Parking Lot Crimes During the Holidays

This weekend and early next week, a lot of people will be making the final rush, out shopping for Christmas presents.

It’s typically a time that criminals and thieves like to take advantage of.

There is an increase in crimes such as purse snatching, but the most common crimes involve burglaries of vehicles, gifts, etc.

Two of the biggest mistakes people make are:

  • Leaving items inside their car while shopping.
  • Leaving keys inside their car – even in the ignition!

You shouldn’t leave anything inside your car in plain view, no matter how inexpensive or insignificant it may be.

Lock everything in the trunkDon’t leave anything on the car seat or even on the floor, because thieves might peek inside and think it’s something valuable.

There are many areas where thieves are going through parking lots and smashing lots of car windows – “smash and grab” burglaries. Smashing car windows doesn’t make a lot of noise, and thieves have no problem stealing a CD you left on the seat that cost only $15, and leaving you with hundreds of dollars in car repair costs.

smashed-rear-windshield-192x221

Smashed front and rear windshields especially can be very expensive to repair/replace.

Also, police will tell you that there are a lot of car burglaries due to people leaving keys in their car. And more people than you think leave their engine running while going into a store.

More parking lot security tips for the Christmas holidays:

  • Try to park in well lighted areas.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. As you are arriving into a parking lot, visually scan the area to look for anything suspicious, people lurking around, etc.
  • Keep wallets, purses and cell phones out of sight if possible.
  • Have your keys ready before you approach your vehicle.
  • If you are being followed, head for a crowded place.
  • Always check your car before getting in, to make sure that no one is hiding inside.
  • If parking in a lot where you leave a key with a parking attendant, leave only the ignition key. In all other cases, lock your car.
  • Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car.
  • Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag and parcels. Do not put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door.
  • When approaching and leaving your vehicle be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.
  • Ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location.
  • Consider carrying a non-lethal self-defense product such as pepper spray.

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