Parking lot safety should have a high awareness for customers, workers, and owners; they can be a safety risk for anyone, especially in poorly lit areas.
When returning to your vehicle, especially if it is after dark or your arms are full of bags, try to be accompanied by someone else, such as a friend, co-worker, or security officer, then use your vehicle to drop them back off at the door. If they are unable to accompany you for some reason (as some companies do not allow co-workers carrying bank deposit bags to leave the building together), have them watch you from inside the building until you get to your vehicle; once you have reached it, park your vehicle where the headlights shine from the door to your co-worker’s vehicle, and watch them until they make it to their car. Then, both of you leave the parking lot at the same time in different directions.
If you are alone, or unable to be accompanied, a few ideas to keep in mind are:
· Keep your keys out and ready to use – you do not want to have to stop and dig through a purse or a pocket to find your keys.
· Park near lights, the parking attendant (if there is one), and as close to the door as possible. These 3 things will make you a less appealing target to anyone planning some form of trouble.
· Don’t walk between vehicles. This makes it very easy for someone to trap you, come up behind you, or grab your ankle if they are under another vehicle. Walk down the aisles, as this way you can see between cars. Keep your body out of reach of anyone lying in wait and cannot be backed into a corner.
· Pay attention to large vans with sliding doors that are parked next to you. It is incredibly easy for someone to open a sliding door, grab their victim to pull them inside the van, and then shut the sliding door before anyone else knows anything has happened. If there is a van with a sliding door parked next to your driver’s side door, either enter through the passenger door or return to the building and wait for the van to leave.
· Lock your doors as soon as you enter the vehicle and drive away. Research has shown that individuals (especially women) will sit in their vehicles after they have entered them, either making a phone call or text message, applying make-up or fixing their hair, or eating. This gives a perpetrator time to make and execute a plan to reach you, especially if the doors are unlocked; don’t give them this opportunity.
If you are a business owner with a substantial parking lot, an investment to consider is hiring a security company to provide security guards for your parking lots and garages. Knowing that your parking area is safe for customers and employees can be a selling point to drive up traffic numbers and keep everyone protected at the same time.
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