Tactical Parking

for Security & Emergency Preparedness

A Tutorial Primer for Civilians


Parking your vehicle with security and emergency preparedness in mind is strategic and encompasses both an art and a science.  By security the reference implied is for considerations of vehicle burglary, vehicle theft, vandalism, and getting in and out of your vehicle with less chance of being robbed or assaulted.  Parking for emergency preparedness implies the considerations of a terrorist attack, earthquake,  or some other man-made or natural disaster wherein frantic disarray and scrambling can mean a disorderly and chaotic evacuation away from a parking lot.

The good news about parking for both security and emergency preparedness is that many of the techniques and considerations of how and where you park just so happen to be the same.  Whether you are parked at home, a busy mall, office lot,  or in an apartment complex, many considerations are universal; whereas others are opportunistic and artistic.

First, lets consider how car burglars and car thieves prefer to operate.  Though there is nothing set in stone, we know that car burglars and thieves generally prefer to “hit” vehicles wherein the vehicle is facing a direction that they can comfortably see a threat while doing their work.  That generally means that the front windshield is facing the home or building wherein the victim or watchful citizens may be inside.  For example, vehicle stereo thieves face the front dashboard while ripping the stereo from the console, as do vehicle thieves who just plain steal the vehicle itself.  The vehicle thieves face the dashboard while doing their work as they break the steering column.  If the they can comfortably see out the front windshield if anyone is spotting them, or a threat is approaching them, that is a plus for them…  They like it.  They do not like to keep having to turn their head around and look behind them, for that also breaks their casual appearance.

How else do they prefer to operate?  A common tactic for vehicle burglars is to casually pull their own vehicle along side the intended “hit” target.  This gives them many advantages.  They can sit in their own vehicle for a few minutes and make sure “the coast is clear” before jumping into your vehicle.  And since vehicle burglars commonly work in teams of two, one person can be ready in the get-away car while the other does break-in and theft.  They like to be close by the get-away car just in case they get spotted, they can jump in the get-away car and scram.  Another advantage of pulling along side the intended hit target is that that they can pretend or have a pretext for being there.  For example, they will often pretend to be talking on their cell phone standing between the get-away car and the intended hit, casually looking inside the intended hit for valuables or to examine the possible security obstacles of the hit target.

Thus, from the above we can already formulate a strategy for parking with security in mind.  We know that we want our front windshield facing away from our home, building, or store that we are inside while away from our vehicle.  So if that means backing in, so be it.  That will make it easier for you to pull out of the space when you leave anyways…  You can do the work now or later;  why not now so you can kill two birds?  The backing in or otherwise facing the vehicle away from your home or building or store that you are inside also compliments emergency preparedness.  You can pull out faster and smoother in a chaotic situation to get your vehicle away from danger.  It is the mark of a security and/or emergency expert to have their vehicle ready to escape in the fastest and most efficient manner.

Further formulating a strategy from the above, we know that if possible, we would want to park in corner parking slots.  That is to say we don’t want to be between two vehicles, or have a vehicle parked on either side of our own vehicle.  Best is generally to have a slot all to ourselves wherein another vehicle can’t park along side of our own.  But since we don’t live in a perfect world, this is seldom possible at a mall, store, or other rather large parking lot.  But it is common to be able to find a slot to at least have one side of our vehicle parked so that another vehicle can’t park beside it. These are slots next to islands, shopping basket return holders, or other corner slots.  And both vehicle burglars and vehicle thieves generally prefer (if they have a choice), to break in on the driver side.  So, this is where the art comes in and it could get tricky… For example, how would you park if you found a corner slot, but yet if you parked with the driver side on the side that another car can’t park beside, that would leave your vehicle with the windshield facing the building that you are going inside…?  True, this can’t always be an exact science.  We only know what is generally the most idealistic of circumstances for the best parking for security.  Again, parking in corner slots is also good for emergency preparedness.  It will help you to remember where you parked in a frantic situation wherein your adrenalin is pumping… the flight-or-flight syndrome will take blood and oxygen away from your brain;  thus forgetting things that you normally would not is easy.  By parking in a corner slot, you also have one less side to worry about too much hitting a pedestrian quickly running to their own car in an emergency situation.

What about the old “common sense” adage about parking under a light?  Well, this may not be such good common sense after all in all situations.  It is definitely an art when you consider that vehicle burglars and vehicle thieves prefer to act casual in case anyone may be watching.  If they have to shine a flashlight inside of a car to see if valuables are inside or to examine security obstacles, or even to see if someone happens to be sitting inside the vehicle… that damages their casual appearance.  The light pole may actually work to their advantage.  However, in consideration of safely getting in and out of your vehicle from being robbed or attacked of your person, parking in well lit areas is generally best.  Of course, parking as close to the door that you will be entering or exiting is also generally best.  So you have to take all these things into consideration and weigh them for the best overall parking technique for the situation.

Parking When Gas Prices
are High and Gas Theft Is of Concern:

  • Park in areas that have high foot traffic if possible; If gas theft is a top concern, try to park next to islands, medians, empty fields, etc.. wherein the side of the gas door is facing such.

  •  If you have multiple vehicles, and perhaps get to park one in a safer place than the other/s (Ex. If you have a one car garage), choose the truck or bigger vehicle to park in such safer place.  Why?  1. The bigger vehicles are more attractive to gas thieves because they tend to have larger gas tanks, and therefore usually more fuel.  2. Cars are harder to get under than tucks or SUVs; the wheel base is lower, so gas thieves that drill or cut fuel lines prefer to hit trucks and SUVs, as they are easier to crawl under.


Outspoked Corner Parking Spot


Slim Parking Lot Island


Tactical security parking techniques

If the building that you will be inside of while away from your vehicle is in the direction that the arrow points toward, which vehicle (#1 or #2) is best parked for security and/or emergency preparedness?  Though #1 has the advantage of the driver side facing the side that another vehicle can’t pull along side of(which is good), #2 is closer to the building, and the above type of island is not preferred because the bricking is high which provides some hiding area for would-be criminals.  For these reasons, #2 is probably more strategically parked.


emergency preparedness parking

Though the above vehicle is parked in the proper direction for security and emergency preparedness in mind, it is parked where two (2) each vehicles can park along side it on either side (not good).  And it is parked farther away from any door than necessary (not good).


tactical car parking

The vehicle on the far right is parked fairly strategically as there is an island on the driver side, and though it is not courteous and not advised in most situations, the space between the truck to the left of it can not practically fit another average sized vehicle between the two.  So the vehicle on the far right, pretty much has the space to itself, at least until the white truck leaves the scene.


backed in security parking

The above car is facing away from the building (good).  Parked in a corner slot –next to an island (good).  The driver side is not on the side that another vehicle can’t pull along side of (not good).  Parked unnecessarily farther away from the building (not good).  But hey, you can seldom have it all your way.


security parking technique

Though the truck on the far right and the bronze car to the left of the truck are both parked in corner slots (good), the edge goes to the truck for having the driver side on the side that another vehicle can’t pull along side of.

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