The following are a few thoughts about how to decrease your chances of being a victim of a violent crime. I know a lot of times we focus on the nuts and bolts of a fight and we assume most of us know these things and this information is common knowledge for some of you, but it some times it's always good to review.
Your assailant has to get close to you. No matter what, in order for anyone to impose his will on you, he has to get next to you. Here are a few ways to get a criminal to select someone else.
1. Always survey the area you are walking.
2. Look for street lights that are out.
3. Look in the cars parked next to you, do you notice anyone sitting in the car parked next to you.
4. Vans with sliding doors that face your car make for a good way to take you out of the area quickly.
5. Look under your car. A few years ago criminals would hid under vehicles, slash the ankles of the owner of the car with a razor while an accomplice would secure the keys, money and valuables of the victim.
6. Don't pass by alley or door ways too closely. Give a wide birth when walking by.
7. Don't walk next to parked cars. I know this may get a little difficult, but give about 6 feet between you and cars parked in a parking garage.
Don't be distracted.
1. Good victims are preoccupied. If you are over burdened with bags and children, you will make a good target.
2. Do you look lost? Trying to figure out where you are going and looking around and cursing is a good tip-off that you're not paying attention.
3. Have your keys ready to go and have a plan to get the kids and the packages stowed away.
Know your environment.
1. If you are not familiar with the area, especially cities, the street you are on may change from morning to evening. What was a busy business district in the morning; may be a wasteland come 11:00pm. So know where you are and if its unfamiliar to you, leave at the same time of day that you arrived.
2. Buy a map and have a course mapped out.
When you're driving?
1. Leave enough space in front of you to pull out if you had to.
2. Constantly check mirrors and briefly check the surrounding cars.
3. If you are bumped while driving. Dial 9-1-1 and drive to the police station. You don't have to stay there and get out of your car to survey the damage. If you can get a license plate, good. But you're not obligated to stay there. You are obligated to contact the police.
4. Keep your tank full if you are going someplace unfamiliar.
5. Always consult a map. Map quest is well, map quest.
Three of the most common dodges that are used for setting you up:
1. Do you have a match?
2. Do you have any change?
3. Do you have the time?
4. Can you give me some directions?
All of these are designed to do two things, occupy your eyes and your hands. Answers to the above questions
1. No I don't smoke (even if you have a cigarette hanging out of your mouth)
3. No (even if you are wearing a watch)
4. I'm not from here.
Never stop, keep walking and keep moving. If the person asking the question keeps persisting, then they want more than the time.
An ounce of prevention?
1. If you carry w weapon have your hand on it, and have some back ups secreted on your person.
2. Don't depend on pepper spray and stun guns to end the assault. Do expect them to give you an opening to escape.
3. If you feel you are being followed:
a. Get ready to defend your self. Place your hand on your weapon of choice.
b. Mark 'em. Make brief eye contact, even if it means turning around
c. Change direction and pick up the pace.
d. Duck in to a public place.
e. Call police (even if you are a little paranoid, its OK)
4. Practice drills in you head.
a. What if my car was approached, how do I get out of here?
b. Am I boxed in, what are my avenues of escape?
c. Practice dialing 9-1-1. (Disconnect the phone). Have your kids practice it. You would be surprised how many people under stress dial 4-1-1.
d. Do you have a safe room in your house? The bathroom is a good one. One entrance. A small or no window. Put a few choice weapons hidden in there as well. Practice getting the kids together going in the bathroom, locking the door and dialing 9-1-1. You don't have to do this all of the time; a few times a year is enough?
e. What about a fire? Pick a spot to meet and have a fire drill. Same thing, only about once a year. Does each room have a safety ladder? (Note: don't leave the ladder accessible from the outside; it's a good way to give access to your home. you may have to employ drill "d."
The list isn't all inclusive, but I'm sure you get the idea. I could write a book on Home Safety, but its been done and its not my thing.
Just remember a little bit of paranoia goes a long way.
Damian Ross is the owner of Zenshin and instructor of Tekkenryu jujutsu and Kodokan Judo. He started competing in the combative sport of wrestling in 1975 at the age of 7 and began his study of Asian martial arts with Moo Duk Kwan Tae Kwon Do at the age of 16 in 1984. In 1989, Shinan Cestari gave a seminar at Sensei Ross's dojo. Sensei Ross has trained under Shinan Cestari's direction ever since. In addition to Tekkenryu Jujutsu, Judo and Tae Kwon Do, Sensei Ross has also studied Bando. Sensei Ross continues his study of Judo under the direction of 8th degree black belt Yoshisada Yonezuka and Tekkenryu Jujutsu under it's founder, Carl Cestari. Below are is a list of some of his title ranks:
Yodan (fourth degree black belt) Tekkenryu Jujutsu under Carl Cestari
Shodan (First degree black belt) Kodokan Judo under Yoshisada Yonezuka
Varsity Wrestling Lehigh University under Thad Turner
2nd Degree Black Belt Tae Kwon Do