Personal safety in the parking lot

Posted: January 17, 2013 in Crime, Parking
Tags: , , ,

In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s been a rash of crimes and shooting in parking lots lately. The vast majority of these events have happened in store parking lots and garages (WalMart parking lots in particular seems to be a beacon to criminals), but any parking lot provides enticing opportunities for criminals. Although there are no foolproof measures, learning and following a couple of basic safety practices can greatly reduce the chances of your becoming a victim.

  • Be Aware: This is the number one tip from safety experts when it comes to parking lot safety. Parking lots have all kinds of potential hiding spots. That’s why, when on the way to or from your car, don’t be talking or texting on your cell phone, and don’t be listening to music; predators target prey who are distracted and unaware. Be wary of any cars cruising the lanes but passing up open parking spots.
  • Be Prepared: Predators target parking lots because its easy to catch people off guard. That’s why a little preparation can thwart many attempted crimes. When going to your car, have your key in hand so you don’t have to search or fumble for it. If you have mace/pepper spray or a personal alarm, have that ready or in hand as well. Lock your car doors as soon as you enter or exit it,
  • Be Smart: Criminals are by nature ignorant and stupid, so outsmarting them isn’t all that hard. Avoid poorly lit areas whenever possible, as well as stairs and elevators since these areas tend to be out of sight of security guards and cameras if they’re present at all, as well as dampening sound. As soon as enter or exit your car, being traveling to your destination. If you have to make a phone call, don’t sit in your car in the parking lot; instead, wait until you can park in a well-lit, safe area or are out of the parking lot and inside a building or in a public place. Know where nearby exits and security are so you can get to safety as quickly as possible if anything goes wrong. Don’t leave valuables in easy view, and lock them in your glove compartment or trunk.
  • Be Brave: To quote one of my personal heroes, “Criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot.” If you end up in the terrible situation of being accosted by criminal, the unfortunate truth is that whatever they may be willing to do in a parking lot becomes ten times worse once they have you in your car or further away from any potential help, so the time to act is then and there. If you have a personal safety device, use it and immediately head toward the nearest public place or security/law enforcement officer. Make as much noise as possible and stay in the light. For women, try to not wear heels or other shoes that restrict movement in the lot.
There’s no way to guarantee 100% safety in a parking lot or garage, but that’s no reason to be careful and safe. The tips above are by no means a comprehensive list, but they reflect some of the most common and effective advice from security and law enforcement experts. While most professional parking facilities see far less crime than public facilities, don’t leave your safety completely in the hands of others.
  1. megtrahan says:

    I swear by carrying pepper spray. I had to use it once and it worked, giving me time to run away. I got mine at & will continue to do so since it worked when I needed it. It’s always important to be aware and have your pepper spray in your hand. I keep mine on my car keys so I can easily use it.

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