Parking lots are designed for vehicles and not pedestrians. Therefore, hazards are everywhere.


girl in parking lot in dark
Pedestrians can make themselves easy targets in parking lots and not even realize it.

Parking Lot Safety

The University of West Florida has many parking lots throughout campus.  Maintaining security in the lots is very important to us but we need the help of the entire university community to keep our students, employees, and vehicles safe.  The following tips are provided to help us all stay safe when parking on campus.

  • Always lock your vehicle, both when you’re driving and once you’ve parked.

  • Keep your windows rolled up.

  • Park in a well lit area, never in a dark or secluded spot.

  • Avoid parking next to the side of a van that has a sliding door. 

  • Back into a parking space if possible, so that you can exit quickly if needed.

  • Don’t leave your keys in the ignition.

  • Don’t leave valuables in the vehicle, unless they are secured in the trunk.  If you secure your belongings in the trunk, make sure no one is watching you store them there.  Many trunks can be accessed by pushing a release button inside the car, and a thief will break into your car in order to access the trunk area if it is worth his/her effort.

  • When you get ready to park your car, scan the area for anyone or anything suspicious.

  • Keep your cell phone in a pocket, or somewhere easily accessible.

  • Don’t exit your vehicle if you see anything suspicious.  Call UWFPD at 850-474-2415 to report your observations and wait for an officer to arrive and check out the situation.

  • When you are returning to your vehicle, be observant of anyone or anything suspicious. If you see someone suspicious, go to a safe area and call UWFPD at 850-474-2415.

  • When approaching your vehicle hold your keys in your hand the way you would hold a screwdriver. Don’t lace them through your fingers, as this can hurt your fingers.   The keys can be used in a striking or slashing motion, if necessary.

  • Wear comfortable shoes when walking to your car, so that you could run if necessary.

  • Before you enter your vehicle, visually scan the vehicle interior as you approach to make sure that no one is hiding underneath or inside of the vehicle.

  • If you are alone when returning to your vehicle at night, call the UWFPD to request an escort.  It is safer to walk with someone trustworthy than to walk by yourself.

  • If you see someone tamper or damage someone else’s vehicle, call UWFPD at 850-474-2415.  

Remember - there are 22 police officers trying to keep over 12,000 students, faculty and staff members safe.   Please help us help you by reporting any crimes or suspicious activity that you see. Working together, we will keep our university a safe place to live and work.

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