CHICAGO (CBS) — Smashed out windows and shattered glass – a rash of car vandalism in downtown parking garages has put a spotlight on garage security.
Cameras caught one man suspected in several break-ins, but is there more garages can do to stop such crimes?
CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas has been looking into security measures at garages, and some possible solutions to the problem – which has been a headache for many drivers.
Dozens of people found their car windows smashed this week at garages across downtown – including a garage on Adams Street and Wabash Avenue where anyone can walk right in.
Around 1 a.m. Thursday, about 17 drivers at the garage found pieces of bricks lying in their car and their rear windshields shattered by vandals.
“Sure enough, you know, somebody had threw a brick through the back of my window,” said garage user Winn East.
CBS 2 visited the garage on Thursday and found that it is surrounded by security cameras. But anyone can walk onto the elevator and into the garage.
An employee said the garage is open 24 hours, and someone can walk in any time. Signage also warns that the garage operator is not responsible for any loss or damages.
“It makes me think that maybe they should have at least a little more security,” said customer John Plomin.
Another garage in the 300 block of South Franklin Street was also hit this week, with about 24 cars being vandalized.
There is a sign saying after hours, customers should press the assistance button to get into the lobby. But at least during the day, anyone can walk in and the gates are open.
It is not clear how the vandal got in on Tuesday. The crime happened around 6:15 p.m.
Another garage at Wacker Drive and Clark Street takes a different approach – motorists drive up a ramp and get their ticket. On the way down, signs warn customers that they can’t get back in through the pedestrian doors without a ticket.
The pedestrian door stays locked – even in the day – but a barcode on a ticket can open the door.
“There is the chance that the ticket, you do leave it in the car a lot of the times even though there’s signage,” said customer Andrea Cangialosi. “But it does make you feel a little bit better about parking in the city.”
All of the garages that CBS 2 visited had an open entrance for cars Thursday, meaning that someone could potentially just walk in that way.
The garage at Adams and Wabash and the one on Franklin are both managed by a company called Interpark. CBS 2 has reached out to Interpark to ask how strong the security is at its garages, and whether they are changing anything.
Surveillance cameras caught a photo of a man police have linked to the incident in the Franklin Street garage, and another garage in the 100 block of West Madison Street.
Police also apprehended a man Wednesday morning after they allegedly caught him throwing rocks on Wells Street near Madison Street. But police said it was too early to link him to any other incidents.