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Following car vandalisms last summer, Norfolk increases security at cruise parking lot

After a series of cars were vandalized last summer, the City of Norfolk has made some upgrades to the Cedar Grove Lot.

NORFOLK, Va. — After a series of cars were vandalized last summer, the City of Norfolk has made some upgrades to the cruise parking lot.

Director of Parking Ray Stoner said roughly 15 cars were vandalized in the Cedar Grove Lot last cruise season.

But after some security upgrades, he said it would be foolish to try to break in now.

“You’re taking your chances. You have armed officers here. They have access to high-tech equipment,” Stoner said.

Stoner said three sheriff’s deputies now monitor the lot 24/7, along with four high-tech camera systems that constantly film the area. The garage was previously monitored by a private security company that Stoner says they no longer use.

According to Stoner, the security cameras can also alert deputies when someone enters the lot and can make an auditory alert that lets you know authorities are on their way.

“Even when there’s squirrels or birds that might fly across the camera, it picks those up,” Stoner said.

Cruise ship passengers are taking note of the safety enhancements.

“There was a deputy out front…We saw the lights and all that stuff," said Brooke as he headed to catch the Carnival Magic cruise Sunday.

“The parking is very congested, but I did see the security cameras and things out there. And it has a speaker that says, ‘The police are watching and monitoring,'” said cruise passenger Kevin McWillie.

Stoner said they installed supplemental lighting and an 8-foot-tall fence that surrounds the entire 1,200-space parking lot.

He said so far, the security changes have worked and they haven’t had any issues this season.   

But safety isn’t the only thing the city has improved since last cruise season.

“We’ve put up a staging area -- a 50-foot-long tent that allows customers to stage underneath, get out of the elements while they’re waiting for their shuttle," Stoner explained.

Stoner also said there are a few more shuttles this year to help get passenger to and from the cruise.

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