He Came Out of Nowhere…

May 25th, 20121 Comment

I had an interesting conversation recently with the victim of an armed robbery.  She was at a self service car wash when a criminal appeared out of nowhere, stuck a gun in her face, and demanded her money.  Fortunately, all the criminal wanted was the money and the victim survived the ordeal a bit shaken and wiser. It could have been so much worse.

A fellow self defense trainer recently related another story.  He was walking into a convenience store when he saw one of his daughter’s teachers.  The teacher popped out of her car with her phone to her ear, walked right past my friend and into the store.  My friend was a bit surprised, so he stood by the door of the teacher’s car and waited.  The teacher came out of the store a few minutes later, still talking on the phone, opened her car and got in.  Not once did she realize he was standing less than five feet away.  In fact, she didn’t even know he was there until he knocked on her window to caution her to be more careful.

Criminals don’t materialize out of nowhere.  They are there all the time, watching and waiting for the moment to strike.  Often the victim is so wrapped up with what they are doing, so blind to their surroundings, that they don’t see the danger until it is too late.  The criminals chose them for a reason.  They weren’t paying attention.

The number one tactic for dealing with crime is to avoid it, and the best way to avoid it is to pay attention to what is going on around you!  Criminals don’t want to fight and they don’t want to give their victims time to sound the alarm.  Their preferred tactic is surprise.  If they can’t surprise you then they’ll often choose someone else.  So do yourself a favor and learn to watch your surroundings.

The simplest way to improve your awareness is to put the cell phone down.  When you are engrossed in a conversation, you aren’t paying attention.  Texting and email are even worse.  Multitasking is a myth.  It doesn’t work.  One of the tasks has to suffer and it is usually your awareness.  If you are talking in your car (hopefully with a handsfree device), stay in your car until you are done.  Then take a good look around before you get out.  If you must talk while you are on the street, then stop, put you back against the wall, and finish your call as quickly as possible.  Cell phones are great tools, but they are the enemy of safety and security.

Our cars offer criminals countless opportunities to sneak up on us.  We’re in our own little world inside the car and we feel safe and secure.  Unfortunately, we really aren’t.  Carjackings are a daily occurrence in Arizona and elsewhere, and again the criminals prefer the element of surprise.  All you need to do is lock your car and pay attention to people that are approaching.  It’s so simple yet so few people do it.  Pay particular attention when you are leaving and approaching your car.  Take a moment to look around, especially if you are loaded down with shopping bags!

Improving your awareness is the best way to improve your safety.  Best of all, awareness is free and incredibly effective.  Give yourself a fighting chance; don’t let the criminal “appear out of nowhere!”

© 2012, mjshozda. All rights reserved.

One Response to “He Came Out of Nowhere…”

  1. SchemaByte says:

    Good points and well-written, thank you. The only addition to it I would make is to note that vulnerability is also a function of where and when you choose to conduct your business; you’re far more likely to be targeted visiting an ATM at 3am than noon. So in addition to being aware of what’s around you, have a bit of foresight so that you can avoid having to, for example, stop for gas at that lonely little gas station between towns.

    Or, put another away, let your awareness cover a bit of the future too, eh. =)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.