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Avoid becoming a statistic of parking lot attacks

Parking lots can be dangerous places in which pedestrians need to take particular care. Incidents of assault, rape, kidnapping and more occur in parking lots nationwide, including in California. Regardless of age or gender, predators threaten all, and it is up to you to be vigilant and avoid being a target. Some circumstances make pedestrians more vulnerable, but if you are prepared and take precautions, you can significantly increase your odds of avoiding danger.

Although your safety is the responsibility of the property owner, parking lot security is an often neglected area of property management. Learning from past incidents that are on record can help serve to protect you. Being on the lookout for danger, and not feeling obliged to be friendly toward strangers might just save your life. Too many victims have fallen prey to friendly strangers who turn out to be wolves in sheep's clothing.

Avoid being a target

Here are some known areas where predators may hide, and tips that might prevent you from falling victim to parking lot attacks:

  • Parked cars can conceal predators.
  • Avoid parking behind a large vehicle that conceal you from witnesses.
  • Be aware of any shrubs and bushes that can easily become hiding spots in open air parking lots.
  • Avoid using the staircase to a parking garage whenever possible.
  • Keep a lookout for slowly cruising cars in the parking lot -- it might be someone looking for a target.
  • Scan the entire area around you and avoid talking or texting on a mobile device or listening to music on your ear pods.
  • Walk with pepper spray or other personal protection clearly visible in any areas you feel are potentially dangerous.
  • With both arms loaded with parcels and/or a small child to handle, you could be a target -- decline any offers of assistance from random strangers.

Safety steps to take

While you may not anticipate every step a potential attacker may take, your alertness and other precautions may save you from harm. Never leave your vehicle unlocked. A stranger can enter your car and lie waiting for your return. Keep your finger on the emergency button of your keys as you approach your car. The emergency alarm might scare off a predator. Do not approach your vehicle if you see someone lurking in the area -- keep on walking. You could even ask the store for an escort.

If you have a baby with you, load him or her last. Finish loading any goods you purchased while constantly scanning the area, then strap the baby into his or her seat by getting into the rear of the car with the baby and locking the doors. Then, after scanning the area, unlock the car and go to the driver's seat -- not forgetting to lock the doors again before driving off.

What if you are a victim?

Even with all these precautions, you may still fall victim to parking lot violence, in which case, you may have the right to seek recovery of damages from the owner of the property. You can file a premises liability claim in a civil court. You will have to establish negligence -- which forms the basis of any personal injury claim -- and show that the defendant failed to take due care. The court will then adjudicate your documented claims for financial and other losses.

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