A step by step urban survival guide on the strategies and methods of best interacting with and going through insecure / dangerous parking lots.
Assailants and criminals engage activity where their targets and victims are known to be and will be. Parking lots are such places as it's relatively confined with predictable foot and vehicular movement.
That makes attacks also somewhat foreseeable and therefore preventable or at least lets you counter with a defensive or an evasive maneuver.
1) Park as close as possible to your entry / exit point. You want to minimize the amount of time and space you are vulnerable. The closer you are to the main entrance / building, the higher the security.
2) Park where there are many other cars, under a working light and within view of a security camera, not isolated and in the dark.
3) Park the car with the front towards the road, so that you can drive away fast if needed.
4) If in doubt, perceive danger and have time, simply call the police, as associate or anyone else able.
5) Keep the keys in your hand before you exit the building or long before you reach your vehicle. This is one less (necessary) task and distraction.
6) Casually check "360º" (using reflections, footstep noises, neck stretching etc.) every few steps, there’s no other way of knowing if you are being followed or ambushed. If you do see a possible threat, you walk back to the building if possible.
7) If the parking lot looks dark, deserted, take no chances. Keep your firearm in your hand (or other weapon), pressed against your side or concealed under some garment. A gun already in your hand 2 seconds (or 2 minutes) before you need it is faster than the fastest speed draw.
8) Keeping a can of pepper spray readily available in the car or better yet, on you, will be very useful in case you need a less than lethal alternative, like dealing with non-professionally trained, typical criminals, upset or disturbed people that behave violently.
9) A common tactic used by carjackers is to brake the car windows so as to scare you, grab you, and make it hard for you to see. At this point, accelerate if possible instead of engaging while seated.
10) If you have to use your vehicle to run over an assailant, try to use the corners of your car, not directly under and center of your car. Use the wheels as aiming points, otherwise your vehicle may be immobilized with a body caught in the transmission.
Just because you don't drive a nice car or aren't an attractive woman doesn't mean you're immune from parking lot threats. It's not always about theft or deviancy, it could be personal or professional.