Police Chief

Ask the Chief

“Ask The Chief” is a weekly post allowing readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in the city of Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance our community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs, and the Department in general.

Submit your question to askthe.policechief@ci.red-wing.mn.us. 





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Jan 13

January 6, 2020 - Parking Lot Safety

Posted on January 13, 2020 at 9:15 AM by Kate Berg

January 6, 2020

Ask the Chief

Q: This question came from an audience member who attended a presentation I provided to a local seniors group. How do I stay safe while shopping alone and while in the parking lot?

Aerial view of a parking lot with vehicles above the words "Parking Lot Safety" and the RWPD s

A: Great question, as thieves are always looking for targets of opportunity. Crime prevention tips for parking lot and shopping safety is a favorite topic of mine, so here are a few tips.

First and foremost, ALWAYS maintain awareness of your surroundings, I hate to see shoppers or any other citizens so wrapped up in their smart phones that they are not aware of what is going on around them. Stay tuned into your surroundings! Here are some more tips:

1. Give the appearance that you are calm, confident, and know where you are going.
2. Park in well-lit areas, with good sight lines (can you see clearly for 100 feet).
3. When locking your vehicle, use the lock button on your door. If your car keys emit a signal to unlock or start the vehicle (keyless), store the fob/key in a RFID blocker (faraday) bag to prevent the signal from being scanned/stolen. (Faraday bags protect your device from emitting an electronic signal).
4. BE AWARE of your surroundings entering and exiting the store. It’s easy to get caught up in our to-do lists. Remember to be mindful of your surroundings while you are out shopping. Trust your gut and ask for an escort to your car if you feel unsafe.
5. When you are exiting the store, have your keys ready to unlock your door. This will help to ensure you get into your vehicle quickly and you can use your keys as a weapon if necessary.
6. When returning to your car, get in, lock the doors, buckle up, and leave. If you have groceries to load into your vehicle, place your purse in the vehicle first, to avoid being snatched by a passerby or being forgotten if you get in a hurry.
7. Keep your cell phone in a pocket--if your purse is snatched or is in the vehicle, you will still have a phone to call for help.

Remember, enhanced and real ID driver’s license, credit cards, keyless entries, and other items may give off an RFID signal.  Protect yourself with a RFID blocker sleeve/bag or Faraday bag, so that the signal cannot be stolen by someone with a scanner and used at a later time to steal your vehicle or identity.


References:

1. National Crime Prevention Council, shopping safety, located online at: https://www.ncpc.org/news/press-releases/stay-safe-while-you-shop-this-holiday-season/

2. Faraday bags, located online at https://www.amazon.com/faraday-bag/s?k=faraday bag

Please Note:

Please feel free to share this Q & A on your social media sites or in your organization’s newsletter.