Shopping centers come in a vast array of sizes, shapes and scopes. While its stores and appearance can greatly vary, they all have one thing in common: an increased risk of criminal activity. This page states that when you gather a large group of people who all carry money and recently purchased items, it’s only a matter of time before a thief attempts a robbery or vandalism to a shopper’s car.
Although there are many areas throughout a shopping center that are generally considered risky, the parking lot is by far the most risky area for shoppers. In fact, the majority of criminal activity occurs in the parking lot immediately adjacent to a shopping center. These range from having your items stolen to carjackings and even abductions.
If you think about it, we are all strangers in a huge car parking lot. Throughout this chaos, criminals can blend in with the rest of us. Because of this, it’s vital that you follow several shopping center security tips. Each of these tips is designed to keep you and your family safe when you arrive, shop and leave the center. Of course, the most powerful security tip is to use your common sense.
Tip #1: Choose a Safe Time to Shop
If possible, it’s always best to go shopping during the middle of the day – or before nightfall. Of course, this may not always be a possibility; however, when you can help it, avoid going to shopping centers when they’re not busy or well-lit.
Tip #2: Park in Well-Lit Areas
Perhaps one of the most effective safety tips for shoppers is where you park your car. While there may be ample parking in a more isolated and dimly lit area of a parking lot, this is a prime area for criminal activity. When possible, park in brightly lit areas away from visual obstacles. The closer you can park to the entrance of the shopping center, the better.
Tip #3: Remain Aware of Your Surroundings
For many, shopping is a form of therapy. Because of this, your mind can easily wander as you go about this common activity. However, when your mind is preoccupied, a criminal can take this as an excellent opportunity to strike. Therefore, it’s imperative you maintain constant awareness of your surroundings and who is around you. Never listen to music so loud in your headphones you can’t hear someone walking up to you. Ideally, wait until you enter the store to put in your headphones. Not only do these items block your hearing, but it’s an advertisement to criminals you have some sort of phone or MP3 player.
Tip #4: Carry Only What You Need
When going shopping, leave your giant handbag or pockets full of money and personal accessories in the trunk of your car. There’s no need to go shopping with a heavy bag. Not only does this require you to carry more things, but a large handbag is a prime target for a criminal.
Tip #5: Scan the Parking Lot
Before walking to your car, take a moment and scan the parking lot to identify a potential threat. Never aimlessly walk into a parking garage without first taking a moment to determine if you’re alone or who is around you. If you don’t feel safe, ask a security guard to escort you to your car.