In light of the coming holiday shopping season, The November Crime Prevention tip offers suggestions on how to safely utilize parking facilities. These same tips can also be used to increase your level of safety and security when utilizing parking facilities for work, travel, and recreational activities. The Public Safety Department at MCC hopes you find this information useful. Please make note of the contact phone numbers listed at the end of this document for the Security Departments of the Rochester area’s most frequently visited shopping centers. Prior to making your trip to the mall, make note of and program your cellular telephone with these contact numbers in order to quickly report any suspicious activity or to request a security escort to your vehicle.
How to Keep Yourself Safe When Using Parking Facilities
Make sure that all vehicle doors and the trunk or rear hatch are locked and all windows are closed completely. Leaving a door unlocked or a window open provides an opportunity to gain entry to your vehicle. Don’t fall into the “I’ll only be a few minutes” mentality because it only takes “a few minutes” to gain entry and steal your property.
Place all valuables out of sight. Even if you don't consider something valuable, lock it in the trunk. If you can't do that, then cover them with a blanket.
If you are parking all day at work or at the shopping center, return to your car when you can, during a break perhaps, and move it to a better location if possible, such as a closer parking space or one with better lighting. At the very least, check on your vehicle when you get the opportunity to do so.
If you are parking at night choose an area of the parking lot that is well lit. If you cannot see a fair distance and your vehicle cannot be seen from a fair distance, don't leave it there - park someplace else if possible.
Avoid parking close to bushes, trees or walls that could provide cover for someone hiding. Also avoid parking next to vans or other high-sided vehicles such as delivery or tractor trailer trucks. You want your car and yourself to be as visible as possible to security cameras, security staff, and others.
Look around before leaving your car. Are there suspicious looking people loitering in the area? If there are, park somewhere else and notify security or police and report what you have seen.
Get into the habit of entering and leaving your car as quickly as possible. Avoid opening the car door before you have gathered all that you need to take with you. Do not make yourself an “easy” target.
When returning to your car, look around for suspicious persons or activity as you approach. Check 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.
Get in the habit of setting your car alarm and any other security devices you have available to you when you leave your car. 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 car. The car thief will need that ticket to exit the parking lot with your vehicle.
Shop in pairs or groups and consider carpooling to work as an alternative to parking alone. Remember, there is increased safety in numbers.
Shopping Center Security Department Phone Numbers
Marketplace Mall: (585)475-1461 Escort Services Available
Greece Ridge Mall: (585)225-7072 Escort Services Available
Eastview Mall: (585)223-2930 Escort Services Available
MCC Public Safety Crime Prevention Team
November 1, 2008