Do you recognize this scenario? “A young woman is walking down the street at night. As she approaches a parking lot, she sees a silhouette in the dark. She promptly speeds up her walk but the silhouette gets closer and closer”. It gets us every time. This scenario has been so well implanted into our minds that we might recognize this scene as the most common crime that can occur in a parking lot. Could this be the cause as to why we might let our guard down to other possible threats? VinTech works closely with detectives, assisting them with video surveillance to help solve crimes. During our most recent discussion with an investigator, we identified new trends in parking lot crimes. To understand how we can prevent being victimized, let’s first discuss the most common threat: thefts from cars. Consider the following scenario: “Two guys approach a parking lot late at night. They look through the car’s windows. They check every car in the lot and discover an unlocked door. They search the car and take several items - including a handgun.” This event took place in a Condo Association that has surveillance in their parking lot. The cameras caught the same guys coming back that very same week. The second crime is bizarre. Consider the second scenario: “A woman is walking towards her car. She is holding a bag with her right hand. As she searches inside her pocket for her keys, she looks up and notices a guy is closely inspecting her car. Then she sees him reach for the door handle with his mouth. He then gently touches the vehicle’s door”. We can assure you this is not made-up, and oh jeez do we want to suppress the image of the guy licking the car door. The woman walking towards her car is a Chicago resident. She discovered a guy caressing her car outside a Target Parking Lot. The store reviewed their footage and reported the incident to the police. With these incidents in mind, we created this quick guide that may prevent you from being the next victim. The first three steps are focused on prevention. The last three are designed to help you regain control. 1. Install video surveillance. It is proven that thieves will think twice before committing a crime where video surveillance is present. After your camera installation, request signs that indicate you have surveillance. 2. Alert car owners to lock all their car doors and keep valuable items out of sight. 3. Report suspicious activity. It might seem harmless or not worth your time, but there is no way for you to know if the person approaching your car is mentally ill, conducting a prank, or observing you. For safety reasons, you should never disregard any possibility. 4. Inform building residents when an incident occurs. Do not try to keep these occurrences confidential. If a thief was successful the first time, chances are they are coming back. 5. Report the incident to the police, especially if a weapon was stolen. 6. Create a plan to decrease the probability of experiencing a recurring incident. To find more information about Parking lot security visit our blog – 5 Necessities to Make Your Parking Facility Secure.