I generally try to park on an end spot or a curb or other barrier on one side and/or under a light if possible. Depending on the location, I may try to stay in the crowded area or in a sparse more distant area.
I’m driving the full-length dually so the general rule is park where I won’t get blocked in and can pull forward instead of having to back out.
At the larger stores, I’ll park next to the shopping cart corrals if there’s a spot open… more room to park in and not get wedged too tight. It’s an old truck, so I’m not worried about cart dings.
Other factors… facing an exit, under a light, and where I can easily find it. Because its a big beast, likely I’m parking out.
At the gas station, the pump that has me facing the exit with no one in front of me.
If I have to park in a parking tower, top floor under a light near the elevator. The Northridge quake and people trapped in collapsed structures pinned in their cars for days and having to have their limbs amputated to be extracted… yeah that one left a mark. If I have to park in a parking tower, there’s a good chance I’m not going.
With my age, background etc I don’t worry a whole lot about it unless I’m in a strange city or dangerous area in general particularly after dark.
For most people in general… .
Avoid high crime areas if at all possible.
Park in well lit areas with easy access in the transitional spaces between your car and your objective.
Make a lap around the parking lot before parking if you can looking for the best parking spot and assessing.
If something makes the hair on the back of your neck leave.
If you have kids, plan on carrying a big load of groceries etc on the way back close and well lit becomes even more important.
If you have a big load of stuff coming back to the car use a cart if you can. The cart helps keep your hands free and provides movable space you can use to keep distance between you and a potential attacker.
Always keep your wits about you and your head on a swivel in transitional spaces. Walking with your head down texting etc makes you an attractive target.
I have to chuckle, moving from the San Andreas to the New Madrid… . Hmm At least half of MO isn’t likely to break off and fall into the MO or MS.
Yeah. And the New Madrid is way overdue.
It’s never very active but as I recall they’ve had a good shaker or two in the last decade so maybe you’ll get lucky because the clock reset.