Christmas shoppers are packing malls across the nation, but there is potential danger lurking as you head back to your car through the stark, echoing, parking garage.
That concern is especially real following a horrific Christmas-time tragedy at an upscale mall in New Jersey.
With holiday shopping in full swing, how can you stay safe in the mall parking lot?
Security expert Steve Kardian gave INSIDE EDITION's Megan Alexander some potentially lifesaving tips.
Kardian said, "Look, listen, and believe your intuition. If it doesn't feel right, go back into the store."
Kardian says one way of foiling attackers is right in your hand. He said, "Even if you feel uncomfortable, hit the panic button, they don't like noise, it attracts attention. Go be with people, go to people, and stay with people."
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You can minimize the danger by avoiding shopping at certain times of day.
He said, "A majority of these types of crimes happen between 3p.m. and midnight. Two-thirds of all carjackings occur between that time period. That is a high risk time. Try not to be out during that time period."
INSIDE EDITION’s Victoria Recano also got some safety advice from Kathleen Beatty of SafetyChick.com.
Beatty told Recano what the ideal parking spot is. She said, "It is well lit and close to the entrance, so it is a great spot. Another tip is because we are so crazed and you go to the mall and not remember where you parked, since everyone has a smartphone, take a picture of where you parked. Take a picture of Row C, Level 1, so you don't forget."
And here's another safety tip for when you come back to the car.
"What you want to do is search your car as you comes near it. You want to make sure that no one is hiding around or underneath it. Make sure you put all of your packages in your trunk. You do not want to leave them in the backseat of your car and it will avoid a smash and grab."
Valuable tips for beating the perils of the parking garage.