The laws which govern our society came about because the majority of us believe in certain moral standards. By definition that means a minority of us do not. Within that minority a majority will follow the rules even if they disagree with them. These two majorities are law abiding citizens. The remainder does not hold to our moral standards and refuse to abide by them regardless of the consequences. They are society’s criminals.
As law abiding citizens we fall into the trap of believing the rules will protect us and assume that everyone else will do the same. Most victims of violent crime feel it was a random act against them there was no discernable reason why they were attacked. For example the Knockout Craze where thugs would apparently target a random member of the public and attempt to knock them out with a single blow. WellNEWS FLASH these were not random attacks. To understand this you have to think like a criminal.
Criminals for the main part understand that what they are doing is illegal and will have consequences should they get caught so they have criteria for selecting their victims. If you fit those criteria you may be chosen. So what are they looking for?
- Speed – They want this over and done with as fast as possible. Once the attack starts, the longer it takes the greater chance of the alarm being raised and them being caught.
- Surprise – Can they take you unaware? The chance of you submitting quickly is far greater if they take you by surprise.
- Proximity – Can they get up close to you? If they get close enough they can surprise and subdue you with overwhelming force and violence or bring a weapon such as a knife into play.
- Witnesses – Will they be observed? They don’t want bystanders interfering or alerting police.
So now that we understand the criminal’s requirements, do you think the knockout victims were truly random? The good news is that with this understanding we can formulate strategies to prevent ourselves or our homes from being selected as targets.
Outside Your Home – We are at our most vulnerable when we are outside of our home as there are many variables we cannot control. Streets are busy so often we have no choice but to let people get close to us so our best defenses are Planning, Awareness and Posture. Incorporating these strategies will greatly reduce our chances of being selected.
- Planning – Try to avoid places where you will be isolated and vulnerable. Know where your escape routes are and where safe areas you can retreat to are. If you are at a crowded location try to stay on the edge of the crowd it makes it easier to escape should you have to and limits approach angles for possible attackers.
- Awareness – This simply means paying attention to who and what is around you. If have your ear buds in listening to your music and texting you are oblivious to what is going on around you. You automatically fulfill the first three requirements to be a victim. Imagine a 30 yard diameter circle around you. You should be paying attention to everyone who enters that circle. Make brief eye contact to let them know you see them. If they appear in anyway focused on you or you feel in the least nervous about them you can move away and keep them at a distance. Give yourself time to think and to escape or summon assistance.
- Posture – Animals posture to deter threats they puff themselves up, strut, display bright colors, growl or squawk loudly. You can use posture to deter an attacker. Walk at a brisk pace with your head up. Make brief eye contact with everyone in your circle. If someone approaches you speak confidently and make good eye contact. Look like someone who is confident and observant. Remember they want to get close and overpower you quickly if they can’t they will probably look for an easier target.
Adopting these three simple strategies does not take a huge amount of effort but can vastly reduce your chances of becoming a victim. In my next post we will discuss strategies for making your home less attractive to a criminal.