We have all heard horror stories of simple trips to the grocery store gone wrong, where an unsuspecting victim is robbed, or in the worst-case scenario kidnapped before they understand what is happening to them. While grocery stores are not inherently dangerous, any big open parking lot can be a hazardous situation.
It is important to think of parking lots as high-risk areas. There are many places for predators to hide, and more often than not, we are preoccupied with what we need to get done, and not always completely aware of our surroundings. Also being on the phone, or texting while walking through a parking lot distracts possible targets, and can cause you to stick out to any predators. Take the following story as an example. A young woman has finished her errands for the day and is heading back to her car.
While walking towards the car, her phone buzzes with a text from her boyfriend asking when she will be home, and that he is excited to see her. Who wouldn’t want to answer that text? Preoccupied with answering her boyfriend, she fails to notice the stranger standing next to her car, hurriedly moving things around in his trunk. While standing in front of her car door, finishing up her message, the stranger grabs her from behind and throws her into the trunk of his car before she even understands what is happening to her. She never got the chance to get home, or press send on her phone.
Instead of being distracted, here is how the girl could have prevented her future from changing forever in that one instant. A young woman has finished her errands for the day and is heading back to her car. Her phone buzzes as she walks out of the front doors, but knows it could put her at risk by distracting herself and answering it. While leaving the store, she checks her surroundings and as soon as she has her car in sight, she takes note of any suspicious characters mulling around it. Immediately she notices a man in the parked car next to her car watching her walk. Knowing that this may be a dangerous situation, she walks faster and with a purpose, to show that she is aware of her surroundings and will not make an easy target. She stares back at this man, which also shows him that she is aware of him, and he will not be able to surprise her. With her keys in her hand, she is able to get in her car quickly and lock the doors as soon as they are shut. Not wanting to waste precious time in the dangerous area, she drives off and has averted all danger.
By constantly acting aware of your surroundings, being prepared, and knowing when you might be in a possibly dangerous situation can help you and your loved ones stay safe, and avoid anything that may put you at risk for harm.