Parking lots do not only offer the dangers of pedestrians being struck by oncoming cars but also the possibility of pedestrians falling prey to theft and, in some cases, attacks. The fact is, it doesn’t matter where you are, a small town or a big city: drop your guard and there will be someone willing to take advantage of you.
Here we are going to look at some parking lot safety rules that are both easy to remember and to follow.
- 1 1. Understand that Everywhere is a Hiding Spot
- 2 2. Keep Out of the Stairs and Elevators
- 3 3. Who is a Predator Most Likely to Target?
- 4 4. Loading the Car with a Baby
- 5 5. Keep Your Keys in Your Hand
- 6 6. If Something Seems Suspicious, Walk Away
- 7 7. Never Walk Alone
- 8 8. Always Back Your Car Into a Space
- 9 9. Don’t Stop for Anybody
- 10 Conclusion
1. Understand that Everywhere is a Hiding Spot
Every parked car and corner of a wall provides a hiding spot for a crouching, stealthy predator to close in on you unless you’re especially aware of your surroundings at all times. In order to be at your most alert, never walk with your head down in your phone or with music blasting through your ear-pods.
An attacker wants an easy target. They want somebody that is distracted and unaware until you’re face-to-face giving you no time to react. Also beware of cars cruising the lanes – predators can suddenly stop and jump out to rob or kidnap you.
- ALWAYS be scanning 360 degrees around you when walking with no distractions (NO ear-pods, cell phones, or other distractions).
- If you are in the US, carry pepper spray and a personal security alarm and have it visibly at the ready. Here in the UK we are not allowed pepper spray but women, there is no reason why you cannot carry a personal safety alarm. Both can be carried beyond the parking area as well. If you are within signal reach of your car, you can push your car key’s emergency button which will set off your car’s horn alerting anybody near by.
2. Keep Out of the Stairs and Elevators
I understand that it may be quicker to take the stairs or the elevator in a parking garage but these provide traps that benefit predators by isolating you and muffling your screams. These also give a victim very little choice of possible escape routes.
It should never be about speed, it should be about your safety. Walk in the middle of the aisles and ramps again with your personal alarm and/or pepper spray at the ready and do not take any other route until you reach your destination.
3. Who is a Predator Most Likely to Target?
While anybody can potentially become a victim, there are often certain things that a predator will look for before settling on attacking somebody. The following list will look at some ways in which a predator is likely to choose their target.
- Someone that is looking friendly, timid, lost, absent-minded, or intoxicated. These are usually the easiest to manipulate.
- Someone wearing earphones or distracted with a cell phone. As we looked at earlier, these are distracted and easier to catch off-guard.
- Someone that is oblivious to the fact that they are being followed until they’re isolated and face-to-face.
- Someone that has parked close to trucks that prevent witnesses from seeing an attack. This is easy cover for a predator.
- Someone that has both arms loaded with packages or even a small child.
4. Loading the Car with a Baby
If you have a baby with you while loading groceries into your car, position yourself in such a way that the open car door and shopping cart surround (protect) you. Keep the baby in the cart until you finish loading the groceries. If loading into the trunk, have a convex mirror (available at auto parts stores) affixed inside your trunk lid so you can watch behind you at all times.
To load your baby into your car (after loading the groceries, the baby goes in last), get into the rear seat with your baby, lock the doors, and buckle your baby into the safety-seat. Now look around, get out of the rear seat and into the driver’s seat, again lock the doors, and immediately drive away. Always use this routine and it’ll become second nature.
5. Keep Your Keys in Your Hand
Whenever you are traveling on foot to and from your car, always keep your keys in your hand. Not only will this make it easier to enter and exit your car, but they can also serve as effective makeshift weapons in the event of an assault.
6. If Something Seems Suspicious, Walk Away
When heading back to your vehicle, scan around your vehicle and the cars nearby for anything that seems out of the ordinary. If something catches your eye and seems suspicious, walk away.
When walking towards your vehicle, wave even if no one is watching to give the illusion that someone is watching you.
7. Never Walk Alone
The old saying, “There is safety in numbers” is true. Whenever possible try to always have a friend or family member with you. A predator is much less likely to attack multiple people than they are to attack somebody walking alone. Walk in groups – there is safety in numbers.
8. Always Back Your Car Into a Space
When you locate a suitable spot, back your car in. Most police officers back their cars in for several reasons: you are able to see obstructions (backing into a parking spot is less dangerous than backing out into traffic) and it provides a quick exit and better visibility when leaving.
9. Don’t Stop for Anybody
If you are approached by someone with a question, don’t stop, just keep walking. Here are some easy responses to memorize in case someone comes near:
- If you’re asked to help with car trouble: “Sorry, I don’t know anything about cars.”
- If you’re asked to help with a heavy package: “Sorry, I have a bad back.”
- If you’re asked for directions: “Sorry, I’m not from around here.”
- If you’re asked for the time: “I don’t have it.”
The need for secure parking areas will only increase as economic development continues around the globe. Nothing can stop all crime from taking place. However, by following the parking lot safety rules outlined in this post, you can enhance public safety and discourage criminal activity.