21 Personal Security Tips While You’re Out Shopping

I’ve put together a list of personal security tips geared towards those who go out shopping. Actually this list was assembled awhile ago and I’ve given it a refresh (with more bonus tips and 3 personal real world examples).

The fact is that trouble lurks just beneath the surface where criminals are looking for victims to prey upon. You may not see it, but it’s there.

Here’s a bonus tip right away:
LOOK for it (potential trouble out at the peripheries)!

Note: This list is especially important for women. Why? Because generally speaking women may be more vulnerable in a physical aspect compared with most men. It’s just the way it is. That said, men exhibiting a complete lack of situational awareness combined with an appearance of vulnerability are just as much at risk to becoming a victim. So pay attention to these personal security tips:

Personal Security Tips while Shopping


1. Go with a companion (3 is even better).

2. During daytime, park a bit away from the congested area of cars. This provides more visibility for you to assess the comings and goings.

3. During the night, park up close to the entrance, under or near a light.

4. Make a conscious effort to keep your head out of your phone!

5. Don’t stare straight ahead while you walk.

6. Don’t just look downward at your foot path in front of you while you walk.

7. Casually look around while you walk!

8. Don’t slouch. Keep your shoulders back and chin up. Look confident! Be aware of your body language.

9. Look further ahead than just your immediate path to observe what’s going on up there…

10. Change your course if it doesn’t ‘feel right’ ahead.

11. If a stranger approaches you with a question, it may be someone up to ‘no good’. Keep walking and avoid engagement. You may be being ‘sized up’.

12. Especially for the ladies, don’t worry about hurting some stranger’s feelings – being too polite can make you a victim.

13. Choose the safest time of day for your outing. Some places are pretty safe during the day, but are entirely different at night.

14. When exiting the store, predators are ‘interviewing you’ for vulnerability clues, so demonstrate your situational awareness.

15. While going back to your car, look around and trust your gut, your senses. Go back inside if something doesn’t feel right.

16. Get your keys out before leaving the store. Keep your keys in hand while going to your car.

17. Do not remotely unlock your car until you’re right there.

18. Look through the window into the backseat before opening a car door.

19. Be quick while placing your bags into the car.

20. Don’t get on the phone after you get in the car.

21. Get in the car, lock the doors, and go.

Bonus Personal Security Tips:

– Carry a mini flashlight. I have one of these on my key-chain, so does Mrs.J. I really like this one, and reviewed it as follows:

[ Read: Key Ring Flashlight ]

– Remember where you parked your car! You don’t want to be wandering between rows looking…

– When leaning over and strapping your child into a car seat, look around – be aware.

– Ladies, when you finish shopping, unlock your car and put your purse in FIRST. While you are loading bags into your car with your back turned, someone can grab your purse out of the cart.

– Note that Elderly people are viewed as easier targets. So pay extra attention to your situational awareness.

– Consider not carrying a purse (e.g. purse snatchers). Instead keep your license, cards, in your pocket.

– If you do carry a purse, consider cross-body carry.

– Where legal to do so, carry a handgun.
When seconds count, Police are just minutes away.

– If you carry a defensive ‘tool’, be sure to regularly practice with it.

Personal Security
Real World Example – 1

From a reader on Modern Survival Blog:

“While going to your car, look around and trust your senses. Go back if it feels safer.”

I can attest to this tactic. Several years ago, I had just exited my eye doctor’s office. It is located in a long, rambling strip mall.

After I exited, my peripheral vision noticed a young punk on my right, leaning against the wall. He was loitering — there was no store, no phone booth, nothing.

A few steps further and I could tell that he had left his position. He was either following me or he coincidentally began to walk “somewhere” just after I left the doctor’s. No matter, he had put himself too close in my ‘space’.

I saw that my truck was about 30 feet away, parked next to a woman who was on her cell phone, oblivious. I decided that I would make a very deliberate u-turn and walk back very deliberately to the doctor’s office. At that time I was just into the parking area but I was clearly visible to anyone on the mall’s walkways.

I did not make eye contact with that guy. I focused on the door of the doctor’s office. I was not rattled, but determined. There was no way this punk was going to get anywhere with me. And there was no way that I would show any ’emotion’ at all.

The punk slowed his pace a bit and as I went back into the office, the gal looked at me quizzically. I told her what transpired and said I was staying there until the punk was elsewhere. He kept walking and crossed the 4-lane road (considered jaywalking in that area). His only destination was the smaller strip mall across the way.

To this day, I believe he was going to either jump me or take my purse.

Personal Security
Real World Example – 2

From a reader on Modern Survival Blog:

I was headed into a large retail store.

As I exited my car about 100 feet from the stores entrance I noticed a young man just hanging out about 20 feet from the entrance of the store. It appeared to me like he was sizing up everyone coming and going from the store.

Now I had recently sprained my ankle a few days before and had been walking with a limp (favoring my sore ankle), but I knew that this could make me a target. So when I exited my car, I briskly walked to the store with as much speed as I could muster without limping.

I had remembered reading somewhere that most muggers are looking for someone with a weakness and that you should always act strong and healthy so that they will target someone less likely to be able to fight back. He studied me for all of about 3 to 5 seconds and then turned and walked away a few feet.

The next day I had read that there was yet another purse snatching in that particular lot on the day I had been there. They had been happening off and on for a few months, so I was aware of the possibilities. Also my ankle had swollen up that night because of my walking but at least I didn’t become a victim.

Personal Security
Real World Example – 3

From a reader on Modern Survival Blog:

Something that happened to me years ago. It was dark but not late (winter time change) and we (my son and I) were exiting a very crowded grocery store in the large city where we still live (1,000,000 plus population).

My car was parked out a fair distance away. I do not like anyone parking around me. As I pushed the cart full of groceries out to my car, I became aware of a loud muffler on a car that never drove past me.

I became quickly aware that this car seemed to be following me. As my son and I got farther out in the parking lot, this car with the muffler was still behind me. I could smell their exhaust from the bad muffler on their car.

They were close. I didn’t know what to do. No training on this type of thing, but Mother Bear kicked right in. I told my son (age 3 – 4ish) as we walked out, I said mommy is going to unlock the car and you jump in and lock yourself in the car seat and lock the car door.

We got to the car, the losers (3 were in the car) pulled right up beside me — inches from my car.

I turned around, looked at them like the crazy mother I was/am, and asked them what the f#@$ do you want! My son was in the car and the car was locked, I was outside of the car with my cart full of groceries.

They surveyed my shopping cart, realized that they could not locate a purse and I stood my ground, never looking away from them and they took off. I watched them go, unlocked my car, loaded groceries and got home.

I learned long ago not to carry a purse or any sign of a wallet in any store. And what those losers didn’t realize was I had slipped my license and debit card in one of the shopping bags discreetly as they were being bagged up. Even I didn’t know which sack it was in, but I knew I would find it unloading groceries. I thought they were after my precious little one, not my money. Such scum.

I rarely carry a purse now and still use that practice of putting license and debit card in something other than the obvious.


  1. Well for me I would rather just stay at home and order online.

    By shopping online you get to avoid crowds, you stay safer, you save more money if you have self-control, the items you get have been handled less, and you get exactly what you want.

    The only time I go out to shop is when I need something that a local store has, which is locally owned, operated and is not a chain store.

  2. In my closest larger city,I used to park in the outer fringes of the parking lots of the big stores. These days, the outer fringes are where the RV drivers are parking. Some are homeless/living in the RV or some are legit travelers mixed in.

    Some months ago I talked about a white panel van parked next to my truck and my giving them the evil eye. Turns out, they were some police detectives keeping an eye on a few of the RV’s after getting reports of various crimes taking place at the outer fringes of the big parking lots. ( drug dealing, prostitution, ripping people off in general.).

    Now, life is not so simple, I park somewhere in the middle of the parking lot under a light if at dusk and I avoid going there on Saturdays and at night. Most of the vehicle accidents I see take place on Saturdays and most of the weird criminal stuff seems to take place at night.

    1. Calirefugee,
      I am the same way that I don’t go to the store at night or on the weekends. I stay away on the weekends because the stores are too darn crowded. I am too scared of the parking lots at night. A year or two after high school one of my friends was abducted from a parking lot and they found her body a week later dumped in a forest about 20 miles away. I think of her every time I park in the parking lot when I’m out by myself.

      I did most of my Christmas shopping online this year to stay away from crowds. I even sweet talk my DH to run to the grocery for me. He helps me out by doing the shopping sometimes.

    2. I try to do my shopping on Saturdays or Sundays. This includes grocery and pharmacy. Most other shopping is done online for delivery to the post office or my condo parcel box. Sometimes I shop around 4-6 pm after getting home from work as this is the after work crowd. I wear a small purse that is convertible to a waist-pack for credit cards, store loyalty cards and condo keys. I notice all young to middle aged people and try to stay away from them. There is a ton of drug dealing in my area. When I retire I will shop around 10-11:30 am or 1-3 pm to avoid crowds. I ensure that I am home by 9 pm when most stores close and most decent people are home. I do not want to walk through a parking lot after 9 pm.

  3. One of the upsides being retired is to visit stores during the day on weekdays. Skip going when dark, or weekends (unless very early and on the way home by 10 a.m.- the zombies don’t seem to be early risers). Always carry concealed, another in the console, crow bar on the floor by the seat, no paranoid just not going to be a victim.

    The only issue with daytime shopping is a lot of old people driving around, oh wait….i’m one of those now…😨

    1. In my area I find that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the least crowded.

  4. Gentlemen- if you are out with your wife, stay close! My wife and I hold hands because we are in Love, but I do not do so with my weapon hand. I do that with my off hand, leaving my weapon hand free. This places her on my non-carry side and leaves my weapon side free and open. It allows me to place myself between her and a threat, makes my weapon hand instantly available if needed, and allows her more time to draw as well.

    Consider a quality carabiner for your keys and clip them to a sturdy belt loop or sturdy nylon loop around your belt. Your vehicle can be accessed much faster if you simply have to reach down and hit the unlock/lock buttons that are always accessible rather than trying to jam your hand into a pocket, yank your keys out, and find the buttons.

    Do not be hesitant to holler loudly if confronted. Get everyone’s attention. Bad guys hate attention while they are doing bad things.

    Be situationally aware.

    Ladies- If you carry a firearm, carry it in a holster ON YOUR PERSON, not in your purse. Two things to consider here is your purse is a target. How are you going to retrieve your firearm or defensive weapon from within your purse if someone is violently trying to wrest it away from you. Also it is MUCH faster drawing a weapon from a holster that is secured to your person than from one that is inside a purse.

    If you carry a firearm or other defensive weapon on your person, carry your purse on your NON-WEAPON SIDE. Always try to avoid having anything that would interfere with your ability to access and brandish your weapon. The same goes for a small child that you are carrying. Should the situation go sideways, do you really want to try to set your child down and THEN try for your weapon?

    Do not be hesitant to holler loudly if confronted. Get everyone’s attention. Bad guys hate attention while they are doing bad things.

    Be situationally aware.

    Everyone- Ken has made some very valid points and suggestions.

    Get off your phone.

    Avoid going alone.

    Be fully prepared and “buttoned” up before you leave the store to go to your vehicle, and vice versa. Avoid having to tend to things while in transit between them. Even if there are no bad guys, there are plenty of bad drivers out there. Your attention is better spent being as aware as possible of what is going on around you than tending to things that should have been taken care of before you stepped outside.

    Place items that you will not be carrying on the rear floor board of your vehicle (if possible) or the front passenger foot well. Keep a spare hooded sweatshirt or jacket to casually toss on top of any valuables to conceal them from prying eyes.

    Make note of exactly where you park. Say it out loud to yourself- “Parked on the right side, under the second light in the lane straight out the front door”. This will help you remember where your vehicle is.

    Try to park where your vehicle is directly visible from the entrance of the busiest store or door where you are going. Bad guys prefer the vehicles that are less visible.

    Where possible, pull through into your parking spot or back into it so that your vehicle is facing out, not in.

    Pay attention once you get to your vehicle, particularly if you have bought high value or targeted items such as electronics, jewelry, etc. Even large grocery runs. Casually scan the area as you are loading. Is anyone paying attention to you? Whether you are headed back home or to your next shopping location, note if you are seeing the same people/vehicles. Perhaps they are waiting for you to leave your vehicle so they can steal from it, or worse- lead them to your home.

    We live near a high crime city and I cannot count the number of times I have been sized up/followed in parking lots.

    1. restoringBrad,
      Great ideas on walking and holding hands with your spouse. My DH always carries and I need to start carrying again. Since I broke my wrist last year I have not been shooting and practicing. About time for me to get up to speed again so I feel comfortable carrying again. I carry in my purse, but a holster may be something I should consider.

  5. Most of the accidents/near accidents I see on Saturdays in the parking lots are old people driving old cars that do not have backup cameras. These are the drivers that also do not seem to use their mirrors either. ( turn car on, shift into gear and back out with no looking first.)

    I am turning into an old person myself butt I am biased as a former traffic cop and having seen what multiple at-fault accidents will do to your insurance rates. ( Your rates go up before they kick you out. My wife discovered that fact years ago. )

    Sorry Ken, This feels weird in that an Asian Driver is giving hints on safe driving hints on this site. I did not mean to preach to the choir. Maybe Dennis should be giving this lecture.

    1. Calirefugee,

      I don’t know for the population at large, but on my department, 80% of “officer at fault” accidents involving officers were when backing up. Me myself, probably because of this knowledge, am extremely cautious when backing out of a parking space. This is especially true in a Wally World parking lot, where pedestrians seem to be oblivious to cars trying to back out.

      I’m with you on the driving at night. When I was young, it was no problem, and I would silently scoff at older folks voicing their dislike of driving after dark. Now, as I’m well into geezer-hood, it feels as if I’m driving in a cocoon with not nearly enough visibility when driving at night.

      On the subject of fighting back if attacked. Unless the aggressor is armed, even if there is disparity in size and age, resist violently. Become all elbows and knees. Go into high speed flailing, kicking, and screaming. Chances are, especially if you are a woman, someone will come to your aid. May not work in some locales, but in my neck of the woods, there are plenty of type-A males (and females) just aching to kick some low life’s butt. Help won’t come if no one is aware you need it. Do not allow yourself to be forced into a vehicle, especially your own. That rarely turns out well. Remember, you were chosen as an easy target in most cases. The more aggressively you resist, the more likely they will change their mind. If they are armed and “have the drop on you”, and you are also carrying. you will have to wait for an opening before trying to respond with your weapon. You ain’t John Wayne. I’ll stop here as this is not the thread for possible armed response to a brandished gun.

      1. Anyone who high jacks me and makes me drive is going into the 1st electric pole or tree with me. I always wear my safety belt and the chances a thief put theirs on is small. Mr. and I were just talking about this the other day.

  6. Well being an older “Old Fart” we all have our little stories we like to tell, so without further to-do here’s mine from a few months back.

    Here in my neck of the woods we have two, yes two Wally Worlds, one East Side, and one West Side more toward the ‘Native American” side of town.
    Well unfortunately some of these groups of people have a very hard time with drinking and being polite.
    So here I am wandering into a WW and buying a few items of the Deep Pantry (was on that side for work), as I’m walking out minding my own business (a first for sure) there’s a group of three “Outstanding Citizens” with their brown paper bag covered beverage sitting on the ground mouthing off to others as they walk bye. I might add some rather raunchy comments to the Ladies.
    Well I bet you can guess it, being at around 6’-2” and 270 pounds, I did not take it well when I heard “Hey white-man, this is our store, $#% off!!!” not really a very nice “Hello”.
    So being the polite gentleman I am I did an immediate 90deg turn and took a good 4 big steps right to the group and planted my Number 12 boot right into his calf saying “Ohhh I’m sorry, I did not see you sitting there”. They decided that a 3 on one challenge was on the table; I just pointed and said “Don’t even think about it” as I pulled the jacket tight to reveal the Holster Bulge. I did suggest they drop the Bags into the trash container and leave the area quickly and quietly, they did as asked cussing all the way.
    As I watched them walk and limp away I turned and saw the Store Security and Manager walking up, they both shook my hand and thanked me, for they had tried to make them leave for quite some time, but refused. “Why did you not call the Cops?” I asked, their reply, the “Native American” Cops won’t arrest them, because when they di, they always have to power-wash out the back seats….. NASTY!!!

    Now please don’t get me wrong, violence is not always a good way to handle some situations BUT not showing fear and cowering down will often make a difference for others that are being harassed. AND being a 270# AZZHOLE helps HAHAHAHA
    Would I suggest others do the same thing, Absolutely Not. But I’ll not be one that allows POS’s like this to insult everyone, even kids that happen to walk by.
    BTW, not a hero here, just that kind of stuff makes me sick.

    Think I need to read that book, “How to make friends and influence people”.

    1. Oh I think you influenced them just fine, you may have been a little weak on the making friends part though.😀

      1. He made friends of store security, management, probably the “Native American” cops, all the shoppers who didn’t have to deal with the leftovers, and I’m pretty sure that if he runs across these particular citizens again they’ll be his best buddies.

    2. NRP
      Well I think you are better than me at controlling your aggression.
      My story, 3 against 1. Gang banger Hispanics, sitting in the middle of sidewalk at the grocery store.
      #1 boot to the face, broken nose, he’s out
      #2 field goal kick to the groin, he’s out
      #3 well, he can run like a rabbit, he’s gone
      Walked away. Never saw these fine citizens again, and neither did the sidewalk.

      They challenged me, I was not looking for trouble. But, your NEVER out of the fight. Better me, than some one they could of possible have injured.

      If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. Thomas Paine

      To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead. Thomas Paine

    3. Muzzles, diapers and handcuffs should help. Oh wait might offend their rights………..

  7. Most cars have fobs with door openers/door locks and an emergency alarm. If you approach your car and notice anything funny, don’t hesitate to activate the alarm to attract attention. I am short, skinny, grey-haired and wrinkled. My best option is to attract attention.

    Once you have startled them and activated the alarm, you can still quickly open the door, lock it, and start the car. You haven’t lost anything by using the alarm.

    1. +1-
      You can memorize the position of the “panic button” on the fob, have your finger on it- mine will activate right through my jacket pocket.
      I test it out once in a while, sometimes you can get the alarm to go off from quite a distance away…

  8. Wear shoes, pants, skirts that allow you to sprint. When the adrenaline says flight there should be nothing that impedes your ability to flee.

    “Look confident.” If you can, stride, stomp, bounce when you walk like the Pink Panther, look lively and not like someone who will cower if attacked.

    Many women my age were brought up to be responsive, helpful, caring, trusting, and compliant, and to put the concerns of others ahead of our own. It has taken my entire adult life to overcome that early conditioning. If a stranger comes toward me I do not need to acknowledge them, make eye contact, respond to a smile or greeting, answer a question, shake a hand, allow someone to get within touching distance, stop and wait for someone calling to me, or engage in any way. It’s not easy to disengage from my nurturing self and keep going. I know so many women who have been harassed because they could not ignore even the most unsavory people.

    Shopping carts make good barriers, and even better weapons.

    1. Ha ha, laughing at the thought of myself sprinting. Those days are nigh.

      1. Mine too! But woe unto those that might think we aren’t able to fight back..

  9. I love all these tips. Excellent reminders. We all get brain-dead sometimes running errands or shopping. I have made a few changes to how I go out. I ditched a purse long ago and use a small backpack-type ‘purse.’ Leaves my hands free and I can always back up against something or someone like my hubby. I used to carry in my purse, and reading restoringBrads’ comment I was reminded that my first firearms instructor told us that if we did carry in our purse to just shoot through your purse. No time to draw your weapon out if you are going for it. Never forgot that, although I never carry in my purse anymore believing a holster is best. Also, I never put my keys anywhere other than a pocket on my person. Should I lose my backpack (or have it taken), I can still get home. I also run my errands and do my shopping late morning or early afternoon. And lastly, I wear sturdy hiking shoes or Ariat boots. I don’t own a pair of footwear that I cannot run in, or kick or fight. Again, good reminders. Thanks!

    1. I agree with wearing footwear that you can run in, even though I don’t think I can run very well, or fast these days. I understand that adrenaline can do amazing things in times of stress.

  10. Good article Ken. Went to the big city ( less than 16,000 ) yesterday for an appointment and wanted to pick up the last few items needed for the Holidays. I followed most of the tips that are mentioned here, the weather was great and overall I enjoyed the shopping and was successful in getting everything and more of what I needed. As I was leaving the last stop of the day, a large grocery chain with a corresponding parking lot, I was stopped in my tracks unable to move. I was looking at one of the most beautiful Lake Michigan Sunsets I have ever seen. I stood just outside the doors of the store in awe along with a few others. Once the sun sank into the lake I got a grip on my situational awareness and moved on to my truck. Luckily I was in a very low crime rate area, because in those few moments I was a paralyzed target.

  11. The casual but not really funny joke in training is “the night shoot is at Walmart on Friday”.

    I ALWAYS park under a lamp post if after dusk. I NEVER carry a purse without it being cross strapped against me with holster at the “ready”. I mostly try to avoid parking next to others. When concealed carrying, I will carry the purse…If not available because of the State I might be visiting, I will put my wallet contents into a deep pocket on my body.

    I ALWAYS peruse folks standing around. First their hands, then their eyes (bad guys hate that) and if need be I will walk right “through” them making hand/eye contact the whole way. If I don’t have my “tool”, I keep keys in the hands. I am NOT going down easily. Also, MUST keep your awareness and mindset! Karate, judo all good when others are playing by same rules….but on the street it is strictly LETHAL FORCE in self defense.

  12. Excellent reminder article at a time of the year when a lot of us are out & about in the public square . I am old , slower than years before and have slower reflexes . Now I have to use that wisdom that was supposed to come along at retirement time . My self defense is pretty much the use of my CC pistol. One of our important rules is to stay away from crowds of any sort at anytime. We also do our shopping in daytime hours during the week .Fortunately we do not live in a high crime community.
    When the SHTF we will hunker down at home until we have a need to venture out .

  13. If the situation is no tool, at least have your car key ready and supported by the palm of your hand rather than just your fingers. That way if you have to defend yourself you can thrust forward decisively.

  14. Situational Awareness can not be stressed enough. Years ago I was at a shopping place in China. It was a big open square with stores on both sides and streets at the ends. My wife told me the place is a common hangout for pickpockets. One days we were there and I always look around to see all the shops and stores. Something caught my eye, it was a guy that was walking toward me from a distance to my right all of a sudden turn and start following behind me. As he was still some distance away, I started watching to my left and sure enough another guy did the same thing. At that time, I knew they were scouting me and there were probably one or two more behind me. At that time, I stopped the wife and started just staring at those guys giving them the stink eye letting them know that I know as well looking at people that were behind me. After a bit they just casually walked on by. The square was full of people so I know they did not want to start anything. What initially caught my attention was that the guy was casually walking just like anyone else then made a 90 degree change in direction for no apparent reason. The pick pockets there usually do not work alone but in teams. If I was like most people with my face buried in my phone, I am sure they would have picked me and ran. The reason why they chose me was because I was a foreigner in that area who they assumed didn’t know about the local protocol on how to avoid the pickpockets. One big thing, when in China never carry your wallet in your back pocket or you might as well as kiss it goodbye.

  15. One thing my dad taught me and my sisters was when we got out of the car, stop and look at the front of the building we were going into in relation to our parked car. Can’t tell you how many times DH and I have been coming out of a store and he’s saying I think we’re down this aisle and I look back at the building and say no, we’re down this aisle. Also have a story as well.Where I worked years ago (large mall employees had to park far away from the employee entrances), there had been a couple of young women assaulted. I was 20, married and VERY pregnant with first son but you couldn’t tell by looking at the back of me. I carried all out front. Had some scumbag thinking he was going to get lucky and was going to grab me as I was getting off work. Came up behind me and as I turned around to confront him ,yeah I know but I was young and dumb, He said and I quote Geez lady you’re pregnant and took off. He was caught a few minutes later as he had tried to grab another girl a few minutes later, who fortunately was a brown belt in judo. I had gone back in to work right away to report the incident and was told a guy tried to grab a girl and she beat the crap out of him. Said it probably was the guy that came up to me and I had to go and identify him. Didn’t have to go to trial but from then on I ALWAYS park practically on top the building where ever I work, NO matter what management says.

    1. grannyo
      These days, most parking aisles are numbered. All you have to do is look at the sign at the end of the aisle to see what number lane you are in. Then remember it, of course. At our local WalMart, I always park in aisle #4, that way I don’t have to remember what aisle I am in. That might not work in a more populated area where some of the lanes are filled up.

      This site is STILL not remembering my name and email address!

      1. Same here. No big deal though. If this is the worst that happens to me today, then today is a pretty good day.

      2. Where I worked (considered a MEGA Mall) the aisles were only marked on one or two poles close to the stores. In the “Back 40” as we called it, they were unmarked and on the outer perimeter of the malls’ lot. Often when we came to work, depending on our shift, we could be quite aways away from “our” stores Employee parking section. Didn’t work there long as DH got a job in another city and I found other retail jobs at smaller malls/stores till I was fortunate enough to find my last job, 9-5 office job. I park close to the stores I go to now, (when I do venture out, LOL). I fear I’m becoming agoraphobic these days, can’t stand the people out there anymore. Just joking folks , being retired don’t have a lot of places I NEED to go to now a days.DH is happy, we’re saving on gas, wear and tear on the car.:)

  16. Was walking in the late afternoon from my car to an office. No people were around, except for one fellow by the liquor store a few doors down. As I’m getting closer, he leaves the sidewalk and starts cutting across the parking lot towards me.

    I was between the car and office, so I couldn’t retreat. I heard somewhere if you don’t seem like an easy mark, they might bypass you and to make eye contact. I started walking faster and so did he. I maintained eye contact with him as I finally was close enough to run (I’m older). I got to the office before he got to me.

    I honestly think had I not had situational awareness (I’m city-bred), he’d have come up on me unexpectedly and grabbed my purse. I also think given my adrenaline level that I might have tried to kick his $*# had he come at me and I honestly don’t know from where that came. I’m normally not stupid.

    I called my husband to come escort me home, just in case and for the next few weeks (I was there once a week), he dropped me off until I felt safe again to do it myself. But my S.A. was even more heightened every time I went there.

    It was in a safe neighborhood during the day and only a long two blocks from my house.

  17. To all of us that are Senior Citizens or are approaching those years rapidly, I have an inspiring story of 3 young criminals that attacked the wrong victim who was walking with the assistance of a solid wood cane.

    A non descript old man was walking when he was attacked by 3 young hoodlums in what was later described as a “bum rush”. The police that responded were amazed by the results that all 3 young criminals had serious injuries: Dislocated shoulders, broken arms, gouged eyes, displaced kneecaps, 2 of 3 had concussions, one was bleeding from the ears (skull fracture)

    The pudgy old man had a few bumps and bruises but was relatively calm and sitting down catching his breath. The elderly victim was Retired military self defense instructor Rex Applegate who spent his working years developing self defense techniques for the Military police in Shanghai and for the US Marines with Col Fairbairn from the British Royal Marines.

    They chose the wrong victim that day.

  18. There is safety in numbers. If you can go shopping with family or friends, its much safer than going on your own. Appropriate footwear is important too. At this time of year parking lots can get very icy. If you add poor footwear to the equation you’re creating a scenario where you may not be able to move quickly if the need arises. Worst of all, an injury from a fall could turn you into a sitting duck.

    1. That is why DH and I go together. When he is with me, I can park in the handicap parking which is closer to the door. DH carries a cane which can double as a weapon. He walks with purpose so people with wonder why he is carrying a cane. People wont say anything to an elder person carrying a cane even though they might be carrying it on their shoulder, try that with a baseball bat and you will get all kinds of security down on you.

  19. Said this before, NEVER walk directly back to your car. Walk like you’re heading to a different vehicle and only at the last second turn to your vehicle and unlock it just as you get there. You’ll be surprised at how may thugs will be watching you trying to determine if you are an easy target. And as always…..carry a gun. Only happened once, but just “flashing” it made all the difference.

  20. As I get closer to my senior years I find I lose my balance and tend to trip on uneven surfaces (outside). I am OK inside on even surfaces. Hence I carry a cane – this gives me security on cracked sidewalks and curbs, uneven parking lots, etc. and is a legal weapon.

    One time I was in NYC in Central Park and had sat down on a bench to rest. I was wearing my fake watch purchased at Canal Street, one of the tour guide’s sight seeing surprises.

    I had paid $25 for this and a young man was eyeing it as he circled around me. I thought, I could get mugged for a fake watch. I promptly joined a group of Asian tourists and he went away. After the watch battery died I threw the watch down the garbage chute. Since reading about fake purses and watches and their links to human trafficking, I have not gone back to Canal Street.

    I wish tour guides would not take their bus loads of tourists to purchase fake stuff which is currently legal and tourist guides should mention the link that fakes have with human trafficking. I purchase cheap drug store watches which last about a season.

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