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Safety When Parking or Returning to Car

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 29 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Safety When Parking Returning To Car

We've all heard stories about people, especially women, being attacked when they leave or return to their parked cars. So what can you do to reduce your chances of ending up as a victim of such attacks?

Your Car

First things first, you might want to take a look at the items you have dotted about the inside of your car. Take a look at it from a potential rapist or mugger's point of view.

Do you have personalised number plates, or teddies, or window stickers that clearly mark your car out as having a female owner? If so, this seemingly irrelevant fact can be enough to encourage a potential attacker to hang around your car waiting for your return. It may be something as simple as a change of shoes visible in the back of your car - after all if you've got 4inch heels in the foot well behind the drivers seat, it will give the game away that you're either female, or a cross-dresser, and chances are the attacker will take the risk of waiting to find out.

Choose The Safest Parking Place

When selecting a car park, you should first check out the Park Mark® scheme and see if there is a recommended car park near to where you need to be.

Somewhere designated as a safe parking areas, means that the area has been vetted by the Police and has measures in place in order to create a safe environment.

Whether or not you can park in a preferred car park, try to choose one that is well lit, has security patrols, restricted entry and exit points and always check closing times.

Other good rules of thumb are to pay for a manned car park if at all possible, and if you are parking in daylight, remember that the car park will look very different at night. Park as close to the exit or the stairway as possible and avoid parking anywhere near pillars or shadowy areas.

Parking on The Road

Parking in an urban area will make it more likely that your car is broken into - but if you have no choice you can at least try to reduce the chances of it happening by parking sensibly.

Follow these tips for safer parking:

  1. Park in The Best Lit Open Area You Can Find:

    This covers you on two fronts - making it less likely for your car to be broken into, and also making it less likely that you will be attacked on returning to your car. By being open, it gives a potential attacker less places to hide.

  2. Always Have Your Car Keys Ready When Returning to Your Car:

    This means you won't be rooting around in your bag off guard while someone comes up behind you, and reduces the time you are in the most vulnerable position. Worst case scenario you can use them to defend yourself if you are attacked, and can buy a few seconds to scream as loud as you can.

  3. Check The Car Before You Get in:

    Before you get in take a good look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat. - don't take too long though, as an attacker may be waiting to catch you off guard from the outside of the car.

  4. Make a Quick Getaway:

    When in your car, lock all the doors and drive away as soon as possible. Don't sit in the car for any longer than you have to before you drive off.

  5. Check Out Cars/Vans Parked Alongside You:

    If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Many victims of assault are pulled into a van while attempting to get into their cars.

  6. Look Around:

    Be aware of your surroundings by looking to the left and right and behind you with your head up all the time. You may appear paranoid and look funny to others, but an attacker will think twice about approaching someone who appears so aware of what's going on.

If you have to walk to and from a parked car on a regular basis you should invest in a personal attack alarm. If you are unfortunate enough to end up in a frightening situation, do whatever you can to alert attention to yourself. Run, scream, shout, set off your personal or car alarm - anything you can do that is noisy is far more likely to deter a potential attacker than just giving up and accepting what is happening.

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