Next time, you may want to be aware, there are numerous incidents of small criminal groups working Walmart & other "shopping" center lots. They are mostly looking to snatch something from your cart or purse. Some are looking to do a quick strong arm robbery. As you are bent over trying, they'll sneak up behind you with a weapon to steal your wallet. (It happens daily all around this country!)
Here's a few things I recommend:
• First: Be aware you can be a victim ANY time of the day or night!
• Second: Whenever you go to "public" places your SA should increase as soon as you pull into the parking & not decrease until you are safely in your vehicle & driving away.
Most people are to interested in finding a good parking spot as soon as they pull into a parking lot. But, you need to take time to look around for vehicles on the "outer" perimeter. A lot of times this is where the BGs will sit & observe. (They're hunting for potential victims.)
• Next: Look at the entrances/exits. (Is anyone just hanging around?)
• Now: If you don't see anything that seems "nefarious" begin looking for a parking spot.
The first thing you need to look for is the spot closest to the "exit" as possible. (Even if it means you need to drive around the lot two or three times, find a "close-up" is important!)
Another thing to look for is a "pull through" spot; or a spot that you can easily back into. (This is not always possible because of the "traffic" lanes. But, if you can find a spot where it's safe to back your vehicle into & you can leave the pot without facing opposing traffic, I recommend doing so.)
Once in the spot, take a little time to look around before getting out of your vehicle. (Be sure to look in ALL your mirrors, then check your blind spots.)
When you get out look around again. (This will give you some idea where a potential attack could come from when you return to your car.)
When you're walking into the store look around some more.
- Does anyone seem to be hanging around or watching you more than they should?
- Do you see any vehicles around the perimeter or in front of the store that have people inside them but, don't seem to be "coming" or "going"? (If so, make a mental note & look for them on your way out)
Now we move to shopping-
If you're just going to be grabbing one "SMALL" item you really don't need a cart. However, if you plan on buying anymore I suggest getting a cart; AND keeping possession of that cart. (At the very least until you're close enogh back to you vehicle to realize there are no possible threats.)
If you are using a cart, keep the cart with you. (A cart does make a good shield; and can also make a good battering ram weapon.)
While you shop continue to look around for people who seem to be wondering around; but, not really shopping.
At check out begin looking for people that just seem to hanging around; but don't seem to waiting on anyone or anything in particular.
Now let's exit the store-
Take your time approaching the exit. (If you've had your SA up since your arrival you should notice if anyone seems to be "shadowing" you.)
As you reach the doorway, STOP to take the time to look all around again. (Remember; what you observed coming in?)
• Is anyone hanging around the exits?
• Any suspicious vehicles?
If possible do NOT walk straight towards your vehicle. Instead start up another isle. Then, if you think someone may be following you can stop like you're looking for your vehicle to see if the person will pass you up & continue on. You will also have the choice to change direction & cut through. (This ability can help you decide if you are indeed being followed.)
If you do suspect you're being sized up for victimization AND you took the time to find a good spot (close to the "EXIT") to park, you should be able to turn around & make your way back inside the store.
If you aren't being followed be sure to look through car windows & between cars as you walk to your vehicle. Please, don't forget to observe what is going on on the adjacent parking isles. ( Remember! A BG could run up from another isle. So, be sure to look toward the next isle over & the next isle behind!)
If there is a large van & SUV parked next to your car, take extra time to look through the windows for any potential BGs hiding inside!
Now let's load our groceries & go home-
Once you've made it safely to you car, please do not let your SA down just yet. (This is where bad things usually happen.)
As you approach you car- (Hopefully, you are backed into the space. But, if not don't sweat it just adapt to your situation.)
Look into your car windshield for any movement.
Keeping your cart ahead of you as you walk beside your vehicle, look through the "front" side window, the the "back" side window. (Keeping the cart in front of you will allow you to "block" any attempt of a BG getting to you should one be hiding in your car.)
• Note: Whenever possible, load your items in your car from the "drivers" side.
Once you see everything is all clear, unlock & "OPEN" your drivers door. (This helps place a barrier between you and a BG should one come around the front of your car.)
• Next; with the cart still ahead of you walk toward the back of your car.
If you're going to place groceries in the backseat, walk just far enough to give you enough room to open the backdoor & load your groceries. If, you are using your trunk or rear compartment, keep your drivers door open, walk behind your vehicle with the cart in front of you so it doesn't "block" your path to the safety of your car. (This will also help you "block" another avenue of attack.)
• Now, quickly load everything in your car. But, don't forget to look around every second or two.
Once everything is loaded in your car, close your trunk, pull your cart behind you as you make your way back to the drivers door. Close the drivers & lock it if you have to walk very far to the cart return. Once back to your car, get in and IMMEDIATELY lock the doors! (Things can still go bad "IF" to much time is wasted before you crank up & drive away. So, DO NOT dally!)