My fear of parking garages heightened when I was in high school, even before I could drive. I went to the movies and saw the movie called "The Call." The movie began with a young girl walking through a parking garage by herself, a man then started to back up and ended up hitting her. In a nutshell, after she was backed into "accidentally", the movie turned into something terrifying. Terrifying because how realistic it could really be.
It's been years since I watched "The Call", but I still remember the movie like I watched it yesterday. The movie had been completely pushed to the back of my brain until my school sent out an email describing that a female student had been approached in a parking garage on campus by a male who then attempted to touch her.
She ran away screaming and the man fled the scene. A sketch was published of the man and other incidents have been reported that are similar to the one recently. Whether you are alone or with a friend in a closed or open parking garage, make safety your first priority. Here are seven ways to help guarantee your safety in a parking garage:
1. While walking to your vehicle, be focused on getting to your vehicle without any distractions.
Avoid staring at your phone and especially having headphones in your ears. Predators tend to wait for people who are distracted and unaware of their surroundings.
2. Keep your vehicle locked until you get to the door.
There have been instances where individuals have unlocked their car before getting to it, giving a predator the chance to sneak into the car before the driver gets in.
3. After getting into your vehicle, lock the doors immediately and do not roll down any windows.
If you are sitting in your vehicle distracted with the doors or windows open, it gives an intruder the chance to get in while you are already in your vehicle. This can prevent any type of escape, especially if you are already locked into the seatbelt.
4. Have a free hand while walking to your car.
If your hands are full, you can be an easy target of attack due to the fact that you can not easily protect yourself. If there is a friend with you, have them escort you to your vehicle and help with your belongings.
5. Avoid elevators and staircases while parking your car and going to get back into your car.
Elevators are an easy target area because an individual can see that you are alone. Staircases are often dark and another common place where somebody can be followed without realizing it. Both of these locations are also isolated, making it easy for a predator to muffle any noises. The best place to walk in a parking garage is in the middle of the aisles and or ramps.
6. Carry pepper spray in your hand and make noise while walking.
Don't hesitate to set off your car alarm either--noises can scare off predators because they might think that you are not alone.
7. When picking a parking spot, do not park next to a van with sliding doors.
Especially vans with sliding doors and no windows in the back. A van with sliding doors makes it easier for a predator to grab you and make a fast getaway.