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Parking Lot Safety

Parking Your Vehicle
  • Be alert of your surroundings. Look for vehicles that may have followed you into the parking lot. Make several turns in a parking lot to verify this. If you believe you are being followed, do not get out of your vehicle. Doors should be locked. Stay in a well-traveled and well-lit area. Call 9-1-1 from your cell phone or go to a convenience store, service station, etc., and call 9-1-1.
  • Look for strangers or suspicious persons sitting in vehicles, standing or walking in the parking lot that appear to be watching you.
  • Park as close to your destination as possible.
  • Do not park near shrubbery, large vehicles, dumpsters, or anything that blocks your view or provides a place for someone to hide.
  • Remember where you parked so you do not spend a lot of time walking around the parking lot when you are ready to leave. If the parking lot has area identifiers, take note of that area where you parked.
  • If it is night, park in a well-lit and well-traveled area. Do not park in an isolated area.
  • Look around your vehicle before you get out. Pay attention to the surroundings and any suspicious activity.
  • Do not leave any personal items that can be seen in your vehicle that have your name, address or identifying information on them.
  • Put all valuable items such as packages, purses, and electronic equipment in the trunk. If there is no trunk hide your valuables under the seat or cover them with a blanket or coat.
  • Before leaving your vehicle, make sure ALL the doors are locked and that ALL the windows are rolled all the way up and vent windows are locked.
  • If possible, wait for other people to walk to your destination with you before you exit your vehicle.
  • Use a parking shuttle service to and from the parking lot if it is available.

Walking To Your Vehicle
  • If you are working after dark, try to move your vehicle closer to the building before it gets dark.
  • If you frequently work at night, consider a security system for your vehicle. Install one with a panic button which will sound either the horn or a siren. Also, consider carrying a whistle, mace or pepper spray.
  • If you have to work late, notify someone and give them a phone number where you can be reached. Let them know how late you will be working.
  • Do not overload yourself with packages, bags, office work, etc. If necessary, move your vehicle closer and make several trips, or move your vehicle to a loading area and load items there.
  • Walk to your vehicle in a group with other employees or customers.
  • If you find you have to walk to your vehicle alone, try to get a co-worker that is still working to walk with you. If there is security available, call security and ask for an escort.
  • Again, be aware of your surroundings and be alert of suspicious activity as you walk. If you see anything suspicious, go back inside and call the police.
  • Do not walk with your head down. Look around you and be observant. Assert body language that says that you are in control and will cause an uproar if bothered.
  • Have your vehicle keys out and hold them firmly in your hand as you exit the building(s), so you will not have to look for them when you reach your vehicle. Make sure your house keys are separate from your vehicle keys.
  • If you are approached by a suspicious person in the parking lot, go back inside quickly and call the police.
  • If you are approached and grabbed, throw your keys as far as possible and begin screaming.
  • Never get into a vehicle with a stranger, even if he has a weapon. Most attackers do not want to hurt you, they just want you to comply.  Run the opposite way the car is facing and scream, the attacker will usually leave the area.
  • Do not carry your purse by your side. Carry it close to your body, preferably in front. If someone grabs your purse, let go of it, rather than try to hold on to it.
  • If you are approached by a suspicious vehicle, walk or run the opposite direction the vehicle is headed and go back inside. Do not run around the parking lot.
  • If you are approached, get a description of the person(s).  Note their appearance, clothing, vehicle, and registration.  Look them in the face.  This acts to deter any activity, and it aids in identification.
  • If you think you are being followed, walk to a lighted area, into a store, or a crowded place. Then call the police or have someone call for you.
  • Walk only in main areas.  Do not take short cuts, and do not walk near shrubbery, dumpsters, or other areas where someone could hide.
  • Immediately report any maintenance problems such as burned out lights, defective door locks, etc.
  • As you approach your vehicle, look under it and around it.
  • Keep your vehicle in good working order.  Check tires, oil, and have plenty of gasoline. Make sure the light inside the vehicle works when the door is opened.
  • Check  inside your vehicle when you open the door before you get inside.
  • Lock all the doors as soon as you get inside the vehicle.  Turn on the headlights when starting your vehicle at night.
  • If you are approached by a suspicious person once you are inside your vehicle, do not roll down your window and do not unlock or open a door.  Honk the horn and drive away if possible.
  • If someone tries to tell you that there is something wrong with your vehicle do not stop to talk to them.  Drive to a safe area, such as a convenience store or service station to check on the vehicle.
  • If you think you are being followed when you leave the parking lot, stay in a lighted and well-traveled area  Do not drive in an isolated area. Go to a convenience store, service station,  or business and call the police.