Women can be at their most vulnerable in a parking lot no matter the time of day. Be prepared with these safety tips from Steve Kardian, author of The New Superpower for Women.
Most mall-related crimes occur in the parking lots. Drivers and shoppers walking through are vulnerable to being hit by cars, or to falling prey to theft and, in some cases, attacks.
You are heading out for a long-overdue shopping trip and you are excited to get going. It doesn’t matter where you are, a big city or a small suburb: if you drop your guard low enough, there will be someone willing to take advantage of you.
Take the following precautions to stay safe:
When you get to the parking lot, not only are you scanning for a parking space but you’re also scanning for anything or anyone that looks out of place.
Locate a parking spot as close to the front of the store as possible. If you are in a parking structure, park as close to the elevators as possible.
Avoid anything that will block your view of the store entrance.
Avoid anything that will block your view when returning to your car. This includes large vehicles, shrubbery, and small structures.
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.
Just before you exit your car, pause and do a quick scan and check your six (behind you).
As you walk toward the store entrance, do not talk on your cell or text and no using earbuds. Continue to scan as you go.
As you return to your car, keep your head on a swivel and scan. Once you reach your car, get in immediately and lock the doors.
If you are approached by someone with a question, don’t stop, 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.” Whatever you do, do not stop and look down at your cell phone, even if it is in your hand. You may get punched in the face. It is a common tactic for a predator to smash your face, grab the cell, and run.
You can also scare off predators just by lengthening your stride.