4 Ways to Keep From Becoming a Victim

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Parking Lot Safety

In a previous blog,6 Ways to Lower Your Chances of Becoming a Victim, I discussed cell phones, eye contact, paying attention to your surroundings, being too nice, walking with confidence and taking a self-defense class. In this article, you’ll find 4 more ways to lower your chances of becoming a target.


You take your ordinary thieves, thugs and other bad guys… they don’t like confrontation. They just want money and stuff. And they want easy money and stuff. They don’t like it when a victim fights back. So they are on the lookout for people who appear to be unaware and preoccupied because they make easier victims. Don’t make their job easier. Here are some tips to help you stay safer when you’re parking your car.

#1 Remember Where You Parked Your Car

Take a look at almost any busy parking lot. You’ll probably see at least one person wandering the lot, searching for their car. I get it. I’ve done it myself. You’re in a hurry, or your mind is on other things.

You park, get out, hit the lock button and go into the store. Then, when you’re ready to leave, you have no idea where you parked. Besides being frustrating and/or embarrassing, it can also be dangerous.

Thugs like people who are distracted and who are not paying attention to what’s going on around them. When you’re searching for your car, your concentration is focused on finding your car.

You may be irritated because your frozen food is starting to perspire, or you’re in a hurry, or it’s raining/snowing/sleeting, or all of the above.

You’re probably feeling flustered because you don’t even know where to begin to look for your car. And you probably feel self-conscious because you’re wandering around lost and you can tell that everyone knows it.

But no matter what you’re feeling, odds are you aren’t aware of your surroundings. It’s the perfect time for a thug to grab you, your purse, and/or your bags.

Always remember where you parked. Make a mental note every time you park your car. Write it down, record it on your phone, look around for physical markers to help remind you. It’s worth the extra few seconds it takes.


#2 Locking Your Car

While we’re on the subject of parking and locking your car, how many times have you gotten out of your car, started walking toward the store, and pressed the lock button as you held your key fob over your shoulder?

We’ve all done it. That’s the convenience of having a key fob. But you should always look at your car when you lock it. There have been instances where car thieves have sneaked up and opened one of the doors just before the owner hit the lock button.

The owner heard the beep, assumed the car was secure and never looked back. The thief can then steal either your stuff or your car. Keep an eye on your vehicle while you’re locking it. Just in case.

#3 Don’t Park Next to Panel Vans, Large Vehicles, or Vehicles with Someone in the Driver’s Seat

Panel vans are vans that only have a windshield and windows for the driver and passenger. There are no windows around the rest of the van. It’s easy to conceal something or, worse, someone, in the back of panel vans.

Some predators like to use panel vans to throw their victims into and drive off with them. Don’t park next to one, especially if there is a person sitting in the driver’s seat.

Large vehicles can provide cover for thugs so you won’t realize they are there. Then they can take you by surprise. Also, if you do get attacked, you’re less likely to be seen by people going in and out of the store.


Avoid parking near vehicles that have someone in the driver’s seat. Probably, they’re simply waiting for their passenger to get back from the store. But… they could be waiting for a victim to park next to them.

They may already have the engine running and there could be a second thug hiding in the back seat, waiting to jump out and pull you into their vehicle

If you come back from the store and find that any of these types of vehicles have parked next to your car, you have some deciding to do. If the vehicle is on the driver’s side of your car, you could enter your car through the passenger door.

Be very careful though because once you unlock all your doors, a predator could jump into the driver’s seat. If you do enter on the passenger side, once you open the passenger door, immediately press the door lock button. That way, no one can jump in any of the other doors.

You could decide to wait until they leave, or you could ask a store employee or a store/mall security person to walk out with you. No matter what you decide, be aware of your surroundings at all times. As soon as you get in your car, lock the doors and leave the area immediately.


#4 Avoid Parking Next to Cart Corrals

I know it’s more convenient to park next to a cart corral, especially if you need a cart to use to return a large/bulky item, return bottles and cans (we do that in my State), and/or if you will be coming out with a cart full of stuff.

But, if you park there, you should be extra aware of your surroundings. It’s easy to assume that anyone approaching the corral (and walking near you) is simply putting their cart away.

And so it’s easy to not pay them much attention. But one of those people might be a thug hoping to take you by surprise and grab your purse or purchases.

And especially avoid cart corrals that have large plants/bushes on either side of the corral. They may be pretty, but it’s easy for thugs to hide there, especially in the dark.

Keep your eyes open and look around. It could save your life.

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