Milwaukee toughens licensing requirements for downtown parking lot operators

Change comes following car break-ins

A parking lot at St. Paul and Water St. in the Third Ward.

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:53 pm

The Milwaukee Common Council has unanimously approved a measure requiring downtown parking lot operators to include a security plan with their license application.

A parking lot at St. Paul Avenue and Water Street in the Third Ward.

The change comes after recent car break-ins in and around downtown, leading Council members and community advocates including the Commercial Relators Association of Wisconsin and the Downtown Business Improvement District to discover parking lot operators, property owners and the Milwaukee Police Department were not communicating.

New and renewal license applications will be subject to non-renewal and must be reviewed by the Milwaukee Police Department to evaluate the suitability of security measures to be implemented.

The changes were sponsored by Alderman Robert Bauman to enhance security at downtown parking facilities.

Break-ins at the Intermodal Station in recent months – as well as incidents downtown and in the Third Ward – showed glaringly insufficient security on the part of parking facility operators, Bauman said.

“Protecting health and safety is a benchmark duty of the city and requiring stricter measures (through licensing) to substantially increase security for the protection of customers and the public is sound,” he said.

Tony Janowiec, president of Interstate Parking Company, who owns and operates several downtown parking structures including the Intermodal Station, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Tracy Johnson, president and CEO of CARW, said several factors effect crime at a parking lot or structure including having a person on duty, lighting and having the structure open or closed.

“Having the police and parking operators working together to come up with a solution makes sense,” Johnson said. “No one wants crime-ridden lots.”

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