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How to survive an assault in a parking garage

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Michelle H. works at the Key Bank building in Cleveland, OH.

The 60-year-old woman always parks her vehicle in a parking garage between the Marriott Hotel and Key Bank Tower.

One evening around 8:30 p.m., Michelle took her dinner break and went to her car to do some reading.

According to Michelle, “Before I knew it, he came in that little space and was on top of me and the first thing he said was don’t scream.”

Little did the attacker know that he picked the wrong woman to target.

Michelle started screaming and hitting the man. He hit her back several times with a wrench.

“I was kicking and punching and trying to gouge and everything I could think of,” she said. “He just kept telling me to stop screaming.”

The attacker didn’t ask for anything, but Michelle knew that if he was able to get her into the car she would likely die.

“I was determined. I was not going to let this man take me down. It was like, he’s got a wrench, I can’t just let him beat me.”

She bit and kicked her attacker until she was able to run to an elevator and escape.

Michelle said, “I probably will never go down there again like on my break or anything. I’ll go to an area where there are more people, just to get out of the office, but I wouldn’t go down there to sit in my car again.”

Thankfully, she survived the scary ordeal.

She needed a few stitches on her forehead and had a swollen lip… but she is lucky to be alive.

As you know, violent crime is surging across the U.S.

The homicide numbers for the first half of 2022 show that in 23 U.S. cities, murder rates are 39% higher compared to 2019.

Also, aggravated assaults and robberies increased by 4% and 19%.

Residential burglaries rose by 6% and motor vehicle thefts jumped up by 15%.

But here’s something to keep in mind when you drive or travel.

Criminals like to hide in the dark where no one will see them. Parking garages are the perfect place for them to commit their crimes.

With that in mind, here are a few things to remember if you park in parking garages or must walk a good distance to your vehicle.

Stay open:

When walking in a parking garage, stay out in the open as much as possible. For example, avoid walking in between cars.

Instead, walk down the aisle until you come to where your vehicle is parked.

Cars provide a lot of places for criminals to hide. If you walk in between cars an attacker could be anywhere.

If you stay out in the open, you should be able to see them coming and put up a fight and have time to draw your gun, knife, tactical pen, etc.

Back it up:

Always back into the parking spot. I know it’s not the easiest thing to do in a parking garage but it’s worth the time.

By backing into the spot, you can keep your eyes in the direction you came from.

For instance, if you are walking to your car and get in the driver’s seat you should be able to see where you came from.

In other words, if someone was following you, you should be able to see them.

Park and go:

It’s a common habit for people to find a parking spot and then sit there for a few minutes.

When you arrive at a parking garage don’t linger in your car, instead, be prepared to park and exit your car.

The more you act as if you have somewhere to be, the less amount of time a predator has to plan to attack. They can’t sit and watch your habits or movements.

Stay away from elevators:

Unless you are with other people, try to stay away from parking garage elevators and stairs.

Stairs and elevators are usually dark, with few escape routes. If the criminal gets on the elevator with you then you are trapped.

Also, if you scream for help in an elevator or stairwell there is less chance someone will hear you.

If you have to use the stairs or an elevator, try to walk with another person or make sure you have an escape route if someone attacks.

Ask security for help:

Most parking garages have security guards or folks working in the booth, so don’t hesitate to ask security to walk you to your car.

Most will be happy to do it since it’s part of their job.

If there is no security, you can ask someone in the booth. Maybe enough people are working that one of them can assist you.

There is no harm in asking, and the worst they can say is no.

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