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Parking Lot Safety: Essential Tips for Any Awareness Campaign

Ensuring parking lot safety is a top priority for cities and businesses of all sizes.  This is because parking lots are all too often the scene of accidents, violent assaults, and, tragically, a number of deaths each year.  While law enforcement and technology can help to avoid these problems, public education is the first line of defense.  Below are some key fundamentals of parking lot safety to emphasize in awareness campaigns.

 

1.      Stay Alert

Awareness of one’s surroundings is essential for personal safety in parking lots.  Those on foot should keep a close eye out for automobiles moving through the lot.  Pedestrians should remember that not all motorists practice safe driving skills, and they should be on the alert for vehicles speeding down aisles and cutting across spaces.

 

For their part, drivers should also watch out for pedestrians.  They should remember that people often walk between vehicles and can sometimes emerge without warning.  They should also be on the alert for careless or inattentive motorists.

 

2.      Walk Smart

Those on foot should avoid darting between parked automobiles.  They should listen as well as look while they cross the lot; sometimes a vehicle’s engine is easier to hear than the vehicle itself is to see.

 

Pedestrians should also be on the alert for anyone or anything that seems unusual or suspicious.  Rather than looking directly in front of themselves, they should scan the lot as they move towards their destination.  They should also walk directly to and from their vehicle rather than wandering about.  The best way to stay safe in a parking lot is to spend as little time outside as possible.  This is a fundamental tenet of parking lot safety.

 

3.      Go to the Light

Most parking lots are well-lit after dark.  Even the brightest ones, however, have areas where it’s hard to see.  If possible, drivers should avoid parking in these darker zones.  This is especially true if shrubs, trees, or other large objects are nearby; these make perfect hiding spots for criminals.

 

4.      Stay Focused

It’s easy to be distracted by cell phones, tablets, personal music players, etc.  But the middle of the parking lot is not the appropriate place to be fiddling with these devices.  Wait until you’re safely inside your locked vehicle or inside a building before checking email, engaging in phone calls, or surfing the web.  However, having one’s phone within easy reach is a good idea, just in case it becomes necessary to call 911.

 

5.      Be Wary of Strangers

Keep an eye out for people sitting in vehicles or lurking between them.  Should you be approached by a stranger, walk away swiftly and do not engage him or her in conversation.  Anyone with a legitimate need can likely contact the authorities for assistance rather than accosting strangers in a parking lot.

 

6.      Stay with the Cameras

Many parking lots have closed circuit TV cameras located at strategic points.  Criminals avoid these devices, which means that law-abiding persons using the parking lot should make every effort to stay within the camera’s field of view.  Following this parking lot safety tip could prevent hundreds of (often unsolved) crimes each year.

 

7.      Lock It Up

Locking one’s vehicle may seem like an obvious safety precaution, but many people must be reminded to take this simple step because they do not lock their doors.  Not only should drivers lock their vehicles, but they should also hide valuables such as GPS devices, laptops, and cell phones beneath seats or in glove boxes.  They should avoid placing items in their trunk, however, as this may make those around them aware that something of value is in the vehicle.

 

Conclusion

Ensuring parking lot safety is the responsibility of both law enforcement officers and private citizens.  By sharing the tips listed above, officials can help to safeguard the public and slash crime rates.