February 13, 2019
Parking structures and lots are the third most common site of murders and assaults in the United States, according to data from the FBI. And healthcare personnel are particularly vulnerable, not only because they’re coming and going at all hours, but also because hospitals are often located in areas with high levels of criminal activity.
Last month, Carlie Beaudin, a nurse who worked at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, WI, was beaten to death in a parking garage attached to the hospital (pictured above). A former valet was arrested for her murder, which occurred at 1 a.m. as she walked off the elevator to her car. FBI data indicates the most likely time for an assault or homicide is between midnight and 1 a.m.
Given the high number of women who work in hospital settings and the statistics showing women are more often victims of assaults, extra precautions need to be taken on medical campuses, according to Jim Johnson, a Minneapolis-based parking industry consultant.
After Beaudin’s death, other hospital workers spoke up, admitting that they’ve worried about their safety for years due to “unsafe” and “terrifying” parking conditions, including poorly-lit garages and far-away lots that usually lack security staff. They blame their employers—the healthcare systems—for not taking appropriate steps to ensure their safety.
OSHA, the federal agency that oversees workplace safety, publishes guidelines that specifically address parking for healthcare workers. It suggests medical facilities provide secure escorts, ensure lighting is adequate, and trim hedges to eliminate hiding spaces. It also provides a worksheet for medical complexes to assess their level of security, asking, “Is the parking lot attended or otherwise secured?”
One woman, who has worked for many years at Froedtert Hospital, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that she’s regularly felt frightened walking to her car and wonders why the cameras in the garages do not appear to be monitored in real time. She spoke anonymously because she feared retaliation.
Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin officials have not answered questions about security policy or protocol. They declined to say whether or how often the garages are patrolled, how camera surveillance is used, how many complaints they’ve received, or how many incidents have happened over the years.
For questions, comments or concerns, please contact Jennifer Duell Popovec