NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — On Tuesday, Norfolk City Council got a briefing on the status of parking garage improvements following our 10 On Your Side report in March. 

The council got reports there has been an increase in smash and grabs in the parking garages, but the big news as promised by City Manager Dr. Chip Filer is that there are great improvements in what we were reporting on — that cameras are back up and running in many parking garages. 

Back in February we reported on Jack Rowsey’s car that was stolen from the Boush Street city-owned parking garage.

“I knew there was a camera right above my car … and that’s why I parked there … and I can’t get anyone to pull a picture, or a mugshot of who did this.” 

What Rowsey didn’t know: the surveillance camera above his car, which is advertised on the front of the parking garage, wasn’t working. 

We started driving around and found eight of Norfolk’s 12 parking garages have no surveillance cameras operating.

Following our investigation, the city put up plastic bags over the non-working cameras, letting the public know they don’t work.  They also covered up signs that had falsely advertised surveillance cameras.

Norfolk Director of Parking Ray Stoner told us earlier this year following our investigation: “The timing of the story, a review of what cameras are not working. Yes. That was part of the reason we covered the signs.” 

Then in May following Granby Street violence that left three dead, the city put up cameras, and Filer set up a new budget priority.

“The goal here is to have all garages outfitted with brand new security technology by the end of the calendar year.” 

Nine months after our initial investigation, the city says surveillance cameras in four of the eight parking garages profiled in our report are now back online. 

Waterside Garage is now online with cameras working, along with the Main Street Garage, the Town Point Garage, and the Boush Street Garage. Two of the garages, Freemason Street and West Plume Street, are in the installation phase. Garages at Scope and York Street are awaiting servers.  

Stoner told the council during the work session: “We have had a delay in our supply chain, and out business partners and the city staff believe these final locations should be installed by the end of January.” 

Other improvements for garage safety — off-duty sheriff’s deputies and police officers — will be patrolling the parking garages.

“Norfolk Sheriff’s Department, Norfolk police, and contracted security will patrol our parking facilities,” Norfolk’s Director of Parking Ray Stoner explained.

The city will also be adding LED lights to make parking garages brighter.

In the Fountain Garage, the city plans on installing roll-down gates to shut off traffic after rush hour.

“Only patrons will be able to get in the facility. You won’t be able to physically walk in or drive in unless you are a Bonafide customer,” Stoner explained.

Stoner also hinted that the city is also looking into putting additional cameras in parking garages and on the streets outside of them.