How to keep your family safe in parking lots. Criminals use parking lots to stalk victims and your child makes you vulnerable.
Parking lots can be one of the most dangerous places for parents and their children. Why?
Parking lots offer bad guys easy ingress and egress to do harm. They frequently use those locations to steal from vehicles as well as track and approach unsuspecting targets.
What would you do if a thief/rapist/killer came up behind you in a parking lot and put a knife to your child’s throat? You would do whatever they want. Period. Yet daily I see mothers and fathers unload their kids, not looking at their environment, and more times than not - on their cell phones! You are irresponsible - sorry but true.
How can we be responsible to our children?
Entering the Parking Lot:
1 - As you enter a parking lot, scan for any odd signs:
- Men sitting in their cars, scanning the lot
- 2 people acknowledging each other from either side of the parking lot from you,
- A van or suv with blacked out windows parked on the outskirts, a
- A car/truck with the hood up and a person with a gas can… these are all things to avoid.
2 - Only park if the lot is 100% safe. Drive off if it isn’t.
3 - Park near activity and light (if dark). Forget your fitbit step counter with kids. Park close to entrances.
4 - Stay off your smartphone!!!!
5 - Scan again before you get out of the car. If another car/truck/van pulls up besides you, drive off and re-asses.
6 - As you exit the car you are distracted. Many things come into play. Bodyguards know the % of incidents is much higher when exiting or entering vehicles. Be vigilant and scan as you are exiting. Keep scanning as you walk. If anyone directly approaches ask them to keep their distance and be prepared to yell.
7 - If you didn’t get the message before - stay off your phone until well within the store.
Returning to your car:
1 - Scan as you leave the store
2 - Return to the store if you see anything suspicious. Ask for security to walk you to your car if you aren’t 100% comfortable.
3 - Is anything suspicious about who is parked next to you? If so, return to the store.
4 - Stay off your phone!!!
5 - Scan before you reach your car and plan how you are going to load up with the least interference. Think Indy 500 load ups.
6 - When everyone is in, close and LOCK all the doors. If possible double check everyone’s seat belts once you have locked all the doors.
7 - Leave the area quickly. Don’t dally and start making calls. Remember its easy for someone to approach you and try to control you.
Thought: Is it possible to go shopping in pairs? Bring friends or meet friends to unload and load up at same times to watch each others backs? Can you postpone shopping until your partner can join you?
"Be safe and remember: If you think somethings wrong, you are right and act on your intuition! The situation might not unfold in a negative way but you are right just the same."
Aiming for a Safer Society