KUTA– Keep Up The Awareness
Parking Lot Safety
It was with a sad heart and because of an incident in a community where many of my friends and family live, that I write this blog today.
Parking lots are one of the top three locations women are assaulted. Knowing this simple fact should make parking lot safety a priority. When we make decisions that allow us to remain in control, we mitigate risks and enjoy more peace of mind.
Mitigating risks and creating new habits are easier when we understand why they are important. Here are a few quick statistics from www.rainn.org
Approximately 50% of all rape/sexual assault incidents were reported by survivors to have occured within 1 mile of their home or at their home.2
- 7% take place in a school.
- 13% take place at the home of a friend, neighbor, or relative.
- 18% take place in a public area, such as a commercial venue, parking lot, or park.
- 43% of rapes occur between 6:00pm and midnight.2
- 24% occur between midnight and 6:00am.
The other 33% take place between 6:00am and 6:00pm.
Keys out and ready before you walk into the parking lot. Put away receipts and be ready in order to minimize distractions in the parking lot.
Unlock the door you need access to, not all of the doors. This reduces the opportunity for a would be attacker to enter your vehicle.
Trunk and back of vehicle safety: Stand perpendicular to your trunk in order to remain engaged with your surroundings. Place your purse in the trunk while you load. Minimize the opportunity for a thief to snatch and run. This little habit can free your mind to remain more aware of the ‘Big Picture’ environment around you.
Awareness: be aware of your surroundings at all times. Notice anyone walking out of the store with you; walking around or within the vecinity of your vehicle; glance on each side of your vehicle as well as under and inside of it as you approach it.
Surprise as your friend. Attackers are not expecting you to defend yourself. Knowing how to defend yourself with reality based training allows you to remain in control.
Always lock your vehicle doors! When you first park and are preparing to exit your vehicle. When you walk away to put up the cart. When you are in the vehicle preparing to leave. When you are at the gas pump. (Some vehicles automatically lock doors when the vehicle is placed in drive, create the habit of locking them manually as soon as you are in. Some vehicles unlock doors when the vehicle is placed in park. If yours does, consider relocking the doors before gathering your things to exit.)
Fight back! Even if you have not been through reality self defense training, you can yell, bite, block punches and scratch. If you are on your back consider kicking the attacker in the chest and/or face. When someone is attacking you eyes, ears, nose, throat and groin are generally left unprotected. Defend yourself with the same tenacity the attacker is attacking you.
Eyes: Peripheral Vision is the outermost reach of your vision. Maximize it by turning your head to look right and left as you look around while walking to your vehicle. (If you are distracted looking at your phone, you become an easy target.)
Trust your instincts and yourself. If your gut says something is not right, trust it and remove yourself from the situation immediately. Distance can be your friend.
You are Beautiful. You are strong and confident. You are worth protecting! Your mindset is your first line of defense. Value yourself.
A couple of closing thoughts to mitigate risks in parking lots. Start your vehicle and leave right away. Try to avoid sitting in your vehicle checking messages, etc. Get in and go. As you exit the parking lot continue to be aware and notice if you are being followed. If you think you may be, consider making 4 right or 4 left turns, on well lit, busy streets. If the vehicle in question makes all of the turns go to a police station, fire department or a heavily polulated and well lit place of business, where you can call police. Be prepared to give a description of your vehicle and the vehicle in question, along with your location. Avoid going home, to work or any other frequented location.
Following are some common myths.