Standard Parking branches into security services
A major player in the parking management market is bundling security into its list of services for clients in Canada.
“We’re diversifying in many ways and we see this as the trend we need to go with in the parking business,” says Kathleen Taylor, president of SP Plus Security of Canada, based in Toronto.
By Jennifer Brown
Standard Parking has launched SP Plus Security of Canada, a wholly owned subsidiary of Standard Parking Corp. of Canada. It has obtained its business licence to operate as a security provider in Ontario and British Columbia and will develop services such as traditional security guard services, bicycle, foot and vehicle patrols as well as parking enforcement services.
About three quarters of Standard Parking’s current business is in Ontario. About half of their business is in the hospital market, which will be a major focus area for SP Plus in addition to airports, educational institutions, construction sites, commercial buildings, shopping centres, distribution centres and parking lots/garages.
Working with Taylor is John Fodor of JSF & Associates Security Consultants. Fodor is the former director of security and parking for the William Osler Health Centre (Brampton Civic) and before that was manager of security and parking at Trillium Health Care in Mississauga and was a manager of security operations at University Health Network.
SP Plus will be targeting hospital and commercial property management firms and is already providing security services to Brookfield Properties at the Royal Centre Mall parkade in Vancouver, supplying one guard.
“We’ve worked with Brookfield as a parking service provider for nine years. They are looking at finding the best staffing and customized services to achieve cost savings,” says Taylor. “We want this to be one-stop shopping for customers.”
The Royal Centre’s facility manager, Dave Abbott, has been working with the Vancouver Police Department, Crime Stoppers and the DVBIA (Downtown Ambassadors) since SP Plus Security took over the security operation of the parking garage.
He met with a constable from VPD who is in charge of the Safer Parking Program in Vancouver. VPD have assessed the parking facility to ensure it is up to VPD standards to minimize theft from autos. An award from VPD is provided indicating that the standards are met or exceed VPD expectations. With this award comes signage advising all patrons that the facility is part of this program. Statistics show a significant reduction in vehicle break-ins, etc. with this designation.
Crime Stopper Stencils will also be applied throughout the parkade as a further deterrent.
The Downtown Ambassadors are also working with SP Plus by having their undercover security staff patrol the lots.
“We have also offered the garage as a training location for various VPD units, thereby increasing visibility and security at no extra cost to the client,” says Fodor.
Taylor says SP Plus will be targeting their existing client base including many health-care facilities in Ontario.
Taylor says the goal is to leverage Standard Parking’s existing infrastructure and base of operations including HR, payroll and scheduling and add a security component on top of the parking service it provides. They will also combine technology Standard Parking uses to monitor and control gates at its facilities with monitoring of events for security purposes.
Taylor says she also sees the provision of the parking surveillance process becoming more automated, which will require fewer people. They also want to get into the design, installation and operation of integrated security systems such as CCTV and remote monitoring.
“As we help clients reduce costs often we find that the main cost on the bottom line is people,” says Taylor.
Taylor says SP Plus Security will utilize Standard Parking monitoring and control centres used for controlling gates to also act as a security monitoring centre. They will cross train employees and integrate electronic systems to all run out of the Standard Parking control centres.
The company also has a screening and training program. Fodor says it features components that exceed the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services mandated requirements.
Taylor said SP Plus is also exploring acquisitions as part of its long-term growth strategy in Canada.