NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – What would you do if you were alone in a parking garage and singled out? Would you know what to do, or how to avoid an attack?
“If you’re oblivious to what’s going on around you, your instincts don’t kick in,” says David Blake of Allied Universal Security, and the vice Chair of Nashville Crime Stoppers.
In August, a state employee was targeted in Nashville. She shook her teen attacker and ran to safety. An 18-year-old was arrested, but some of the same safety concerns in parking garages stuck around.
“They (criminals) are situationally aware,” Blake said. “When we fail to equal that, it gives them the opportunity and the upper hand to commit the crime.”
Blake told News 2 taking out that opportunity is the key to avoiding a confrontation with a person with bad intentions.
Criminals operate like a business. They don’t want to take chances. They’ll scout a garage and look for an easy target, somebody not paying attention. Being situationally aware will help you.
“Not walking with your head in a phone, whether you’re talking on the phone or texting, it’s paying attention to what’s around you, who’s around you, and that helps that gut feeling,” he says.
Also, know the security measures in place to protect. Some downtown garages have call buttons near elevators and entrances commonly used for transactions, but they can play a more critical role.
“It’s also a way the person can call security if they need to, the security on site,” says Jason Fischer, the regional manager at SP Plus Parking.
SP Plus operates several downtown garages. Fischer points out surveillance cameras and signs providing obvious, but more necessary reminders.
“There are a couple things you want to look for when parking in a garage or lot,” Fischer says. “It’s needed to ensure the safety of our parkers.”
The rest is a matter of knowing, knowing to avoid parking next to vans of trucks that provide hiding places, knowing to lock your car as soon as you get back in, and trust that feeling if something seems off.
Additionally, don’t rush to your car if you’re frightened. Instead, find help and be sure to report anything suspicion so security can follow up. And, if possible travel with a friend. The more numbers you have, the better your chances of staying safe.