Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - While police continue their search for the suspect who allegedly threatened to stab a woman with a hypodermic needle and stole her purse on Saturday evening in the Destiny USA parking lot, they are encouraging shoppers to be alert and to protect themselves when walking to their cars.
NewsChannel 9’s Andrew Donavon also learned some tips on how to defend against a would-be attacker from Kim Andrello at Impact Martial Arts in Liverpool.
Syracuse Police offered the following parking lot safety tips:
- Have a plan rehearsed in your head of what you will do in the event of an attack.
- When possible wear shoes and clothing that will not hinder an escape. Sneakers are best and shoes with low heels are your second best. Keep a pair in the car if you are going to be out on your way home from work. If you wear high heels and are pursued, kick them off and run barefoot.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Watch for suspicious people or activities.
- Park in highly visible, well lit areas. Avoid parking near shrubbery or the side of vans that have slide open doors. Back in to the space if possible. (Near the elevator, if possible in a parking garage).
- Always carefully note where you parked so you don't spend unnecessary time walking around a parking lot.
- Do not present yourself as an easy target. Try not to carry a lot of packages.
- Walk confidently and with a purpose and observe those around you. If you notice someone hanging around your car or acting suspiciously return to the store. Assertive body language can help prevent an attack. Keep your head up.
- Have all of your attention and effort dedicated to your surroundings and walking to your vehicle.
- Turn off your cell phone, have your keys in your hand so you are not searching for them while you walk. Keep vehicle key separate from other keys. Attach a whistle with the vehicle key.
- Walk to your vehicle in pairs or in a group.
- As you approach your car, look under and around it. Before getting in your car look in the back seat and on the floor.
- If you feel that you are being followed, walk or run quickly to a lighted store or where crowds of people can offer help if needed. Know where to go for help - police station, fire house, etc. Do not go home.
- Do anything you can to draw attention. Don't be embarrassed. Scream, yell or blow your whistle. Honk the car horn.
- If you carry a purse, don't dangle it by your side so that a thief can run by you and grab it. Carry your purse close to your body, preferably in front.
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