First, let me just say that the Providence Place Mall is a perfectly adequate mall, provided you're not susceptible to vertigo, in which case the long, narrow, and extremely tall mall with a wide open center is not for you. Regardless, it's easy to find your way around and has all of the requisite stores that you expect in a mall (Apple Store woo hoo!). On the flip side, the Providence Place Mall's parking garage has to rate as one of the worst on the planet. Labyrinthine, narrow, virtually impossible to navigate, capable of hiding whole families, and a multitude of accidents waiting to happen, I dread having to park there.
Such was the case today when I drove into the city to volunteer for the United Way of Rhode Island's Waterfire event. For those who haven't attended one, I heartily recommend Waterfire. Tonight was the kickoff of UWRI's annual campaign and some 150 volunteers would be walking the 1/2 mile Waterfire route to raise awareness.
Anyhow, I park at the mall, close to the end of the Waterfire walk and trek down to the other end where I meet up with my wife and the rest of the UWRI staff and volunteers. After a practice walk down to the location of tonight's "Ring of Fire", a leisurely stroll back to the start, and a brief break we turn around and trek back, this time for real. At the end, we settle down, the torches are lit around the perimeter, the torches are lit out in the river, the music plays, and then it's time for me to head home. I work my way through the dense crowds, trek across to the mall, and then find my way to the sixth circle of hell where my car is parked.
Stepping out into the parking lot, I come to a stop. I was lucky, having found a parking spot directly in front of the doors. From there, I can see a large piece of paper quite conspicuously sticking out of my door for all to see. Hmmmm...I think. Maybe it's a flyer for one of the stores or for an event. So I cross to the car and grab the paper.
"Providence Place Security Tip" it reads.
It would appear that one of the parking garage security personnel was wandering among the cars and spotted my radar detector, which is stuck to the front windshield but very low, just above the dashboard.
OK, I can appreciate the thought. If I'd pulled the radar detector off the window and put it in the glove compartment, perhaps it would reduce the risk of crime.
On the other hand, I can guarantee that virtually no one would have spotted that radar detector except a security guard walking among the cars...or anyone who knew that these prominent pieces of paper fluttering in car doors are clearly identifying exactly which cars have perceived valuables exposed, have unlocked doors, have unlocked trunks, etc.
Basically, in a move designed to raise my awareness of a potential crime risk, my car has just been flagged as a prime stopping point for any ne'er-do-well casing the joint for targets of opportunity.
Fine, next time I'll stash the radar detector but please, Providence Place Mall parking lot cops, I'd appreciate it if you didn't help quite so much next time.