Parking Lot Safety Tips

You’re not done with your holiday shopping when you swipe your credit card at the cash register. You’ve often got to navigate a potentially treacherous parking lot and get the goods home. The personal finance blog Finance for a Freelance Life offers some common yet helpful tips on how to avoid parking lot robbers.

One piece of advice is not to leave your bags visible to passers by:

2. Don’t Leave Visible Bags in the Car

That’s a good tip any time you’re shopping, but it’s especially important during the holiday season. Smash and grab is a lot easier than opening the trunk and hoping there’s something in it. You make window-shopping a lot easier by leaving visible bags and packages in the car. (Covering them with a blanket isn’t a great idea, though it may make them slightly less attractive.)

If you have other tips on how to stay un-robbed, leave it in the comments.

Holiday Shoppers – Beware Gift Theft [Finance for a Freelance Life]

Comments

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  1. ConsumerWolf says:

    Let me summarize this article to save people time: Don’t be a clueless idiot.

  2. ConsumerWolf says:

    Let me summarize this article to save people time: Don’t be a clueless idiot.

  3. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Leave an angry rottweiler in the vehicle. Just make sure you crack the windows :)

    If you have a GPS unit, and you’ve got one of those really heavy sandbag weights, do not leave it on your dash. That’s just going to scream “rob me!” and I figure most people get those so they won’t have to put suction cups on their windshield interior, either because thtey don’t want the little suction cup marks or they don’t want to get robbed. So why would you keep any indication you have a GPS in the car? Take down the stupid sandbag weight.

    Don’t leave cables lying around. Everyone knows you have an iPod if you leave that ubiquitous white cord lying around.

    If you live anywhere in which you have a parking pass, if you can take that down, take it down. Don’t let people figure out where you live or get any personal information from stuff you leave out in the open in your vehicle.

    • pop top says:

      What is a sandbag weight and how would you use it for your GPS unit?

    • burnedout says:

      Pecan, I’m gonna second that – don’t leave ANYTHING that IDs you on your front seat. My first year teaching I had a campus police officer come to my office to tell me a lot of information about myself (home address, bank acct, salary, aaahh!!) — turns out, that morning I deposited my paycheck on the way to work and left the check stub and deposit receipt sitting face up on the passenger’s seat. I got a lecture on protecting myself and not being stupid (he said someone could see that, and either rip off my ID or just wait by my car for a forced ride to my ATM), then he walked me to my car to fix it (and again after class that night in case someone saw the receipt before he did). He also pointed out the safest spots in the parking deck, which I still make a point to snag when available. I never felt so dumb in life!!

      • Outrun1986 says:

        At least shove it in the glove box if you can and make sure no one is watching when you do that. Leaving a GPS hooked up is just asking to be robbed and sadly I have seen people leaving GPS units in their cars. I live in a very high crime area where they will steal a CD player out of your car if they can. I also think your supposed to wipe the mark that the suction cup mount leaves from your GPS unit, the thieves look for that mount, they will then know your GPS unit is shoved in the glove box and try to break in, even if you really took the unit with you. You can’t leave any signs or traces of any electronics in your car at least around here, that goes for the seat mounted LCD screens as well, though I haven’t seen too many of those around here.

        Also, don’t put the packages in the trunk then go back into the mall, if you absolutely have to do that then at least move to another area of the parking lot. You might want to break it up into 2 trips if your buying more than you can carry and if its possible to do that.

    • lannister80 says:

      either because thtey don’t want the little suction cup marks or they don’t want to get robbed.
      *************
      Maybe they just don’t like having their GPS attached to their windshield when in use?

    • WagTheDog says:

      I know a woman who leaves her purse and keys in the car with open car windows. She also has a bumper sticker: “The keys are on the front seat. Next to my Rottweiler.” He’s a friendly guy. Just don’t touch the Mercedes.

  4. moore850 says:

    Or, cover them with fast food wrappers and cups. Even the most hardcore criminals have the human trait of being afraid of getting sick from moldy food, bacteria, etc.

  5. leprofie says:

    Around here, thieves also will grab purses and gifts as people carry them to the car. Maintain situational awareness, and avoid people, especially people in small groups when carrying packages to the car. Move to the next row if people are around. Assume people are out to rob you.

    • dilbert69 says:

      Where do you live? I don’t assume people are out to rob me, and I’ve never been robbed, even once, in 44 years of urban living. Your philosophy sounds like a path to unhappiness to me.

      • SugarMag says:

        Really? We have ppl here murdered in parking lots of malls during xmas shopping time.
        I’m more scared of being bodily assaulted than robbed though.
        Many parking garages around here are a really good place to get mugged – if I were a mugger I’d have so much opportunity I wouldnt know what to do with myself!

        I always carry my keys and wallet on my person just in case.

        I grew up in a high crime city. Perhaps people who grow up in “safe” places dont need to think about these things?

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I don’t know. I live in the DC area and it’s pretty safe but there are certain malls I don’t go to because of the propensity for crime and shady figures.

        • Red Cat Linux says:

          I grew up in Brooklyn, in one of the dodgier areas. I’ve not lived there in some 15 years and I’ve only just recently started to smile and say no thanks to store clerks who ask “Can I help you find anything?”

          For years I only responded with a blank GTF-away-from-me stare. Where I grew up, the only time storekeepers and clerks asked you that was so they could follow you around the store since you were automatically assumed to be a shoplifter.

          When I left NYC, I went to Adams Morgan, DC, and it wasn’t too much better. When I made it out to the burbs of DC/B’more I relaxed considerably. It just took a while.

          I’ve only carried a purse for the last 6 years. The neighborhood of my youth defined a purse as something that was either stolen easily, or if carried across your shoulder to your hip, could be used as a handle to drag you somewhere you didn’t want to go.

          I had full operational awareness, as someone called it earlier in this thread, everywhere I went, and shook my head sadly at friends who had a perpetual deer in the headlights look on their faces while on the subway.

          sarcasm level=”mild”/ Strangely, I don’t miss this. /sarcasm

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      …Mom?! Is that you?

      I’m a former New Yorker, long removed from the city. My mother is horrified that my front door is unlocked while I’m home, the windows facing the woods have curtains that can’t be drawn, and my car doesn’t look sterile as if it’s not actually owned by somebody.

      While I wouldn’t leave my purse, cell, GPS, and anything other than pet food and groceries on the seats, I also don’t assume that everyone is going to rob me.

      I guess it depends where you live, but I no longer live at Defcon 1.

  6. nofelix says:

    Sv mn b byng chpr stff! Gt fttr b dng xrcs nd tng hlthl! nhnc yr CV b gttng qlfctn! Wrt blg b slmmng yr plms nt th kybrd nd clckng ‘Pblsh.

  7. ander_bobo says:

    Once I left visible change in my cupholder, and some crazy person threw a rock thru my window to steal the CHANGE in my cupholder….. they also ransacked my CDs but didnt’ steal anything which was actually a bit more offensive to me than throwing a rock thru my passenger window.

    So yeah, just don’t leave anything in view.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Someone did this to us once on our street, they got into our car but did not take anything. You would think if your going in there you would at least take something for the trouble, but they did not.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      someone once stole the change out of the console in my dad’s car and left several thousand dollars worth of video production equipment in the back that was covered by old nasty looking blankets – intentionally. he lost about $1.50 in change and the company’s car insurance covered the broken window.
      we all had a good laugh even though it’s actually a little scary

  8. LunaMakesThings says:

    My old car was messy enough that I could hide my packages in the trash. Never had a break in!

  9. chiieddy says:

    People are also getting assaulted (I live in Saugus, MA which has a huge shopping strip) getting into their cars if they have visibly expensive items. Bring your own bags so you’re not walking out of the mall with items obviously marked from stores with electronics or items that people might want. Slip the store bag into your bag.

    If it’s dark out, which it gets earlier and earlier this time of year, and you feel uncomfortable about a parking lot, do not hesitate to ask mall security to walk you to your vehicle.

    Beware of parking lot rage. Not about theft, but personal safety here. I find I get into the mall faster and with less drama by simply parking slightly further away where there are plenty of spaces and walking a little further. It’s not worth fighting over 100 ft for a parking space.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      That can get complicated. A lot of stores and mall security will find it suspicious if you are putting packages in your own bags. Don’t even think about carrying bags inside from stores that aren’t in the mall – when I worked retail, that was one of the first things we looked for. If you walk in with a JC Penney bag and we don’t have a JC Penney in the mall, we’re going to watch you like a hawk.

      • EdnaLegume says:

        not complicated. putting a store bag into my own fabric (and environmentally conscious) bag is definitely not out of the ordinary these days. The number of stores selling them is growing too. Turn it inside out if you want to hide the store logo.

        No different then sliding my store package into my purse. I carry fabric bags rolled up into my purse or simply carry one with the rest in it slung on my shoulder in lieu of a purse.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          But really, you’re doing the same thing. You’re leaving with packages from the mall. Thieves probably aren’t nearly as discerning as you think. Some stores probably wouldn’t let you leave without a store bag, which is kind of annoying if it’s small enough to put in a purse. But I wouldn’t walk around with a fabric bag if I thought it would deter thieves – I’m still walking around with bags, they just don’t know which stores they are from. They can just as easily take them, hope I paid in cash, and return the items.

          • AnthonyC says:

            “Some stores probably wouldn’t let you leave without a store bag, which is kind of annoying if it’s small enough to put in a purse.”

            I know we had that post about this the other day, but there is a simple solution. After you’ve paid and the store hands you your items in the store’s bag, keep stay right where you are, move the items (and receipt) into your own bag, and leave the store’s bag on the counter. At that point the items (and the bag) are your property, and the store has no right to do anything about it. The most they can say is that you’re littering by leaving the bag there.

            Reusable bags are everywhere these days. I wouldn’t put stuff in them while you’re shopping, but after making a purchase it is no different than going to multiple stores and just putting everything in the biggest bag.

          • EdnaLegume says:

            I still take the store bag, just slip the entire thing in my own bag. there’s really no easy way to make a purchase in a store and get it to your car without using a magic invisibility cloak. I seem to be fresh out so I do what I can. If you’re that worried about thieves getting you at the mall, shop online.

      • 339point4 says:

        That’s great! While you’re watching me like a hawk, please make sure I don’t get assaulted on the way to my car. Win win.

    • Syrenia says:

      If you are shopping with a friend, one person should wait just inside the store or mall entrance with the packages while the other brings the car around. The entrances typically have cameras on them.

  10. Coles_Law says:

    I make my own parking lots at home…

  11. ElizabethD says:

    That does it. I’m only shopping online.

  12. headhot says:

    I’m not so worry about theft as I am moms trying to park a giant SUV as close to the entrance as possible with one hand while talking on a cell phone.

    Then I’m worried about the guy behind her in a giant SUV who’s pissed cause shes blocking the lane while she takes 20 minutes to do it.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      My wife was leaving the local outlet mall on Saturday, and she was almost blocked in by an idiot who parked his car directly behind hers. Note that he was not parked in a space; he was in the lane between spaces. Fortunately, she caught him as he was exiting his vehicle, and he moved with profuse apologies. Still, how can you not see that you’re parking like a moron? Is having your car towed and most likely keyed worth the shorter distance?

  13. Hogan1 says:

    Also don’t try to get into a parking space fight with a crazy armed with an icepick …

    http://www.news-leader.com/article/20091222/NEWS01/912220363/1007/news01/18-year-old-Springfield-woman-charged-in-alleged-ice-pick-assault

  14. RandomHookup says:

    Here’s a tip for you…it’s okay to walk a few feet more. You need the exercise and getting a spot really close to the door isn’t worth 1/2 hour of driving around stalking shoppers carrying bags to their cars. Shoppers get creeped out when you do that and sometimes aren’t even leaving the parking lot.

    Also, learn to park between the frigging lines. It ain’t that hard.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Here’s a tip for you…it’s okay to walk a few feet more. You need the exercise…

      Except this isn’t a thread for weight loss tips, it’s a thread for safety tips. Parking farther away may be good for getting in a bit more physical activity but parking farther back where there’s no light or people around is a horrible idea as far as safety is concerned.

      • QuantumRiff says:

        Unless your hoping your not the first one robbed, and you can lure the suckers out there with you, where it is dark, and then rob them!

      • RandomHookup says:

        And who said the light is bad further away? Too many drivers fighting for the spots upfront leads to a dangerous parking lot.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      I purposefully walk around parking lots with my keys out, trying to get cars to follow me to my supposed space. The rage on their faces as I cross to the other side of a parking lane just warms my heart.

    • thetroubleis says:

      Or, someone could have an invisible disability and really doesn’t need your helpful tips.

      • pop top says:

        If they have a disability then they need to get a handicapped sticker or plate. RH wasn’t talking about handicapped people anyone. Thanks for the pointless raging though.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        eh, my MS keeps me from walking very far and i still prefer to park further away and suck up the pain and fatigue than deal with the stress of circling the parking lot like a vulture and getting into an argument with someone who thinks i ‘stole their space’

    • webweazel says:

      As I always said, they go and drive around the parking lot for 1/2 hour looking for the closest possible parking spot, then walk 6 miles inside the mall. Duh.

  15. MaelstromRider says:

    1. Watch for people following you. If you think somone is following you as you walk to your car, cut across a lane in the parking lot like you can’t find your car. Stop and look around, and see if the person continues to stay with you or just keeps on going elsewhere. If you’re concerned, go back into the store.

    2. Don’t stay at the store until it closes, because then you have no refuge if there’s danger in the parking lot.

    3. Keep your keys in your hand and, if your remote has a panic button, your finger on that button. Digging around for keys in a purse or pockets while holding packages outside your car is like wearing a sign that says, “Rob me!”

    4. Don’t mess around when you get in your car. Just get in and leave.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Along with #4, I’d say as soon as you get inside your car, lock the doors. Most would-be hijackers want to get your vehicle without you in it, and without much hassle. They don’t want to break windows or use a knife or a gun or what have you. They just want the car. Lock your doors so no one can open them and get inside, or take things.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        Also along with number 4, I’d add that you shouldn’t unlock your car until you are ready to step out.

        I absolutely hate those cars whose doors automatically unlock when you put it in park. Who thought that was a good idea? Yes, that’s exactly what you need: for *every* door to unlock itself the second you put it in park.

        (I’m guessing there’s probably a way to turn that off but these were rental cars and those don’t come with the manuals.)

        • kalaratri says:

          Seriously, who thought that was a good idea. And Toyota made it completely unintuitive to turn off. It required us to play around with the inside light switch and hold some button or another. I never would have figured it out if the manual wasn’t in the glove compartment box.

          • JonBoy470 says:

            They do it that way for two reasons:

            1. The “auto lock/unlock” feature is viewed as a passive safety feature, as it increases the rate at which cars so equipped are driven with the doors locked. Locked doors are less likely to fly open in a crash, and as a bonus act as a defense against car-jacking. Recognizing that some owners dislike these features, they make it possible to disable them. They intentionally make it complicated/unintuitive to practically eliminate the possibility of the feature being unintentionally disabled. It’s a design choice intentionally made to limit liability. A lawsuit still has to be defended, or settled, even if it is stupid and/or frivolous. That brings us to…

            2. A dedicated user interface (control panel) to disable the “nanny” features increases the manufacturing, and thus purchase cost, for a function that will be used at most once, and in many cases not at all, by the owner of the car. The feature might be used as many as half a dozen times in the entire life of the car, depending on how many owners it goes through and what their “nanny” preference is. Would you want to pay an extra $50 just to have some button or menu for this? Didn’t think so…

            • Rectilinear Propagation says:

              1) That only explains the reasoning behind auto-lock. The car I own now auto locks once I hit a certain speed. But it doesn’t auto-unlock. You don’t have to have one if you have the other and I just don’t see how unlocking all the car doors makes anyone safer.

              • SpinnyD says:

                it probably does auto unlock, it’s probably just not set for it. Toyotas have 4 settings for their systems, do nothing, lock out of park, lock out of park/ unlock in park, unlock in park. you just have to look up the procedure in your manual. or just google it, someone has posted it online somewhere.

              • JonBoy470 says:

                Allow me to clarify #1. Once the doors locking is made into a passive feature, you get to the point of not thinking about locking the doors anymore. I’ve owned two cars (A 2 door Ford Focus followed by a Dodge Grand Caravan) that auto-lock (but don’t auto unlock). With the Ford I got to the point that I never thought about the door locks while I was in the car. The doors locked as I drove away, and, in typical Ford fashion, the doors opened from the inside while locked.

                On my Caravan, the front doors can be opened while locked, but the rear doors cannot. Net result: I get out of the car no problem, but my kids, who are still little, can’t open their doors until I hit the unlock button. In that case, the doors unlocking automatically is just more convenient.

                My van

      • pop top says:

        Something I do if I’m in a weird place or out at night is get in, lock the doors, start the car and put it into drive/reverse and then do whatever I want while my foot’s on the brake. That way if someone is actually trying to get into the car or something, I can just hit the gas and go, instead of fumbling for my keys or something.

    • webweazel says:

      Here’s one I had heard years ago.

      Keep in mind that car windows are reflective and you can scan what is happening around you and behind you as you move near YOUR car or ANYONE ELSE’S. Keep an eye on the windows as you unlock your car.

  16. Blueskylaw says:

    Covering your sleeping pitbull with a blanket should be all the “security” you need.

    • cash_da_pibble says:

      Those get stolen too, you know.
      Pit Bulls are the kind of dogs that will shower the thief in kisses- they make TERRIBLE guard dogs.

    • webweazel says:

      Except for many, many moons ago when my aunt had her German shepherd taken from her car in a parking lot.

  17. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    There might be some justification for leaving your doors UNLOCKED. Let me explain…

    If a thief wants to get into your car, they are going to get in. At least save yourself a smashed window by letting them in easy.

    Of course, the (major) downside of this is that you really can’t leave anything in the car – and I mean ANYTHING. People will take your car registration if its there.

    • StatusfriedCrustomer says:

      My uncle had his car broken into constantly (in NYC). To avoid having smashed windows and lock mechanisms destroyed, he would leave the car UNLOCKED but nothing of value in the car. You know what? Thieves STILL smashed the windows and destroyed the lock mechanisms! They didn’t even realize it was unlocked to begin with.

      • pop top says:

        Yeah. I’ve heard of people doing that in bad neighborhoods, so people start messing with their ignition, popping their hood and disconnecting their battery, etc.

    • pop top says:

      If your car looks empty, why would anyone want to get into it? Most people want to steal something quickly– get in, get out. They don’t want to do anything to attract attention, like smash windows, pick locks, etc. (obviously if you have something REALLY nice out in the open, they might risk it).

    • Syrenia says:

      I drive a convertible, so I try to never lock it. Nothing in the front except $2 in quarters for parking meters, whatever CD is in the player, two baseball caps, and a sweatshirt. Little else in the trunk, which is locked.

      RE broken windows: I also try not to have the top or windows up.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      eh, i had someone smash out the window to get into my unlocked car once. 84 celica, parked on the street outside the club and i hated to carry my keys. it had nothing of value and was near impossible to start WITH a key so i didn’t worry. homeless guy who told the undercover cop who saw/caught him that he wanted the box of granola bars on the seat.
      he got food out of it. and a place to live for 165 days. and probably medical care too. it didn’t upset me much but it was a pain cleaning up the blood he shed from cutting his hand on the glass

  18. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    If possible, arrive and leave with a group of people. Thieves are less likely to attack a group.

  19. jesusofcool says:

    Brother had his Ipod jacked after leaving the windows open a crack near a park where kids hang out.
    Best tip is don’t leave your car in a parking lot past the hour when the businesses/stores in the area are open. It’s a dead giveaway that you’re not around. A friend of mine left his car in a parking lot in Bridgeport, CT (really crappy car too!) when we met up. We drove back to the parking lot around 1 am to pick up the car, and the windows had been smashed for the stereo. Thank god they were the worst thieves ever though. Couldn’t figure out how to hotwire the car or take the stereo out, so they took the stereo faceplate. Left all the CDs – classic rock must not be their taste! I always lock my stereo faceplate and any valuables in my glove compartment now when I’m parked in a parking lot.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I take my faceplate off and take it into the house with me, but the one time I didn’t I also accidentally left the car unlocked. My CDs got taken and the faceplate was off and in the backseat. They couldn’t get the stereo out and I think might have been interrupted, threw it and ran.

      They didn’t get very much because all the CDs in my car are copies, just in case this very thing happens. I hope they enjoyed the Sweeney Todd and Lord of the Rings soundtracks. :P

  20. Extractor says:

    Number 1 should be Dont place your valuables in your trunk when you are at the mall. Before leaving from one destination to another place in trunk. Thieves are watching in those parking lots. If Im leaving work and stopping somewhere on the way home, the notebook and everything else of importance is placed in the trunk before I leave the office.

  21. dg says:

    Park in the rear area of the parking lot – away from other cars, under a light pole if possible. You avoid door dings, get in/out quicker, and crooks don’t have the cover of other vehicles to futz with your vehicle.

    If you have tinted windows in the back, store stuff back there. Toss a blanket over it.

    Have your keys ready before leaving the store. Keep aware of your surroundings. If you see someone following you, go back in the store. Wait a while. Try again. If they do it a 2nd time, call the cops.

    Once you get in the store, toss your crap in, get in the car, lock the door once you’re in, THEN start the car.

    Anyone wants to know the time when you’re in the car, or knocks on the window – tell them you can’t help them. Start the car, and DRIVE AWAY – screw ‘em. Don’t be nice, they’re going to have to ask someone who works at the mall or a cop or whatever for help – you’re not a Civil Servant – don’t stick your neck out.

    Look at your vehicle’s wheels as you approach it – anything jammed under the wheels that’s designed to blow the tire? Giving you a flat, then you get out and get jacked. If you see that stuff (nails, bottle, etc) – walk in the opposite direction – call the cops.

    Someone’s stealing the vehicle as you approach – let them have it. You’re insured. No need to get killed over it. Call the cops. File a report. Take a cab home.

    No fighting over parking spaces – it’s all bullshit anyway. Just find ANY spot and hoof it. If there’s no spots, just park anywhere besides a handicapped spot, or fire lane. I’ve been known to pull up on the grass of a median in the middle of a parking lot. The lot’s full – guards are busy, just park it and get it done.

    Stay off the phone when you’re in the parking lot – distractions get you killed or beaten up.

    Carry Mace/OC gas. Someone harasses you – Mace first, ask questions later.

    If you have a concealed carry permit – make sure your weapon is accessible. Follow your training. Use it DEFENSIVELY only. Get the scumbag to leave, then as you keep an eye on the perp – leave the area.

    Happy Holidays…

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Parking in the rear of the parking lot negates a lot of the other safety tips you give. I would suggest that a person park near other cars instead of heading to the back, where it’s more likely to be empty.

      If someone is following to steal your car, you might delay them from stealing your car because it is farther away, but they’ll still want to steal it, especially if you don’t notice someone is following. After all, it might be someone who is also heading to their car in the back of the parking lot.

      And carrying mace, while a good idea, and a gun (not a good idea) are defensive/offensive maneuvers. I’d rather give safety tips to avoid any kind of confrontation entirely. Tips like parking near lighted areas, parking near exits so you can leave and go back into the mall or store if you sense something is wrong.

      And I always have a cell phone out when I’m walking alone. I have it out, and if I’m not talking to someone (having told them beforehand that I’m walking to my car, and want someone to be on the line while I do it), I’ve got my finger prepared to hit the dial button in case I do think something is wrong. You’re not distracted on the cell phone if you have a specific reason to call someone while you walk.

    • pop top says:

      “If you have a concealed carry permit – make sure your weapon is accessible. Follow your training. Use it DEFENSIVELY only. Get the scumbag to leave, then as you keep an eye on the perp – leave the area.”

      You don’t get someone to leave with a gun. You ONLY pull it out as a last resort, not as a cheap scare. Brandishing a gun about won’t keep you safe.

  22. kalaratri says:

    If you have a garage door opener, don’t leave it on your visor, especially if you have identifying information in the car (registration or whatever with an address on it.) Not only can a thief enter your garage and potentially your house depending on the security of your doors, but the stupid thing becomes a projectile missile in a car crash.

  23. [DFX] Deimos says:

    Carry a gun?

  24. TheGreySpectre says:

    My new car I always lock.

    My old car, a 1983 toyota tercel I always left unlocked with nothing in it and was never really concerned as it did not even have a radio. The only thing that ever came of it was one day I came back from class to find a note on my window that said “your lights were on but your car was unlocked so I turned them off. I hope your car starts.”

  25. Mom2Talavera says:

    If your child attends a local private school…. And you have one of those
    car clings saying so…. Remove it . Everyone knows what the most $$$ schools are in the area.

  26. Swifty says:

    My advice for dealing with massive crowds in mall parking lots at Christmas?

    Park by Sears. Nobody goes to Sears.

  27. Outrun1986 says:

    I think you have to figure out what kind of crimes go on in your area, in some places its probably a bad idea to park far away but if its a lighted lot you may want to park far away to avoid damage to the car. Some places you might want to park in the more populated area of the mall for safety and others you may want to move farther away. Every area is going to be different. For general tips just use common sense and the most important is don’t put the packages in the trunk and then go back in the mall while staying in the same space. This is one I see a lot here. If you absolutely have to do this move the car first, but its really better if you try to break it up into 2 visits, or have an extra person to help carry bags. Its pretty high risk around here if your doing all your shopping on Xmas eve and you make a few trips to the car, especially with high dollar items.

    Don’t carry your iPod in the mall, your asking for it if you do that. If you really want to carry your iPod make sure your not using white headphones. I am paranoid about this so I don’t even own any white headphones (I don’t own an iPod either, but if its buried in the pocket and your wearing white headphones you become the target). Ipod theft is also a problem where I live, which is another reason I don’t own one, if I had one I would just be thinking that people would steal it all the time, I would only end up using it in the house and trying to use it in the way it was intended would cause me unecessary stress.. I do walk around with a generic MP3 player but even when I do that I am very well aware of my surroundings. Cell phones can be tracked iPods cannot be, so thieves will go for the iPod user over the cell phone user.

  28. BytheSea says:

    Leave jumper cables on your back seat.

    Get your keys out before you leave the store. If you think someone suspicious has been giving you undue attention in the store, ask a mall cop to escort you to your car. It’s their job.

    Check your back seat before you get in for anyone hiding back there.

    If anyone follows you or hassles you, DO NOT try to save your shit. Drop your bags and your purse and run back to the store. Make a lot of noise.