Welcome to a series of posts about awareness! In a previous post, I talked about the importance of having yourself trained in the art of awareness and how it can help save your life. With the next few posts, I will take you through a whole course, to try and teach you the fundamentals of awareness. Use it, don't use it, it's up to you at the end of the day to apply the knowledge or not. Although I wish I could do it for you, unfortunately, I just can't. My only hope, for now, is that you apply it and continuously strive to learn more! Here we go...
Objectives of this series:
The objectives of this series of posts will include the following points:
- Understanding how psychological actions can influence your survival probability
- Improving your ability to evaluate and interact with your environment to increase your chances of survival in a life-threatening situation
- Reading the signs
Understanding the background:
Like any other important topic, we need to look deeper into the background of awareness. To make it simple, you need to understand that criminals feed off of individuals' awareness, or the lack thereof anyway. They will generally wait for an opportunity where your awareness has been dropped or create a situation that causes your awareness level to be more relaxed or even completely sucker punch you both literally and figuratively.
There are 3 stages through which criminals would generally work through in anticipation of an attack:
- The Attack
Let's dive into it:
Selection: So as discussed earlier, criminals would want to choose a target that is "easy" to quickly and efficiently attack. Meaning, they want to get what they want/need, get it with ease and as little resistance as possible, with the least likelihood of being caught or injured and with the highest risk to reward ratio they can get. And to achieve that, they have to carefully select their targets or create a scenario that gives them less risk and more reward.
The factors of the selection phase will vary from each situation, some criminals might not be afraid to get into a scuff, whilst others do not even want to be seen, more dangerous criminals simply might not give a damn and go all out Rambo on your ass just because they think they will easily take you down with their physical ability or even a more intellectual approach.
I cannot stretch enough the fact that criminals are not just "chancers" anymore and that they have evolved crime into a very lucrative business, and they will continue to do so for as long as crime exists! You increasingly see police officers, firemen, lawyers, security contractors, and even politicians getting involved in crime. And that just goes to show that, as always, crime pays! And more professionally trained individuals to join in. Just as we as protectors learn incredibly advanced skills to curb crime, they too can be well trained, especially with technology now bringing a ton of information right to your fingertips!
Positioning: After the target has been selected, the perpetrator will now work himself into the perfect position of opportunity. The positioning phase will feed of the selection phase in terms of what angle he might use with the least amount of risk and the highest chance of success. By positioning himself into the best angle of approach, he can be able to act swiftly and with great accuracy. Take for instance a man running down a crowded mall, clapping his shoes on the hard tiled floor, running toward a group of men that immediately notice him coming, his chances of successfully stealing something from one of the men are not too great are they? They will probably notice him from a distance. Now, take someone who is blending in with the crowd at a normal pace, right behind an old lady which has her purse loosely hanging from one arm....which provides the best opportunity? Grabbing the purse and then only to start running into a pre-planned escape route will be more challenging to block, right?.
The attack: Now he has his target set into sight, and he is positioned perfectly to his advantage, all that needs to happen now is proceeding with the attack. The attack might not necessarily be a physical pounding of a poor old lady's face, but maybe just jerking a purse hard enough to cause her to panic or jump into a state of fear. The more aggression an attacker shows, the more likely someone would be to co-operate. The attack again has many different varying factors, it might be lethal or non-lethal, it might include a weapon of some kind or it might just be a verbal assault or perhaps a persuasion that he has a lethal weapon on him which he does not. Think for instance the same guy had to walk up to the old lady, press his thumb into her thigh and demand the purse, or else he would drive the "thumb-knife" through her.
So how is all of this relevant to your awareness? Well, as you can see, there is a process that a perpetrator goes through before actually committing to a criminal act, that requires some time to go through. And, given that you know how to read these signs, you might curb his intentions by counter-acting his actions or at least buy yourself more time. You see someone observing you, you counter, you notice someone might be pulling up into a unique position, you act on it. You notice an attack is being made on you, well you have some time to re-position yourself and increase your chances of survival or escape.
This is part of a series of posts on awareness, be sure to check out the next post, where I'll explain the difference between soft and hard targets and how to make yourself less "attractive" to criminals.
“Once there is seeing, there must be acting. With mindfulness, we know what to do and what not to do to help.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh