You can use your car's key-chain remote emergency button alarm (or panic button) in a parking lot or parking garage to help ward off predators – and do the same at home. You already have one in-hand when going to and from your car. Here's how to get the most benefit from it:
Most cars made since the late 1990’s have a key ring that attaches to a remote entry system transmitter used to lock/unlock your car. It also has a red emergency (panic button) alarm that will sound your car’s horn to help you find where you left your car in a large parking lot.
Far more important, it can also summon help in an emergency, such as during a heart attack – or during a criminal attack. Most predators fear noise, witnesses, rescuers.
But remember that each car’s emergency button is unique. Some work only from a short distance; some work well from a long distance. Or obstacles in a parking lot might block the radio wave signal.
Test yours to see how well it works in parking lots from various distances. Also test it inside your home to see if your walls block the signal to your car. If so, it might work through window glass.
If your emergency button works well from your bedside, you can keep it there when you sleep. If you hear a noise outside or someone trying to get into your home, just press your button. Predators likely will flee; they don’t want concerned neighbors as witnesses – plus they’ll know you’re now on your guard.
It’s certainly not the best “home burglar alarm,” but it’s better than nothing – and you already own it. (Better yet, see Burglary Prevention.)
Simply make it a habit to always keep your finger on your car key’s button whenever you’re going to or from your car. Why not? Your keys are always in-hand anyway when you deal with your car, so you might as well take advantage of the built-in safety feature. It’s easy.
Your car key’s button might help you in an emergency, but it does have distance limitations – it works only when you’re near your car. It’s useless if you’re too far away or if an obstacle blocks the radio signal.
Another drawback is that your car’s horn may be honking urgently while you’re being attacked 100 feet away from your car. Witnesses might be looking at your car and not seeing what’s happening to you.
Do you want better protection?
The shriek of a personal alarm pinpoints your exact location for witnesses. Many predators simply flee at that point, and few would chase after anyone running away toward witnesses while making a hellacious racket. Most predators want easy prey.
And you can use a personal security alarm wherever you go – not just when you’re near your car.
If your local laws allow, you can also carry pepper spray. Attach it to your key chain so it’ll be in-hand and ready whenever you’re going to or from your car. (But remember to leave it at home before you visit airports or other restricted areas, of course).
Also carry them whenever you're walking to or from your car – to defend against a carjacking, mugging, or home - mug-in - that's when a victim is forced at gunpoint to go into their home with the attacker (being outdoors helps neighbors see what's happening).
You’ll help deter predators by making it obvious that you’re carrying pepper spray (and/or a screamer) – held at shoulder height and very ready to use. Predators prefer distracted, unprepared victims. It's better for you to appear alert, confident, and ready - instead of looking like easy prey.
What if the predator has a gun? See kidnapping escape.