Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Parking Outside/Personal Security

Dear Ferfal:
I love your blog and book and have read every word of both.  They are the ultimate advice for preparedness!  My question is about parking outside and maintaining security when going to and from my car.
Like Argentina, the US is in mid-latitude and during the winter here, the sun comes up late and goes down early.  When I go to work, it’s dark, and when I come home from work, it’s also dark.  I have to park my car outside both at my home and at my work.  I’m wondering what is your advice about personal security going to and from my car?  I do carry a concealed glock pistol (I am a law enforcement officer) and I have an older car with some dents that I don’t think would be too desireable for anyone to steal or carjack.  I’m also usually carrying a heavy EDC bag.  Mine is an M90 Swiss military backpack that is filled with extra food, water, hat/gloves, rain/wind gear, lots of ammo, medications, etc.
Do you have to park your car outside or do you have a garage?  What is your advice for those who park in garages as they enter their garage and close the automatic door behind them?  What types of incidents have you heard about when people are robbed or assaulted as they are getting into or out of their cars?
Thanks for all your advice, Ferfal!  As one who has experienced societal collapse, you are the number one source for realistic, down-to-earth preparedness info!  I also enjoy your perspective on Argentina’s political environment since I see the US following the same path.  It’s getting crazy here with the new National Defense Authorization Act which takes away US citizens Bill of Rights.  At least we still have our guns which will be our last chance to defend our other rights!
Hi Greg, glad you like my book and blog. Also guys, keep in mind I’ve been posting a good amount of videos on youtube (check for themodernsurvivalist channel) Between those three and the forum you have a good amount of resources to round up your preparedness plans and share ideas with like-minded people.
Seems you’re doing things right. You’re armed which is good. Maybe if you haven’t had one already, you might want to take a focused shooting class on fighting in and around vehicles. They can be pretty handy if you ever find yourself in that situation. A powerful Fenix or Surefire LED light (+200 lumens) is a nice addition to check in the shadows, you may want to add once to your pack. My friend GregMcGee offers some very nice ones (+800 lumens!) that I’ve reviewed in Youtube. Those would be perfect and affordable too.
Your car isn’t the latest, flashiest model so that’s good. Many robberies and carjacks occur because the vehicle is of the luxurious kind or brand new, and bad guys quickly relate that to a wealthy potential victim.
I’ve been in both situations, both had to park outside and on other times I had both a gate and garage door, so I would open both with the remote and close them quickly. The extra layer of defense provided by the gate is very nice to have. You also want a motion detecting light that floods the general garage area as you (or anyone else) approaches. These are the exact same things burglars prefer to avoid.
In either case you have to be careful when approaching your home. If there’s any suspicious vehicles or people around don’t ever risk it and get used to playing it safe: keep driving around the block and approach again later. Don’t ever shut down that gut feeling that is telling you something is wrong.  When I parked outside I mentally prepared myself for a possible attack. Even if careful it can still happen. A car can speed towards you, a bad guy with a gun can hide in the shadow, bushes, behind a tree, you never know. I would tell myself that someone would indeed pop up and I would be ready to start fighting, just like you’re ready to start shooting in action shooting sports, you know those seconds before you hear the beep of the timer. Then the attack wouldn’t come, and I’d relax once the door was shut, safely inside. It does sound paranoid, but it’s the only way in which you’ll be ready. Get hit while daydreaming, thinking of a girl you’re dating, or what the wife asked you to get for her and you just remembered you forgot. Have that in your mind during that precise window of opportunity criminals usually take advantage of and you will not be ready to retaliate an attack. It’s  the  moment when you’re most exposed, so be ready for it just in case.
When leaving I would first look out the window to see anything suspicious, then when leaving do it as safely but yet as quickly as possible so as to reduce that window of exposure, that moment of vulnerability as much as possible.
Coming back home I would lower the windows, in case I had to shoot. Glass wont be stopping bullets anyway, and I’d rather shoot with the windows down. Why not keep them down all the time? Because  in places like red lights someone may try to snatch something from your vehicle or shove a gun inside. Also they tend to throw rocks at you on the highway and the glass may be enough of a barrier to save your neck. Some people with tinted  car windows prefer to keep them up at all times so as to not let the bad guys outside know whats going on on the inside, what your actions are or even how many people are inside. Its your call and it depends on your personal situation. There’s no right or wrong answer. I know of at least one case where that saved a female police officer’s life. A carjacker knocked on her car window with his gun, and the tinted glass prevented the criminal from seeing her draw her gun and shoot him right in the face, killing him where he stood!
Should I park inside or outside? Again, I know people that do both, did both myself. Generally if the automatic door is too slow, speed is preferred so its better to risk leaving the car outside and hurrying inside. Then again in high crime areas they’ll pick your car clean little by little. That actually happened to me when I was without a garage. One day they would break in and steal the speakers. A couple days later they’d steal the lights. They didn’t take the car because I had one of those safety bars that go in the wheel but anything that they could take with a screwdriver was stolen little by little. You may not want to suffer that and prefer to park inside.
Another important point. Call your wife or some other family member or friend a couple minutes before you arrive. That way they can keep an eye on you from the inside and call the cops if they notice anything strange or warn you about strange activities outside and tell you to not come close for a while.
Hope that helps,
Take care.
Join the forum discussion on this post!


Tim said...

Another idea: Back in to your garage. It takes a bit longer, but if someone followed you you'd see it. As you back in someone could go into the garage before your car, but you're focused on the mirrors/back window so you'd likely see that too.

Plus, if someone did come at you and you'd backed in, your open car door would be a barrier to their likely direction of approach and attack.

Anonymous said...

good post. thank you for continuing to give useful information to us.