The type of attack- think predatory meaning the person wants something from you and plans to take it from you or harm you with the intent of not getting caught. The process leading up to the attack being different than a situation of irrational, emotionally fueled anger, i.e. a road-rage event where the person could be less concerned with getting caught because of the attack being emotionally charged.
Look- whether or not the intended victim is aware, there is a phase where the attacker is looking them over.
Assess-upon looking the person over, an assessment is made as to whether or not to attack. This could be predetermined or have variables factored in. Predetermined meaning, the next person walking down this alleyway is getting mugged. Variables to be considered by the attacker: how likely is it that I will get caught? Is she an easy target? Lacking awareness, head down, fixated on phone, alone, not physically imposing.
Kick your ass- if the decision is made to attack you, the attacker may attack you immediately without warning or may utilize some dialogue to set up the attack. The dialogue could be deceptive in nature, such as a distraction, or aggressive and demanding. The physical attack is not intended to be a back-and-forth ordeal like on TV or the movies. If you take a look at predatory attacks captured on CCTV with a broad span of the area, you will see that things happen fast. When the decision is made the bad guys are in-action and moving with ferocity and aggression, potentially with weapons or multiple attackers if the resources are present. A criminal who does not want to get caught or hurt is not looking for a fair fight. Lee Morrison discusses these stages as: an elongated stare, the attacker attempts to make contact, then ambushes or attacks out of deception.
One of your front line preventative measures against this model of behavior is your situational awareness, which is how you take in information and analyze the world around you.
Be particularly in tune with your awareness in locations where attacks are more frequent, for example, areas that people come and go from easily: gas stations, ATMs, convenience stores, bus stops, metro stations, parking lots. Other areas of particular concern areas just off the beaten path: streets, parking lots, and structures that are right off of higher traffic areas, where someone could more easily attack from a more discrete area with less risk of getting caught.
Pre-planning: with today’s world of GPS, Google maps, Google Earth, etc., it is easier to assess new places that you have to travel to and get an idea of the layout prior to your arrival.
- Where could you park that’s close to your location and appears to be safe relative to where you are going?
- What is the best route for walking from that metro station to the building you need to get to?
- If you have to grocery shop at night: ladies, consider asking the grocery bagger to walk you to your car.
In the moment: assess your immediate environment.
- Are you in a high-crime neighborhood? Is this area sketchy?
- Is it dark outside?
- Do you see anyone that makes you uncomfortable-for example: someone looking at you more than or differently than the norm, or that gives you the creeps.
- Look for things that give you a bad vibe or require more investigation
- If you get an unsettling feeling and you have the ability to remove yourself, get out of there!
- When getting away prior to contact is not an option you may have to escalate to other measures which could be verbal or physical depending on your situation
A little bit of planning and thought ahead of time goes a long ways towards keeping you safe and preventing situations that could be avoided by staying in tune with your world.
Train smart, keep learning, & stay safe,
NOVA Self Defense