Why Parking Lot Safety Is Important
Parking lots and garages are a necessity for many people these days. People need a place to park when they go to work, go to the mall, or are just out for an evening with friends. And unfortunately, they are also a great place for criminals to victimize innocent people. Because of this, it is important to know some parking lot safety tips – things you can do to increase your chances of reaching your car safely, and ways to defend yourself if an attack does occur.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, property and violent crimes occur in parking lots and garages due to the relatively low level of activity. This creates a setting for criminals to commit their acts unnoticed due to the large number of ideal hiding places – such as behind, between and even under cars; near walls and columns in parking garages; and in the shadows that are created due to low or little lighting.
Recent statistics from the Bureau of Justice shows that at least 1 in 10 crimes involving property occur in parking lots. That’s a large portion of crime that occurs in parking lots, illustrating how important parking lot safety is.
10 Parking Lot Safety Tips You Should Know
Fortunately for you, there are several things you can do to drastically reduce the chances that you will be the next victim in a parking lot.
Parking Lot Safety Tip #1 – Carpool to work. Most people who are attacked in parking lots are alone, since this makes for the easiest victim. If you travel to work with a group of 2-3 other people, you are much less likely to be attacked. The attacker simply will not want to deal with the large group, instead opting to wait for someone more vulnerable.
Parking Lot Safety Tip #2 – Keep your keys in your hand. Do not put your keys away until you enter the building, and keep your keys in your hand as soon as you leave a building to head to your car. Keys can be used to scratch, poke, or stab the attacker, making that attacker want to end the attack right away.
Parking Lot Safety Tip #3 – Try not to have too many things in your hands as you go back to your car. They can be distracting as you walk to your car, and can affect your ability to defend yourself should an attacker approach.
Parking Lot Safety Tip #4 – Avoid using your key chain button to unlock the car until you are at your car door. The blinking lights on the car act like a direction arrow that shows exactly where you are headed.
Parking Lot Safety Tip #5 – Avoid distractions. Cell phones distract you – if you need to make a phone call, do so before you exit the building. You should also avoid looking down as you walk. Keep your eyes up and alert so you can see what is going on around you and see someone approach. Looking down makes you appear less confident and an easier target.
Parking Lot Safety Tip #6 – Once you get to your car, make sure the car is secure. Check the trunk, check the back seat before you enter the car. When you get in, lock the doors right away.
Parking Lot Safety Tip #7 – Do not waste time. Walk directly to your car, quickly. When you get to your car, start the engine and turn on the headlights. Do not sit idle in your car, just get in and go. The less time an attacker has to start the attack, the safer you will be.
Parking Lot Safety Tip #8 – Pick the safest parking lot. Prevention starts with picking the safest parking lot you can find. This includes parking in well-lit areas of the lot and only parking in garages that have attendants on duty. Also do not park in lots or garages that require you to walk through an ally to get to and from.
Parking Lot Safety Tip #9 – Avoid using the stairs when possible. If you park in a parking garage that has multiple levels, use the elevator instead of taking the stairs. An attacker can hide under the stairs, or be waiting a level above or below you for the right time to attach. You can see into an elevator before entering, you already know if it is safe to enter.
Parking Lot Safety Tip #10 – Use self defense items. There are many self defense items you can keep with you to fight off an attacker if you find yourself in an unfortunate position. Most of these items are small enough that you can keep them in your purse, pocket or on your key chain.
Like we just mentioned, there are several very effective options for you when it comes to self defense. All of these are very reliable, and have been shown to either end the assault quickly, or stop it from ever happening.
Pepper Spray – Pepper spray works by causing a burning pain, tears, and even temporary blindness. Law enforcement officers and mail carriers often rely on this, so you know it works. It is small enough to fit in a women’s purse, and there are also pepper sprays that are disguised as lipstick and pens. You can even get smaller pepper sprays that fit on your key chain, so it will always be ready when you have your keys in your hand.
Stun Guns – Stun guns are a very effective way to incapacitate your attacker. Sending 100,000 volts through your attacker will stop the attack right away. These are also often very small, and can be disguised as cell phones, flashlights, lipstick and pens. Easy to keep handy without anyone knowing what it actually is – until you need to use it!
Personal Alarms – These also come in a variety of shapes and sizes. These work by emitting a loud, 130 decibel alarm that not only lets others around you know you are in trouble, but can really startle your attacker and throw him off his guard. Many personal alarms also feature a flashlight or a strobe light to help people find you when you need help. Personal alarms are often small enough to fit on your key chain, so you can always have it handy.
Parking lots have become a necessity for people who work in offices or shop in large malls. Criminals are counting on victims being placated by familiarity. Your best defense is to know the parking lot safety tips I’ve gone over here, but also know that you should always carry some form of self defense item with you. Whether it is pepper spray or a stun gun to incapacitate your attacker, or a personal alarm to scare him off and alert others to come and help, you should have something with you. Especially women, who are targeted most often because they are perceived to be an easier target.
The best way to avoid an attack in a parking lot is to prepare properly. I hope you can put these parking lot safety tips to good use.