Wichita police have arrested one suspect in connection with a parking lot robbery at the West Street Walmart in NewMarket Square. They are on the lookout for an accomplice in the robbery, which occurred Tuesday morning. The target was a 73-year-old woman just leaving the store.
Unbelievably weak as it is that robbers would go after an elderly woman, it happens all the time. But even the elderly are not alone — thieves will follow anyone whom they perceive as weak and helpless to their car. Take parking lot safety seriously and stay aware of your surroundings at all times. Here are a few tips to deter crooks and protect yourself:
- Look directly at passersby. Show the world that you are strong and secure by looking people in the eye as you pass. Doing so exudes a confidence in yourself and a presents the realization to any possible offender that they very well may be identified if they are caught.
- Know where you parked the car. Aimlessly wandering the aisles while trying to find your car not only gives perpetrators more time to get close to you, it also distracts you from your self-awareness. Determine a system for finding your car and stick with it. For example, when you’re walking into the store, remember which direction you’re heading (is the entrance to the right or the left?) and that will be the same direction you’ll head when you’re coming out (e.g., if you had to head left to get to the entrance, you’ll head left to get to your car — assuming you’re entering and exiting through the same doors).
- Shop in daylight hours. In the case of the 73-year-old victim, shopping at 9:30 in the morning didn’t help. However, your chances of being seen are much better in the daytime than they are at night.
- Run. At the first sign of serious trouble, run toward other people. If you were mistaken, you can apologize, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Scan your car. When you get to your car, always look to see if anyone is lurking around (or under) it. If so, head a different direction — do not confront a stranger around your car. If the coast is clear, glance in the back seat to make sure no one is hiding, then enter your car as quickly as possible and immediately lock the doors.
- Take someone with you. There usually is safety in numbers, so if you can take a friend or family member with you on your shopping trips, do so. The other person can also help carry bags out and help you find your car.
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