Police urge parking lot safety - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Police urge parking lot safety

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April 18, 2004

Albany- Police say the discovery of Dru Sojdin's body Saturday should serve as a scary reminder that anyone can become a victim. The 22 year old college student was abducted from a Minnesota mall parking lot nearly six months ago.

During an average afternoon at the mall most people walk across the parking lot leisurely as they get into their cars, never expecting anyone with ill-intentions to approach them.

"A lot of people you see them with a cell phone talking on that or be talking with a friend, going through your purse or whatever, so if somebody's waiting to get them they're not going to be paying attention to what's going on."

And that's when Sgt. Mike Wood says the worst can happen. He says most people just get complacent especially during daylight hours. They don't have their keys handy and they don't check their surroundings.

"It's good to park your vehicle away from other vehicles that way if somebody's hiding behind the vehicle you can look under it and see what's going on with that," Woods advises.

Wood says shoppers should always lock their doors. It helps prevent thieves from stealing things inside, but also keeps anyone from finding a hiding place to wait for your return. But, if someone does approach you, police say always try to put as much distance between you and that person as possible.

"Say your at the door and the person is approaching you fast, if you don't have time to get in the vehicle, you can walk to another side of the vehicle where you can keep the vehicle between you and them." Hopefully lessening the chance they can get within reach to cause you harm.

Police say always trust your instincts. If you don't feel comfortable walking alone, ask a security guard to walk you to your car.

Posted at 5:25 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com