If you’re like most people, you probably use parking garages in your daily life, whether it’s on campus, at the mall, or even where you work. It’s something you do without giving it any thought.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 1 in 10 property crimes occur in parking lots or garages. Anyone who walks alone can be a potential target.
You don’t have to be a victim if you remain aware of your surroundings. Keep these four safety tips in mind if you leave your car in a parking garage.
1. Watch Where You Park
Be sure to park in a well-lit, highly visible area. Close to the entrance/exit is ideal. You should carefully note where you park your car so you won’t have spend unnecessary time walking around trying to find it. If at all possible, park on the first level, so you won’t have to take the elevator or stairs when you return. Stairs and elevators are great hiding places for people who are up to no good.
2. Pay Attention
Keep your eyes and ears open when you’re walking out of and into the parking garage. Don’t talk—or text—on your cell phone and don’t use headphones or earbuds to listen to music. Those things can distract you. Attackers like to prey on people who aren’t aware of their surroundings. Be alert. Walk with your head up and pay close attention to what’s going on around you. If you see someone lurking around, turn around and leave the garage. You should then notify the police or parking attendant.
3. Have Your Keys Out
As you head back to your car, hold your car keys in your hand so you can unlock the door as quickly as possible. You don’t want to have to spend time searching through your purse or your pockets. You can also use your keys as a weapon. Once you get inside your car, lock it—even before you put your seatbelt on—start it, and drive away as quickly as possible. Don’t mess with the radio or GPS or take out your cell phone. If you have packages, don’t put them in the trunk.
4. Make Some Noise
Carry something with you that can make noise to bring help in case of an emergency. You can also press the alarm button on your car remote. If your car alarm goes off, it may scare off would-be perpetrators.
If you follow these tips if you’re alone in a parking garage, you can reduce your risk and improve your sense of personal safety.
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