Weekly Crime Tip From The Desk of Wayne Ivey

By  //  September 20, 2013

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Parking Lot Safety

ABOVE VIDEO: Sheriff Wayne Ivey offers tips about how to keep our children safe.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — As we continue our series on Personal Safety lets start where most of us end up everyday of our lives, in a parking lot.

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Regardless, if it is at our place of work, the gym, the grocery store, the mall, the movie theater, or even when arriving or leaving church we find ourselves almost daily in a parking lot where violent criminals can easily approach us for the purpose of a robbery, theft, abduction, or assault. (Shutterstock image)

Regardless, if it is at our place of work, the gym, the grocery store, the mall, the movie theater, or even when arriving or leaving church we find ourselves almost daily in a parking lot where violent criminals can easily approach us for the purpose of a robbery, theft, abduction, or assault.

Throughout this series I ask that you keep in mind that violent criminals are opportunist that prey upon targets, that they perceive as weak or unaware of a potential attack.

For that reason it is extremely important that we appear as “Hard” targets and fully aware of our surroundings.

The following is a list of suggestions and techniques that can help keep you and your family safe when encountering a parking lot.

THE DANGER ZONE

Prior to exiting the safe surroundings of the store or building make sure that you visibly scan the parking lot and exterior of the location for anyone loitering or suspicious. Once you are outside you are in the danger zone and now must re-act to a potential violent encounter.

If someone is following you go back in the store or building where there is safety in numbers. You can always request that a member of management or security walk with you to your car as most stores are always willing to assist their customers.

 THE POTENTIAL ATTACKER

When exiting a location I always like to see our citizens talking on their cellular telephones so that they have immediate contact with a family member or associate that knows their location and can summons help if need be.

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Look for “People” in the parking lot and not just men. Today’s criminals often use a female to do the initial approach in an effort to lower your guard. Please make sure that at all times, even when putting packages in your car you are looking around the parking lot to make sure no one is walking upon on you. (Shutterstock image)

While I know this is often a sociably unacceptable concept, it signals to the potential attacker that you have immediate contact with someone who knows your whereabouts. It also keeps your cell phone close by should you need to dial 911.

A WATCHFUL EYE

As you travel to your vehicle keep a watchful eye for anyone in the parking lot that may be approaching you or has the ability to approach you.

Look for “People” in the parking lot and not just men. Today’s criminals often use a female to do the initial approach in an effort to lower your guard.

Please make sure that at all times, even when putting packages in your car you are looking around the parking lot to make sure no one is walking upon on you.

DRAW ATTENTION TO YOURSELF

Another great technique is to intentionally set off you car’s alarm to purposely draw attention to yourself. Remember, criminals want the easy target and not a target that is being watched by everyone.

Purposely setting off your car alarm will draw attention to you and just may be the reason criminals decide not to attack.

FACE THE VEHICLE IN QUESTION

The key to all of today’s prevention tools is to make sure that you are always aware of your surroundings and thinking about keeping you and your family safe from harm before you actually encounter a dangerous criminal. By using our mind to evaluate the area we are approaching for safety, we are already taking precautions to protect ourselves.

If you are parked next to a van or other vehicle that offers concealment for a potential perpetrator always consider that a safe approach to getting into your own vehicle is to face the vehicle in question while keeping your back toward your own vehicle so that you can watch for movement by a potential attacker. Again, this is a great time to use your remote to set off your own car alarm.

DON’T LINGER

Once you arrive at your vehicle, have stored your packages, and have entered your vehicle immediately lock your doors, put on your seat belt, and exit the parking lot.

Don’t linger in the parking lot because you need to balance your checkbook, check your cell phone for missed calls, or look at your make-up. Once in your vehicle get out of the area and always make sure that no one is following you.

KEEP CONSTANT VIGIL

And lastly, as you start to travel home make sure you keep constant vigil to make sure that no one is following you home, especially if you have just patronized an ATM or left a bank.

Today’s criminals will follow you to an isolated location and then target you as you are parking at your residence or approaching your residence.

Please always remember that if a violent criminal abducts you and takes you to an isolated area your chance for survival is extremely diminished. If a violent criminal confronts you Run, Hide, or Fight to make sure you are not harmed!!

The key to all of today’s prevention tools is to make sure that you are always aware of your surroundings and thinking about keeping you and your family safe from harm before you actually encounter a dangerous criminal. By using our mind to evaluate the area we are approaching for safety, we are already taking precautions to protect ourselves.

Please always remember that if a violent criminal abducts you and takes you to an isolated area your chance for survival is extremely diminished. If a violent criminal confronts you Run, Hide, or Fight to make sure you are not harmed!!

As always please share our Crime Prevention Tips with your family, friends, co-workers, and associates so that we can all be partners in keeping our community safe.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey has been a law enforcement officer for over three decades. Sheriff Ivey is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and has a Bachelor’s Degree from Daytona State College in Management and Supervision. Sheriff Ivey’s background in law enforcement is inclusive of Management, Criminal Investigations, Narcotics, Patrol Services, Public Integrity Investigations, and Corrections.

Sheriff Wayne Ivey

Prior to being elected in 2012, Sheriff Ivey served the citizens of the State of Florida as a Resident Agent in Charge for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. As a member of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Sheriff Ivey developed and created the country’s first ever statewide Task Force on Identity Theft. That same year the Task Force was named one of the top five most innovative programs in the country by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and investigated approximately 44 million dollars in fraud cases. Additionally, as a member of FDLE, Sheriff Ivey created the Child Abduction Response Team (C.A.R.T) that re-defined the way Child Abduction cases are conducted throughout the country today. The program was later selected as the most innovative program in the country by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and is now used as a nationwide model in the response and investigation of child abductions.

Sheriff Ivey has testified before the United States Congress on law enforcement related matters and has extensive experience in the area of Public Integrity Investigations. Sheriff Ivey was honored as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Special Agent of the Year (1996) and was also recognized by the Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for his Outstanding Contributions to Criminal Justice. In August of 2011 Sheriff Ivey was honored by the National Organization of Victims Advocacy for his work at the national level as an advocate of victim’s rights and protection.

Sheriff Ivey speaks regularly on topics such as Identity Theft, Crime in America, Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence, and Self Defense through Mental Preparedness. Sheriff Ivey firmly believes that Crime Prevention and Education are vital to reduce our crime rate and protect our community.


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