You probably watch for moving vehicles as you walk through a parking lot. You may even be aware of the people milling about as well. You may assume that they are simply going about their days just as you are, but that may not always be the case.
Those who intend to do you harm will take the opportunity to do so in a variety of locations, including parking lots. Some criminals find parking lots to be the ideal place to strike since most people are too involved in what they are doing to pay attention to their surroundings. They also tend to choose parking lots that provide them cover and anonymity.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Property owners owe a duty to their invitees to keep them reasonably safe. This includes while you are in the parking lot. When you pull into a parking lot, you may be the type of person who assesses your surroundings as you search for a space. Do you see lights? Do you see security cameras? Is there security on site? If not, you may want to pay closer attention than you usually do.
Be alert and aware
Protecting yourself from an assault begins as soon as you pull into the parking lot. Most people choose the space closest to the store, and while that may help, it may work better to choose one under or near a light. Once you are done shopping, you may want to take the following precautions:
- Take out your keys before leaving the store. If you have a panic button, keep your thumb on it.
- Know your surroundings. If something doesn’t look or feel right, it may not be. You can always return to the store and ask for assistance.
- If another vehicle obstructs your view of your car, ask a store employee to accompany you to your vehicle.
- If you see anyone suspicious or you simply feel uneasy, go back into the store. Ask an employee to escort you to your car.
Criminals often target those who are looking at their phones, talking on their phones or are otherwise distracted as they enter or leave the store. The more aware and wary you are, the better your chances are of avoiding becoming the victim of an assault.
What if I am assaulted?
Even remaining alert and prepared does not always keep you from harm. An opportunistic criminal may take advantage of the fact that there are no lights, security cameras or roving patrols. If you believe that you may have avoided injury if not for the inadequate safety and security measures of the property owner, you may be able to file a premises liability claim seeking compensation for the damages you incurred in connection with the assault and your injuries.