Be aware, be safe in parking lots, police say

Published 8:21 pm Friday, April 11, 2014

Since the recent arrest of a man charged with soliciting sexual acts in the parking lot of a Troy shopping center, parking lot safety has been on the minds of many.
The Troy Police Department charged Brundidge resident Shelby Lee Green, 48, with prostitution, March 28.
He had left a note on a woman’s vehicle offering to pay her to engage in a sexual act.
Lt. Bryan Weed of the Troy Police Department said the case is still under investigation and no additional charges have been filed against Green.
The victim waited two weeks to report Green’s note. Weed said it was important to report any incident that makes a person feel uncomfortable or threatened as quickly as possible.
Weed had other tips that could prevent shoppers from becoming a victim of robberies, assaults or solicitations.
“One thing would be for people to try to park in well-lit areas, being mindful of who may be in the parking lot,” Weed said.
“And when you’re going to your car, always have your keys in your hand so that you are not standing outside of your vehicle, digging through your purse.”
If a suspicious person is spotted, he recommended making note of the person’s attire and features and reporting the incident immediately.
That report could save someone’s life.
Anyone who felt he was being followed could try taking an indirect route to his vehicle and seeing if anyone follows or if the feeling dissipates.
Those feelings of discomfort are a natural response to fear and trusting one’s instincts is never a bad idea.
“If they feel uncomfortable in their car, don’t get out,” Weed added.
Anyone can call the police department’s non-emergency line (566-0500) and request an escort to a vehicle or for an officer to ride through the parking lot.
“They’d be more than happy to do that,” he said.
People should avoid leaving anything of value in plain sight. Weed recommended using the trunk.
Shopping in Troy is no more dangerous than it has ever been.
Preventing a crime can often be as simple as paying attention. “The biggest thing is for folks to be aware who’s around them and to look people in the face. It’s not getting that tunnel vision,” he added. “Be aware of the environment.”

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