Urban Safety: LED Flashlights and Other Tools to Keep you Safe in Parking Garages

parking garage lightsYou fumble with your keys as you walk through the shadowy parking garage. Images of ruthless carjackers, kidnappers and thieves run through your mind. Your eyes dart left and right as your brain jumps into “fight or flight” mode. You wish you had stuck one of those LED flashlights in your backpack – an emergency flashlight would sure help you feel safer! Once you reach your car, you furtively glance in the back seat or under the car to make sure no one is hiding there. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, all is well – you get into your car and drive away, letting out a sigh of relief as you leave the parking garage.

However, we all know this situation is rife with danger. Parking lots and garages are isolated, dark places where criminals know that their acts will likely go unnoticed. Indeed, one inmate on death row explained to security strategist J.R. Roberts that he targeted Wal-Mart parking lots, saying, “You just go there (Wal-Mart) and if you park, you can just watch people pull up. Like some people, they will put stuff in their trunk. And if you sit there and watch the people, you know which ones put stuff in their trunk or got stuff in their cars.” This criminal began his romance with Wal-Mart parking lots by stealing purses, returning packages he had stolen from trunks, and so forth. Eventually his crime record reached a crescendo when he kidnapped, raped and murdered a young mother, being so bold as to abduct her from a Wal-Mart parking lot in broad daylight. This criminal represents the two major crimes that are typically carried out in parking garages: car break-ins and assaults.

Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself from being the victim of a parking garage crime. For instance, keeping an emergency flashlight in your purse or pocket is a good place to start. Below, we list tools that can help keep you safe in parking garages, such as LED flashlights.

Choose Well-Lit, Clean Parking Garages with Obvious Security Systems.

Older, darker, dirtier parking garages are more attractive to criminals. For one thing, they often feature awkward, angled spaces where criminals can hide. Secondly, older parking garages typically lack camera security systems, meaning there won’t be any incriminating footage to convict perpetrators. To protect yourself, park in clean, modern parking garages with visible video cameras. If you must park in an older structure, be sure to carry LED flashlights and keep one at the ready as you walk to your car. A quick blast from your emergency flashlight can momentarily blind an attacker, providing enough time for you to make a quick getaway.

Don’t Leave Valuables or Spare Change in Plain Sight.

It doesn’t take much to attract car burglars. A car radio, a handful of change or a shopping bag from an exclusive outlet is often enough to garner attention. To prevent car break-ins, avoid leaving any attractive items in visible places. You may think your purse is safe in your locked luxury car, but a thief will gladly break your window to rifle through your handbag. Likewise, compact discs, GPS systems, music players, high-end LED flashlights and even designer sunglasses should be placed out of site when you leave your car. If your radio has a removable face, be sure to take it off and lock it up when you leave your car. The glove box is the perfect hiding spot for such attractive items. Overall, your goal is that someone walking past your automobile would see nothing but seats and floor mats – thieves would likely walk right by such a barren target.

Lock your Doors.

This piece of advice might seem obvious, but the truth is that many car criminals simply walk through garages, lifting each car latch to see if the door is locked. An unlocked door is an open invitation to thieves.

Carry an Emergency Flashlight.

This is one safety tip that’s worth reiterating. LED flashlights are better than incandescent torches, since LED bulbs emit brighter light and last longer on the same set of batteries. It’s also smart to carry a whistle so if you are attacked you’ll be able to make plenty of noise.

Pay Attention.

Avoid texting or being otherwise distracted as you walk to your car. Assailants are looking for just this type of behavior in their ideal victims.

Walk with a Friend.

Two heads are better than one, and two victims are harder to control than one. If at all possible, partner up with a buddy to walk back to your car.

[ photo by: Joelk75, on Flickr, via CC License ]

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