A Strategy To Foil Carjackers at Walmart (Or Any Large Store Parking Lot)

by Vern Evans
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In almost every family, there’s one adult who likes to go into stores and one who would rather wait outside in the car. This not only means not walking around and being bored, but it also means you can pull up and quickly load the groceries and toilet paper. Personally, I’m the adult in the family who’d rather sit in the car and sometimes work.

Even if you’re not trying to work, it can be tough to maintain situational awareness and watch out for carjackers (or other threats) for very long. For this reason, some people drive around parking lots and don’t stop moving while waiting outside. This is a good strategy, but for those of us still burning gas or diesel in our cars (that’s still almost everybody), it’s a costly one. But, it has the benefit of keeping you aware and awake.

But, since my wife likes to spend a long time in stores on some trips, I like to be able to take some work along to do. So, I started gaming things out to see if there was a way to improve a person’s safety while hanging out in the parking lot. The answer I found, and sadly got to test, was the lowly cart corral.

 

By pulling the driver’s side of the car close to the corral, I left very little space for someone to approach the driver’s door. I then left my Chevy Bolt EUV (an EV) in drive, with the parking brake on. I figured that if someone approached the car, they’d have a harder time seeing me, and I’d get a chance to mash the skinny pedal, which automatically disengages the parking brake, letting me get away with one gross motor movement.

In addition to that, I kept the car’s rear camera display on, along with the rear view camera. Then, I held my laptop near the display. This put motion in any direction in my slightly peripheral vision, making it easy to notice anyone approaching the vehicle.

One night, while typing an article, I got to test this system. A man came running up to the car and squeezed between the mirror and the car corral, and then started trying to break my window. So, I did what I had mentally prepared to do and slammed the accelerator. This left the guy with nowhere to go, so he suffered a pretty gnarly leg injury during the attempted carjacking. But, he managed to hobble away and hide somewhere before the police could find him.

Now, I park a lot closer to the cart corral, leaving no room for anybody to get in there. Since then, I’ve seen a few shady characters walk by, stare at the car and the cart corral, and then walk off.

Obviously, not every parking lot is going to be set up where you can do this. But, if you find yourself having to wait for someone, it makes sense to look for ways to make your vehicle harder to approach. If nothing else, backing your car or truck against a wall cuts off the most obvious way to sneak up on you.

We can’t totally go Kevin from Home Alone on these types of people, but anything we can do to plan ahead better than they do and avoid having to shoot someone can make life a lot easier for us and harder for them.

 

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