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Security Firm at Parking Structures Expected to Get Contract Extension

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By Jorge Casuso

June 8, 2022 -- The security firm credited with slashing burglary and theft from motor vehicles in half at the Downtown Santa Monica parking structures is expected to get a six month contract extension.

Staff is recommending that the City Council on Tuesday extend the contract with Allied Universal Security Services without competitive bidding through the end of the year for an additional $96,332.

The extension buys the City time to seek a long term agreement through the competitive bidding process to provide security at the seven remaining public parking structures Downtown.

The structures continue to be the target of complaints as concerns over burglaries and thefts have given way to frustration over anti-social behavior by the homeless.

Universal was hired in 2018 "in response to issues with significant property crime in parking structures 1 through 6, particularly Burglary Theft From Motor Vehicles (BTFMV) crimes," staff wrote.

Burglaries and thefts at the structures had jumped that year from 230 in 2017 to 365, according to the Police Department. After Allied Universal was hired, the number of incidents dropped in 2019 to 180.

According to staff, the 51 percent decrease in those crimes "demonstrates the need to provide security services at the parking structures to keep patrons, vehicles, and the structures safe."

The security services were terminated in April 2020 after the coronavirus shutdown, with 49 incidents of theft and burglary reported for the year.

In early 2021, as the City began emerging from the health emergency, there was "an increase in reports of vandalism, trash, human waste, and other safety concerns," staff said.

To quickly bring back the security services, the City negotiated a contract with Allied Universal at the 2018 rates without a bidding process and issued a purchase order in February "to provide urgent and temporary relief from the misuse and access issues."

The contract was extended in November 2021 "while staff negotiated the inclusion of long-term security services for the downtown parking facilities with Downtown Santa Monica Inc. (DTSM).

"The intent was to include parking facility security as part of the DTSM Maintenance Services Agreement for FY 2021-22," staff wrote. "However, negotiations with DTSM were unsuccessful."

In March of this year, the Department of Transportation resumed its responsibility for security services provided by Universal, whose contract expires June 30.

The amount for the 6-month extension includes $10,000 "to account for an increase in the Living Wage Ordinance effective July 2022," according to staff.

"A change order to the City’s current purchase order for security services with Universal would ensure continuity of the services until a long-term agreement is procured through a competitive bidding process before the end of the calendar year," staff wrote.

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