With the holiday shopping season upon us, the December Crime Prevention tip offers suggestions on how to shop safely, especially when using parking facilities. The Public Safety Department hopes you find this information useful.
How to Keep Yourself Safe When Using Parking Facilities
Make sure all vehicle doors, the trunk or rear hatch are locked, and all windows are closed completely. Leaving a door unlocked or a window open, provides the opportunity for someone to gain entry to your vehicle. Don’t fall into the “I’ll only be a few minutes” mentality because it literally only takes “a few minutes” to gain entry to your vehicle and steal your property.
Place all valuables out of sight. If you can’t lock them away in the trunk then cover them with a blanket.
If you are parking all day at work or at a shopping center you may want to return to your vehicle and move it to a closer location with better lighting, when possible.
If you are parking at night choose an area of the parking lot that is well lit.
Avoid parking close to bushes, trees or walls that could provide cover for someone. Avoid parking next to vans or other high-sided vehicles such as delivery or tractor trailer trucks. You want your vehicle and yourself to be as visible as possible to security cameras, security staff, and others.
Look around before leaving your vehicle. Are there suspicious people loitering unnecessarily in the area? If there is, park somewhere else and notify security or police.
Get into the habit of entering and exiting your vehicle as quickly as possible. Avoid opening the doors before you have gathered together all the items you intend to take with you. Do not make yourself an “easy” target by being preoccupied or over-burdened with items.
When returning to your vehicle, look for suspicious persons or activity as you approach. Look in the back seat and cargo area of your vehicle before getting in and make sure no one has gained entry or is inside your vehicle.
Remember to set your car alarm and any other security devices (The Club, etc.) you have available to you when you leave your vehicle. Make use of alarm stickers or decals. If you don't have an alarm system, get one installed or purchase a steering wheel locking device.
When using valet parking, only leave the keys that you need to start the vehicle with the attendant. Never leave personal keys such as those for your home or workplace on the key ring and never give the attendant keys that are marked with a key code or have a home address tag attached to your key ring.
When parking in a lot that charges a fee always take the ticket with you, don’t leave it in the vehicle. A thief will need that ticket to exit the parking lot with your vehicle.
Whenever possible, shop with others and consider carpooling to work as an alternative to parking alone. Remember, there is always increased safety in numbers.
Mall Security Department Phone Numbers:
-- Marketplace Mall: 475-1461 (Escort Services Available)
-- Greece Ridge Mall: 225-7072 (Escort Services Available)
-- Eastview Mall: 223-2930 (Escort Services Available)