Is airport parking safe?
Whether you’re travelling for a short business trip or a three-week family holiday, for most people, driving their own car to the airport and leaving it parked in an official on-site car park is the easiest way to start a journey. Indeed, this can save you having to splash out on an expensive taxi service, fighting with your luggage on public transport, or having to ask friends or family for lifts at potentially awkward times.
However, while driving yourself and using airport parking certainly represents the simplest and the quickest way to get to the airport, is your car safe when it’s left in an airport-managed car park for the duration of your trip? In this blog we explore what airports, including we here at Liverpool John Lennon Airport, do to ensure your car remains safe throughout its stay, as well as providing our top tips for keeping your car secure before leaving it.
Are airport car parks safe?
To put it simply, yes - car parks that are maintained and managed by commercial airports are typically extremely safe. This is because, ahead of anything else, it is in the best interests of an airport to keep their customers’ cars as safe and secure as possible. After all, this aspect of the airport experience is a crucial one for a large proportion of an airport’s customers, and if an airport cannot guarantee the safety of its own car parks, their reputation could be damaged and travellers may not want to use the airport again in the future.
In fact, according to UK Airport Car Parks (UKACP), 94 per cent of the car parks at UK airports (including Liverpool Airport) have been awarded the ‘Park Mark’. This award was created by the police, along with a series of reputable companies and organisations within the car parking industry, to show that a certain car park meets the minimum standards of safety and security - both for vehicles and the members of the public who use them. In order to be awarded a Park Mark, a car park must meet a number of stringent requirements relating to issues such as:
- The installation and maintenance of sufficient CCTV technology
- The installation and maintenance of adequate security fencing around the entire site perimeter (if the car park is outdoors)
- The installation of exit and entry barriers that require proof of payment (or a security pass) to operate
- The installation and maintenance of adequate lighting in all areas of the car park - this will include floodlighting for outdoor sites
- Regular patrols carried out by members of a full-time security team.
What will help keep your car secure?
Although parking in a Park Mark-awarded car park will certainly help to make you feel more confident when it comes to leaving your vehicle parked up for a prolonged period of time, there are always still risks attached to long-term parking. With this in mind, there are a number of things you can do to keep your vehicle even more secure before leaving it in an airport car park.
1. Keep it locked!
Although this sounds obvious, you’d be amazed how easy it is to forget to lock your car - this is especially true when you are rushing to catch a flight, making sure you’ve unloaded all your suitcases and hand luggage from the boot, and/or getting the whole family ready to enter the terminal. Airport parking security can only do so much and, if at the end of the day, you have forgotten to lock your car, the responsibility falls with you. You never know if a random passer-by may try their luck and attempt to open your door. So before wheeling your luggage off to the airport, it’s always worth double checking that your car’s central locking system has been activated.
2. Keep valuables out of sight
Another obvious pointer, but one that is all too easy to forget when rushing for a flight. From sat navs and portable media players to expensive items of clothing and even loose change, you may be unwittingly inviting thieves to break into your vehicle if these items are left in sight and unsecured in your parked car.
As we recently recommended in our ‘Getting your car ready for airport parking’ blog, ideally all items of value should be totally removed from your car prior to parking up. If you forget to remove valuable items before leaving home, it’s important that you at least hide them from sight before leaving your vehicle parked up. Consider using your glove compartment and boot as they can be locked, providing an additional layer of security.
3. Have your windows etched
Having your car windows etched with your vehicle's registration or vehicle identification number can act as a great deterrent to protect your car from thieves. This simple act, that can be professionally done for as little as £20, can make your car less attractive in the eyes of criminals as it makes stolen cars more difficult to sell and easier to recover by law enforcement.
4. Purchase a steering wheel lock
Although not as common a sight as they once were, old-school steering wheel locks are a fantastic way to protect your car. They work in two ways, firstly acting as an initial deterrent to stop opportunist thieves from attempting to break into your car, and secondly, by making the actual theft of your car much more difficult even if your vehicle itself is broken into.