You’re walking to your car after a long day of shopping. You have missed calls and texts while juggling an arm full of shopping bags and fumbling for your keys. You are the perfect target for a predator. Read on for more parking garage safety tips…
A scenario all too common these days. With the immense distraction of juggling multiple things at one time, our brains become distracted and oblivious to what is going on around us. This is when a predator moves in. When parking in lots or garages, it’s essential for your safety to stay alert and eliminate distractions.
In the interest of the safety of all people, Sonitrol has a few tips that will keep you safe and alert while out and about.
Preparing and planning ahead are two of your best friends when it comes to safety. If possible, shop during the day, or early morning hours. Predators are less likely to strike in the daylight.
Don’t carry a lot of cash. Rely mostly on debit or credit cards. Leave the flashy jewelry and accessories at home. Handbags, diamond bracelets and high-end designer duds encourage unwanted attention and put you at risk as a victim.
Carry a small flashlight in your handbag or pocket. If you are ever caught in a dark area, you will be able to see who and what is around you. Pepper spray is also an effective method of defense.
Park, Lock and More
Upon arriving at your destination, don’t linger in your car checking text messages or making phone calls. Be prepared as you park your car to exit your vehicle and take care of business. The more you act like you have some where to be, the less time a predator has to react.
In a garage setting, park close to the entrance to the facility, exit or elevator. The closer you are to the points of entry or exit, the less is spent in darker areas of the garage. An easy way to remember where you park, is to drop a pin with your phone or take a picture of a landmark. Research various phone applications for other options on staying safe with your phone.
Another way to avoid trouble is to hide anything valuable or looks valuable. Take purses, electronics and shopping bags with you (even empty ones), or place these items under the seats or in the trunk.
When exiting the shopping mall after a long day, it’s easy to be distracted. This is the perfect time for a predator to pounce: you are alone, tired, hands are full and you forgot where you parked.
It’s best practice to get your thoughts together before finding yourself alone. Before exiting the building, get your car keys out and ready. Consolidate your shopping bags so they are more manageable and put your phone away. Now, you are prepared to get in your vehicle and hit the road without fumbling around.
In many cases, people are encouraged to keep their phone in their hands while searching for their vehicles or even make a phone call as “protection.” In reality, this serves as a cognitive distraction. Truthfully, if a predator were to act, there isn’t anything the person on the other line could do.
Keep your hands free and your head up. Glance around the premises for any suspicious activity. If you feel uncomfortable, trust your gut, return to the store and ask for a security guard to escort you to your vehicle. Always report suspicious activity. If you see something, say something.