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Keltyke
February 24, 2009, 10:01 AM
This has probably been done, but I haven't seen it recently. How do you stay safe in a public parking lot?

All of these suggestions may be prefaced by the clause, "If at all possible", and some/all may be a compromise of the rest.

Some of these you may not have thought of, some will be obvious. Some of you will have suggestions of your own.

I think "situational awareness" is a given. Be alert to your surroundings and the people in them. Be alert to anything unusual.

1. Never park where you can't easily get out of and into your car quickly.
2. Park under a light.
3. Park close to the store exit/entrance.
4. Lock your car.
5. Be ready to get into your car when you exit the store - packages and purse/wallet secured, keys in hand.
6. Do not approach your car directly, walk around from a distance of about 10'. Look inside and under it.
7. When you enter your car, lock the doors immediately.
8. Load packages quickly, looking up and glancing around frequently.
9. Do not let anyone approach you in the parking lot.
10. If anything seems amiss, go back into the store and contact the manager or security.
11. If your car mysteriously will not start when it ran perfectly before, call a garage, AAA or a road service, or store security. Do not exit the car, or if you do so, use EXTREME caution.
12. Practice situations such as dropping a package and drawing your weapon or turning and finding a stranger within arm's length. Learn what your own particular "safety zone" is.
13. Never shop alone.
14. Never display cash or a wallet full of credit cards in the store. Get your money out in private.
15. Do not accept aid from anyone. "May I carry your boxes, ma'am?" (see #9)

OK, there're 15 to start with, let's see some others.

Hirlau
February 24, 2009, 10:46 AM
You have covered alot of good "practices', so to speak. It would be hard for me to cover all of them each time. I'm a simple minded soul:o

My feelings on "parking lot" survival is the same, as it is, in any other environment. I like to use the "watering-hole" as an analogy.

The watering-hole is shared by multiple predators and their prey. You ever notice that the predators don't let the presence of their competition consume their thoughts? You always see this in the eyes/actions of the prey though.;)

Predators expect competition at the watering-hole.

Enter your parking lot with the "Predator Mindset" . It will open your eyes to the competition.

"Predator Mindset"--- How would you use that immediate environment to rob/assault/kill/escape ? Scumbags are no smarter than you, just a little more desperate, a lot more careless usually.

Just thoughts....

AirForceShooter
February 24, 2009, 10:53 AM
I have walked through parking lots at night with a drawn gun at my side.

AFS

Brian Pfleuger
February 24, 2009, 11:01 AM
I have walked through parking lots at night with a drawn gun at my side.

Wow, really? That would be a fine way to go to jail in this state.

Keltyke
February 24, 2009, 11:15 AM
I believe I'd stay out of that parking lot.

Sevens
February 24, 2009, 05:47 PM
Good list, but one thing that either wasn't mentioned, or wasn't mentioned clearly is something that occurred to me immediately after I gained my permit and started carrying. And that is to: load down my weak hand so that my gun hand stays free.

Seems like the most often I'm in a parking lot, it's the grocery store, and I don't ever leave without at least a bag or two. At first, I had to consciously tell myself to keep my right hand free, but now it's automatic.

It's not that I expect a quick draw competition to go down, but I don't like the idea that I've got a gallon of milk or three plastic bags of groceries that need to be dropped before I can even consider grabbing my carry gun. If not to use it, simply to retain it if I feel threatened.

Sometimes guys with carry permits can be "spotted" because they are dressed a little oddly or they adjust their pants all too often. For me, it's that I'm the guy with a set of keys in his left hand and 6 plastic grocery bags on my left arm while my lazy right arm is completely free and empty.

Hey, right there, I think I look like less of a potential target, as I have a free hand.

hogdogs
February 24, 2009, 06:00 PM
Mrs.hogdogs thinks I am nuts cuz I take the buggy (southern term for shopping cart) even if I have just 2 light sacks. I do this so I wouldn't have to drop them to the asphalt if I need to scrap.
Also remember your keys make decent improvised weapons as well.
Heck for that matter, every item not bolted down is a potential self defense weapon including the buggy...
Brent

Nnobby45
February 24, 2009, 09:03 PM
John Farnum once showed us how he and Vicki did it--as far as getting in the car and leaving.

She gets in, while he opens the passenger door while he's looking around, of course. Then he steps up on the running board, or floor board high off the ground, and checks all directions before he quickly gets in and off they go.

That might be a better alternative for the single driver, also. Stepping up and looking around before getting in.

Getting in the car is when you're most vulnerable.

Some of Keltyke's rules are sensible, and some aren't so practicle. For example,never shop alone doesn't work for me. Neither is taking detours around the parking lot to see if I'm being followd---unless I had reason to be suspicious.

A hand on a 642 snubbie in coat or pants pocket is your secret, looks normal, and makes you very quickly armed if need be.

ActivShootr
February 25, 2009, 09:23 AM
If you are sitting in the car waiting on someone, adjust the mirrors to cover your blind spots.

Keltyke
February 25, 2009, 09:34 AM
If you are sitting in the car waiting on someone, adjust the mirrors to cover your blind spots.

And keep that head on a swivel!

ZeSpectre
February 25, 2009, 10:56 AM
In a rape prevention course one of the biggies was to never park next to a van with a sliding door.

You see you turn your back to that door to open your car door.
The sliding door opens
One (or more) people grab you and pull you into the van
the door slides shut
the van drives off

we read about you in the paper later :(

KC9LDB
February 25, 2009, 11:02 AM
pssssh, you guys and your CCW, come out to my state for a while where it is outlawed, all I got is a knife, to be honest, now im not putting anyone down, but I have NEVER NEVER NEVER felt threatened out here. Yes, I do want CCW, mainly if my school gets shot up, but even in Chicago, in really bad neighborhoods, I have never felt threatened, maybe because im a fat guy, but idk, I do tell my friends (women mainly) to use their keys otherwise id buy them knife, so far i have bought 6 knives. And the Boys, they all got their knives on them. I sure wish we had CCW but it wont happen for now, even with more support, we need the whole state.

FM12
February 25, 2009, 11:38 AM
If you have a remote unlocking device, keep your thumb on the "alert/emergency" function. Punch it and leave it on if threatened. I know a lot of these alarms are ignored, but it might change the mind of an aggressive person with bad intentions.

Be safe. Your family wants you at home.

pax
February 25, 2009, 12:19 PM
Deleted a couple off-topic posts.

Please answer the question posed in the original post, or move along without comment.

pax

coondogger
February 25, 2009, 04:09 PM
I'm a black belt with thirty-five years experience in martial arts, so I'd like to weight in here. Sevens and hog, made an extremely important point; keep at least one hand free. And while all the other points are also important, the one general rule is this:

Always be acutely aware of your surroundings. If a parking lot spooks you, don't park in it. Go shop somewhere else. I can crack a cinder block with my hand and but if a place looks unsafe, I'm not even going in there.

Keltyke
February 25, 2009, 07:11 PM
I can crack a cinder block with my hand and but if a place looks unsafe, I'm not even going in there.

Good point. The best way to win a gunfight is to not be there when it happens.

skoro
February 27, 2009, 08:12 AM
My parking lot rules are a lot simpler, and developed after long discussions with my brothers, who are both LEOs.

1. When parking, leave the vehicle promptly and make sure you lock it.

2. When returning, have keys in hand, unlock the door, get in and GO.

Parking lot predators tune in to individuals who dawdle around in or near their vehicles, oblivious to everything around them. And they have a marked preference for female victims. Sitting idle in your car either on arrival or departure makes you a target, as does sitting there gabbing on a cell phone.

Unfortunately, many folks just simply never develop the ability to gain some situational awareness. :rolleyes:

Swampy459
February 27, 2009, 01:41 PM
Never underestimate the danger, even in a well lighted parking lot - even in a small town far removed from the big city. Even if you are a big guy.

One of my best friends in High School got a job as a corrections officer after he graduated. He was a big guy but he was one of the nicest most non-violent people I knew.

A couple of guys asked him for a ride as he was leaving walmart in a small college town of less than 20,000 people. He was a nice guy and probably even recognized the guys being in a town this small.

Later, his car was found burned. His body was found beside the road. They had made him kneel down and executed him with a sawed off shotgun blast to the back of the head.

I walk through that parking lot at least a couple times a week. I've theorized that it might have been a gang hit from some his correctional 'customers' - that maybe it was a gang initiation -- it seems so senseless that he would have been killed for being a nice guy and giving someone a ride -- but the one thing it did teach me is that it can happen anywhere in any town in any parking lot to the nicest and friendliest people.

Parking lots, even well lit ones with lots of customers walking by, even in towns where you just feel safe and crazy stuff seems to never happen are VERY DANGEROUS PLACES. Take this topic seriously.

Chad

isanchez2008
February 27, 2009, 05:29 PM
Situational awareness should always be turned on. All the rules in the original post plus if you have to defend let your training go to work. Hopefully you have been trained

Hardtarget
February 27, 2009, 11:35 PM
When I get to my truck or car, I get in and start moving. I don't even buckle up till I get to the street. I've never been threatened...yet. I just don't want to give it much of a chance. :D

Mark.

JustKev55
February 28, 2009, 08:40 AM
It can't be overstated, situational awareness will save you. When I was in the service, one of the warrant officers I worked with used to take the young guys out back of the building we worked in just to impress them with his ability to break a cinderblock with his bare hands. Then one day on his way home he saw a woman being assaulted by two less than upstanding citizens. He gallantly leapt to her aide and confronted one of the bad guys. His lack of situational awareness put him in the hospital when the second guy hit him from behind with a baseball bat. He was just slightly saved from a dirt nap by the guy's inability to swing the bat that little bit harder.

Above all else, remain aware of your situation.

JasonG
February 28, 2009, 09:30 AM
I prefer not to park close to the store but a bit farther out.
Makes it easier to see if someone is following and prevents the vehicle from being blocked.
I also keep my keys on a belt clip to keep my strong hand free.

Brit
March 6, 2009, 04:44 AM
I also keep my keys on a belt clip to keep my strong hand free.


Me too! But the new vehicles have electronic key device, that gadget plus keys are on carabineer attached to belt, un clip electronic key, step into Jeep and doors locked, drive off, I normally back in!

When using shopping cart, unload and lock vehicle, walk cart back to store, come back hands free, bit of exercise as well.

Also only put seat belt on when I am un-parked, and running free.

Good habits do not need to be pondered over, but do same checks, always.

The Great Mahoo
March 6, 2009, 08:13 AM
Me too! But the new vehicles have electronic key device, that gadget plus keys are on carabineer attached to belt, un clip electronic key, step into Jeep and doors locked, drive off, I normally back in!

When using shopping cart, unload and lock vehicle, walk cart back to store, come back hands free, bit of exercise as well.

Also only put seat belt on when I am un-parked, and running free.

Good habits do not need to be pondered over, but do same checks, always.

This is about my usualy routine. Park at the end of the lot, near a light if its dark. Load up my car, lock it up while returning the cart, then jump in and drive off, buckling up as I exit the lot.

I must admit, I started parking farther away as a resolution to get a bit more exercise. I never minded the extra steps, and its a hell of a lot less congrested at the end of the lot, where all the lazy people won't park.

Tamara
March 6, 2009, 08:37 AM
Parking lot predators tune in to individuals who dawdle around in or near their vehicles, oblivious to everything around them. And they have a marked preference for female victims. Sitting idle in your car either on arrival or departure makes you a target, as does sitting there gabbing on a cell phone.

That is the single best crime prevention tip in the universe, be it in parking lots, city streets, or your driveway. The overwhelming majority of victims never saw the attack coming. Alert people rarely get selected, and if they do, it's for a specific reason.

Erik
March 6, 2009, 10:31 AM
Some sound advice, so far. I'll add to learn to manage unknown contacts.

Ginger
March 6, 2009, 01:43 PM
"If your car mysteriously will not start when it ran perfectly before, call a garage, AAA or a road service, or store security. Do not exit the car, or if you do so, use EXTREME caution."

Can anyone elaborate on this one?

I think the best advice of all is to listen to one's own instincts.

I pay attention to my own sense of ease or dis-ease. I quit a job I liked in a low crime town in a low crime state because I had to walk across our parking lot, across a street, and alongside a motel parking lot to my car at night.

I grew up in the ghetto and have plenty of inner city experience, but that walk to my car at night made me feel more at risk than standing on a corner talking to crackheads near the projects in a drive-by corridor, so I just stopped doing it.

Brit
March 7, 2009, 07:21 AM
The overwhelming majority of victims never saw the attack coming

I have heard this more than once "He" "They" came out of nowhere!

Never saw the assailant, why? They were not looking.

Mello2u
March 7, 2009, 11:17 PM
Maximize your distance from parked vehicle which block your view and provide cover for potential threats. Special attention/caution should be given to vans without windows or dark tinted windows. Distance is your friend. It gives you more time to react.

If you have observed people in parking lots, you will see some (mostly women) who never look around, they look down at nothing or are digging in their purse.

EricReynolds
March 8, 2009, 01:27 PM
If you have the option of parking in a lot or garage that has security or even just an attendant, park there. The guard doesn't need to be a super hero to keep you safe, bad guys would likely tend to pick a spot with nobody around.

ChuteTheMall
March 8, 2009, 10:28 PM
Watch a mother with a kid in a stroller as she goes to her mini-van, straps the kid into the child seat, puts the stroller into the back, then gets in to drive away.

If she's alone, she's about as vulnerable as anyone can get, especially while strapping the fussing kid in, while her back is exposed.

You can learn a lot by watching bad examples; loading stuff is a most vulnerable moment for many of us.

I like to avoid the beeline to my vehicle by walking down the wrong aisle then suddenly cutting over to the right row. It's just a few extra steps, wakes me up, and gives me a different view of my vehicle.