Makeover Monday: 'Tis the Season to be Cautious

Last week an email circulated at work warning us all about carjackings in the area. It described the crime, reporting that it happened to the writer’s mother’s co-worker’s mother-in-law. After an initial Eeek! moment, I remembered that a few months ago we received another email describing a mugging that happened to the writer’s mother’s co-worker’s mother-in-law. Too coincidental for me. Sure enough, we checked it out and it’s a hoax.

Still, given the season, perhaps it’s wise to take a look at some parking lot safety precautions and if you’re not doing these things, perhaps you’ll consider a safety makeover. Please? I only just met you, and I’d be sad if you weren’t in my comments section anymore. :(

Parking Lot Safety Tips

When Leaving A Building
The safest practice is to ask for an escort if security staff is available. (Most shopping centers in Memphis have security patrols, a result of a successful lawsuit by the family of a woman kidnapped from a Walmart parking lot and later raped and murdered. )

If security isn’t available, ask a store employee to walk you out or at least stand at the door to ensure you get to the car safely. Or you can wait until someone else is leaving and ask to walk out together. (I do this one a lot. You meet really nice people this way.)

Have your keys in your hand before you leave the store, office, restaurant, etc. In a “women’s safety” course I took years ago, we were told to position a key between index and middle fingers in order to go for the “eye jab” if we were attacked. I’ve done it ever since, even though I can’t imagine stabbing someone’s eye.

If you have a cell phone, consider punching in 9-1-1 and then hold the phone so that you can easily press the Send button.

Scan the parking lot for any activity before you exit the building.

Walk with purpose. Criminal types are looking for people they perceive to be “weak”. A quick and purposeful stride shows them you are anything but weak.

Be especially wary in approaching your car if a van or other large vehicle with tinted windows is parked next to it.

If you have a keyless entry system, unlock the car door as you approach, making sure that you only unlock the driver’s side door. (I get button happy and am forever clicking and re-clicking the lock, which opens all the doors. I am easily entertained.)

Make it a habit to check the back seat before you open the car door. (Unlike countless movie and TV types who, even when they KNOW someone is after them, NEVER check their back seats. Sheesh.)

Once in your car, lock the doors immediately.

Get moving. Don’t sit there primping or studying your purchases. Or is that just me?

When Leaving Your Car
Hide or remove any valuables.

Park as close as possible to your destination, especially if it’s going to be dark when you return.

At night, try to park under a street light.

As you drive through the parking lot, scan the area to check for any loiterers or other sorts who give you the heebie-jeebies.

Leave your engine running until you’ve collected everything you need and you’re ready to get out of the car.

If possible, back into your parking space. It will allow you to leave quickly if you feel unsafe for any reason.


Those are the tips I know. Or to be more correct, the ones I can remember. If you have more, sing out in the comments! You’ll be doing us all a huge favor.

Hope you all have a marvelous Monday. Be Safe!!