, and alert the live agent to ensure no incidents are missed. The agent can then determine whether it is a false alarm, a loiterer, or a more serious crime in action, and call law enforcement if necessary. Security agents may also talk down to people on your property through speakers, to ask them to leave or to warn them they will call law enforcement.
Video Monitoring vs. Security Guards
You may be wondering whether it’s more effective to use remote video monitoring or on-site security guards to keep your business free of homeless encampments. Both options have specific pros and cons, but in situations where people can behave unpredictably, remote monitoring is often a better option. Live security guards may not be equipped and trained to deal with these situations, especially if drugs and alcohol are involved. Security guards improperly handling these situations can result in physical danger and liability issues for your business. Remote camera monitoring with a professional monitoring service is more effective and less costly, ensuring no security guards are put in situations they aren’t prepared for.
Homelessness is a widespread problem: About 568,000 people in the U.S. were homeless on any given night in 2019. If you have a commercial property that’s experiencing loitering, vandalism, or other disturbances, we know how to help. Safe and Sound provides top-quality security cameras and live video monitoring services to keep your business free from loitering. To learn more about how to safely remove homeless people from your property, get in touch with our commercial security experts today.