Parking Lot Safety
Arriving at the Parking Lot
- Have a plan rehearsed in your head of what you will do in the event of an attack.
- When possible wear shoes and clothing that will not hinder an escape. Sneakers are best and shoes with low heels are your second best. Keep a pair in the car if you are going to be out on your way home from work. If you wear high heels and are pursued, kick them off and run barefoot.
- If you are unfamiliar with the parking lot, drive through it and check it first. If you don’t feel safe, go elsewhere and wait for someone else to arrive.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Watch for suspicious people or activities.
- Park in highly visible, well lit areas. Avoid parking near shrubbery or the side of vans that has the slide open doors. Back in to the space if possible. (Near the elevator, if possible in a parking garage).
- Always carefully note where you parked so you don't spend unnecessary time walking around a parking lot.
Returning to your vehicle
- Do not present yourself as an easy target. Try not to carry a lot of packages.
- Walk confidently and with a purpose and observe those around you. If you notice someone hanging around your car or acting suspiciously return to the store. Assertive body language can help prevent an attack. Keep your head up.
- Have all of your attention and effort dedicated to your surroundings and walking to your vehicle.
- Turn off your cell phone, have your keys in your hand so you are not searching for them while you walk. Keep vehicle key separate from other keys. Attach a whistle with the vehicle key.
- Walk to your vehicle in pairs or in a group.
- As you approach your car, look under and around it. Before getting in your car look in the back seat and on the floor.
- When you enter your vehicle, lock all the doors and turn on your headlights. This will allow you to see anyone outside in the dark.
- Start the vehicle and drive to another location; that is well lit before making any necessary phone calls. Limit the amount of time you spend idle in the car.
- If you feel that you are being followed, walk or run quickly to a lighted store or where crowds of people can offer help if needed. Know where to go for help-police station, fire house, etc. Do not go home.
- Do anything you can to draw attention. Don't be embarrassed. Scream, yell or blow your whistle. Honk the car horn.
- If you carry a purse, don't dangle it by your side so that a thief can run by you and grab it. Carry your purse close to your body, preferably in front.
- Keep your car in good mechanical condition to prevent car trouble. Keep the tank filled with sufficient gas.
- Avoid carrying large sums of money and unnecessary credit cards. Consider keeping ten or fifteen dollars in your wallet or purse to throw to the ground to initiate an escape.
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April 19, 2013