Most of us don’t think twice about walking to our cars in a parking lot. However, parking lots can be dangerous places. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, 25% of rapes and 60% of abductions occur in or around parked cars.

Of course, there are some simple things you can do to protect yourself and stay safe in parking lots. Use these parking lot safety tips the next time you are heading to your car.

MAR 15, 2023


“Leaving something under your windshield wiper that you will retrieve is a trick used by carjackers.”

Parking Lot Safety Tips

1. Beware of windshield bait.

Carjackers and thieves are using a trick called “windshield bait” to rob and/or steal victim’s vehicles. The simple act of tucking something under your driver’s side windshield wiper is proving to be an effective offense for criminals.

It could be a $5 bill or simply a flyer, but the effect is to get you out of the car to pull it off. Once you have done so, they will either approach you and steal your purse, your car or both. Don’t fall for windshield bait.

Check your vehicle’s windshield as you approach and use caution if you see something tucked under your windshield wiper. If you notice the windshield bait after you are already inside your vehicle, do not get out to remove it. Drive away from the area a short distance and then remove the item.


2. Carry a flashlight after dark.

Always be aware of the cars around yours and the blind spots in between. If someone is sitting in the car next to yours, proceed with caution or ask for assistance from store staff.

Shine a flashlight around and under your car as you approach to be sure no one is hiding in wait to strike. Don’t forget to look in your backseat before unlocking your car and getting in too.

3. Use objects as obstacles.

If you happen to be attacked in a parking lot, use objects such as garbage cans, parking garage support columns and even other cars to place obstacles between you and the attacker trying to catch you as you escape. Anything you can fit between that your attacker cannot will slow them down and provide you a greater chance to reach help and safety.

Don’t forget your shopping cart can be used as an obstacle and weapon too!

4. Be ready to go.

You should always have your keys in hand, ready to go when you approach your vehicle. Even just a few seconds fumbling with your keys at the door provides a window of opportunity for an attacker to strike.

Once inside your vehicle, lock the doors and leave. Don’t sit in your car and check messages or return a phone call. Wait until you are in a safer area to take care of those things.

“Don't loop shopping bag handles over your wrists. Keep your arms and hands free to fight.”

5. Be ready to defend yourself.

Do not overload your arms with shopping bags when you are leaving the store or unloading the car when you get home. Always carry bag handles in your hand instead of looping them up on your arms or wrists. You need to be able to drop your bags quickly to defend yourself if you are attacked.

Carry a self-defense weapon in one hand as you walk to your automobile. You will not have time to reach in your purse and get it during an attack. In fact, most attacks can be avoided all together by having your stun gun visible as you are walking alone. Studies have shown that most attackers will wait for an easier target if they see you are carrying a weapon to defend yourself.

6. Ask for store assistance.

Trust your gut instinct. If you feel that walking to your car alone poses a risk, ask for a store employee to escort you to your vehicle to ensure your safety. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask for an escort. Your embarrassment will pass but losing your valuables or your life will not. Most stores will be more than happy to have an employee walk with you and make sure your shopping trip ends safely.

7. Don't get tagged by criminals.

A new “trick” by car jackers is to put a zip tie around the driver’s door handle, rear view mirror or other place on your car that you will see upon approach. Similar in concept to “windshield bait”, the criminal is hoping that you will see the oddity and attempt to remove it before you leave.

The distraction and the time it takes while you fiddle with the dilemma offers an attacker the perfect opportunity to steal you, your purse, your car or all three.

Turn around and return to safety if you notice a zip tie or twist tie on your car as you approach. Notify police immediately.


8. Choose your parking spot wisely.

Park in well lit and more high traffic areas of the parking lot whenever possible. It is also wise to back into the parking spot whenever possible. Doing so allows you get in and drive out of any emergency quicker than if you have to put your car in reverse, turn it around and then put in drive to exit. Any steps you can take to make the process of getting in your car and leaving faster is a benefit to your safety in parking garages and parking lots.

✔️Final Thoughts

Now that you’re aware of these precautions, you will probably notice how often you are vulnerable to being attacked in a parking lot on a day to day basis than you realized.

Parking on campus, commuting to work, grocery shopping and even going to concerts all pose the potential risk of being the victim of such a crime. By following the tips in this article, you can reduce your risk of being attacked in a parking lot.

Defense Divas® wants you to be equipped to defend yourself not only with a self-defense weapon, but also with the practical knowledge of safety awareness and prevention.

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Copyright©2023 All rights reserved. This article or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of Defense Divas®.

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