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  • Stephen Carter

Are You Practicing Safe Parking in Lots and Garages?

Car in in commercial parking garage

According to the most recent research from the *U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, there were more than 400,000 violent crimes in parking lots and garages on average each year for the four year study period.

What can you do to help keep yourself safe when walking to and from your auto in parking lots and garages?

Safe Parking Mindset and Actions

  • When entering a parking lot or garage, scan the area carefully. Look for one or more people who seem to be loitering. If there is any concern, park somewhere else or leave.

  • If you park in a multilevel lot, make note (as in write it down) where you are exactly including the level, the parking space number if available, and location of the closest elevator or stairwell. If it can be done safely, walk up or down the ramps rather than use a stairwell or elevator.

  • If possible, when walking from or to your car carry your driver’s license, money, and credit cards in a pocket rather than in your purse.

  • Walk briskly and confidently. Studies show criminals will look for people who appear nervous or unsure of themselves as they walk.

  • Avoid conversations. Keep walking.

  • Whenever possible, walk with others. If security staff members are available, ask for an escort.

  • When walking, scan the environment. Have your phone on, easily available, and ready to call 911 (or other emergency number for your location).

  • Have your ignition remote unit or car keys in hand and ready. Many remote units have an emergency horn activator. Know how to activate that safety feature.

  • When approaching your car, look beneath the vehicle and then look in the back seat to ensure no one is hiding in either place.

  • Enter the car and immediately lock the doors. Start your engine and leave. DO NOT check your phone, fix your makeup, or do anything else that delays your departure.

The Most Important Safety Measure

The most important safety measure is to trust your intuition. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t seem quite right, get help or take other appropriate protective action immediately.

Your Next Stay Safe Mini Tip: How to Stay Safe on City Streets

In our next Stay Safe post, you’ll learn how to help mitigate the points of highest risk while walking on city streets.

Download a PDF copy of this post at

This post is part of our"Stay Safe" Mini Tip Posts to Keep You Safe

Stephen Carter

Stress Solutions, LLC | | Email:

Stephen Carter is a former Chief of Police, Corporate Security Director and safely leader for one of the world's largest financial services companies. He is now the CEO of Stress Solutions, LLC, a company dedicated to helping people enhance physical and emotional wellbeing through stress mastery using mind-body methods. He is the host of the, "Safe Living Today" and "Mind Over Stress" podcasts.

*Citation: The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Listen to the companion "Safe Living Today" podcast episode for this post:

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