With peak shopping season approaching in California and the rest of the country, parking lots will be packed, and predators will be lurking to target vulnerable shoppers. Returning to their cars with arms full of purchases, shoppers might fail to remain aware of their surroundings. These are the targets of criminal elements that typically hang around in crowded places.

Being aware of potential hiding spots is an excellent place to start, and scanning in every direction will help. Full parking lots offer ample hiding places for predators crouching behind vehicles, moving in on their targets. In open-air parking lots, shrubs and trees can provide cover for someone who is up to no good. Shoppers should be particularly alert when their cars are parked next to or near high vehicles like vans or large pickup trucks and SUVs. Slowly cruising vehicles are worth watching because the occupants could be on the lookout for vulnerable or distracted individuals.

The following shoppers are perfect targets for predators:

  • Individuals who seem timid, absent-minded, lost, intoxicated or friendly might be easily manipulated.
  • Those oblivious to their surroundings and unaware of being followed until it is too late.
  • Individuals who are distracted by a cellphone or wearing earphones.
  • Parents with a young child is typically focused on the child’s safety, and if they also have both arms loaded with parcels or shopping bags makes them a predator’s favorite target.

Property owners are responsible for the safety of those using their parking facilities. Consumers in California who fall victim to predators in parking lots or parking garages might have grounds to file personal injury claims against the property owner, depending on the specific circumstances.  Premises liability lawsuits are complicated, but legal counsel is available for support and guidance.