Tips for Staying Safe in Parking Lots and Garages this Holiday Season and Beyond

At Baptist, the safety and security of every team member, patient and visitor is a priority. Unfortunately, crime sometimes increases in parking areas everywhere around the holidays. Whether you’re parking for work or shopping in your community, you can help ensure your safety by being proactive now and throughout the new year. Report suspicious behavior to the parking lot attendant, security or the police, and review the following parking lot safety tips.

Practice These Safety Tips When Parking and Returning to Your Car

  • Stay aware of your immediate surroundings as you approach or leave your vehicle.
  • Plan for how you can get to a safe place and call for help if needed.
  • Walk with confidence. Keep your head up, not on your cell phone, and look around.
  • Look directly at people but do not stare at them.
  • Trust your instincts when you feel something is not right.
  • Park near your building in a highly visible and well-lit area.
  • Park near the parking attendant, if there is one, or near the stairs of the building.
  • Use the main building entrance. Avoid rear or secluded entrances and exits.
  • Keep your valuables, including purses and recent purchases, hidden out of sight. Always lock them in the trunk if you must leave them in the car.
  • Lock the doors and roll up your windows once you are in the vehicle.
  • Have these items ready: your keys to unlock the vehicle, your keys or card key to unlock building doors, and a whistle or other personal alarm.
  • As you approach your car, look around, inside, and even glance underneath for people who may be present. If you are suspicious, walk away. Go to a safe place and call for help.
  • Call security, if available at your location, for an escort to your vehicle.

Avoid Doing These Things When Parking and Returning to Your Car

  • Leaving your vehicle running and unoccupied or with unattended children or pets inside
  • Using more than one parking spot, which may anger another person
  • Parking next to large vans, trucks or other vehicles that can block your sight
  • Using a personal identification tag on your key ring, which can allow access to your car or house if your keys are lost or stolen
  • Approaching someone who is loitering near your vehicle. Walk to a safe place such as a lighted store, house or building. Call the police.
  • Digging in your purse or bag
  • Wearing headphones or engaging in a cell phone conversation
  • Carrying heavy briefcases or bags that may get in the way

Additional Tips for After Dark or in a High-Risk Neighborhood

  • Always try to walk with a friend, co-worker or security officer.
  • Give your escort a ride back to the main entrance, so they do not have to walk back alone. If you must walk alone, have a co-worker watch you from a window. Wave to them on the way to your vehicle. Wave even if no one is watching to give the illusion that someone is watching you.
  • Stay on well-lit streets, and in the center of the sidewalk.
  • Avoid hiding spots such as bushes, doorways, alleys and parked cars. Cross the road if necessary.
  • Carry a first aid kit, flashlight, jumper cables and other roadside emergency equipment.

Please remember: If you see something, say something. Thank you for helping to make Baptist safer.