Parking lots can be a dangerous arena, especially when you’re walking through one exhausted after a long, tough day of work. Bureau of Justice Statistics over a four-year period show that more than 1 in 10 property crimes occurred in parking lots, as did more than 1 in 14 of all violent crimes. Several suggestions can help keep you safe in your workplace parking lot, whether you’re arriving early or leaving late.
Select Your Space With Care
Criminals and well-lit areas don’t mix. Choose a space in an active, lit area near the workplace entrance rather than a dark corner or remote location. If possible, back into the parking space or pull through a double space so you can exit without having to go in reverse. If the lot is packed when you arrive but you know you’ll be staying late, move your car closer to the entrance when you can.
Lock Your Car And Hide Valuables
Some of the simplest steps are often ignored, but they can be major deterrents for would-be thieves. Lock your doors, roll up your windows and hide all valuables from view. If you take the time to stow your GPS device by taking it off the dashboard, make sure you also stow the cable or other evidence that the device is still likely to be in the vehicle.
Pay Attention To Your Surroundings
Even if you’re tired and stressed, make sure you stay focused when walking to your car. Avoid talking on your cell phone, texting while walking or any other distractions that would make you a viable target. Pay particular attention to any suspicious people or activities going on in the parking lot, and if something feels too strange, return to the workplace and call for help. Predators often wait for the ideal target, so ensure you don’t appear to be it.
Avoid Unnecessary Delays
Your main task once you enter the parking lot is to get to your car and go. Keep your keys in your hand so they’re at the ready and can double as a weapon if needed. Take a quick glance inside your vehicle before entering to ensure no one is hiding inside. Once inside your vehicle, lock the doors, turn on the headlights and drive off as promptly as possible. Don’t sit in your car and perform other tasks. The less time you’re in the lot, the less risk you have of becoming a target.
Have An Action Plan
Make sure you’re aware of any emergency phones, security stations and accessible building entrances you can run to in case of emergency. If someone does approach or attempt to attack you, make as much noise as possible to gain attention or run back to the workplace.
Take Advantage Of Workplace Security Options
Take advantage of any security services your workplace may offer. Private security services can provide officers who can walk with employees to their cars, patrol parking lots and otherwise ensure the workplace and surrounding areas remain crime-free and safe.