Street Crime Prevention
Street Crime Prevention
Chris McGoey (President, McGoey Security Consulting) gives expert video advice on: How can I modify my behavior to avoid becoming a victim of violent crime?; When walking alone, how can I make myself safer?; Can a weapon protect me from violent crime? and more...
What can make a predator perceive me as a victim?
When you're out in public, you could either be viewed as a potential victim or not a good choice for a predator. It all depends on how you handle yourself, how you appear and how you're dressed. Sometimes as simple as how you walk. Let me give you an example: If you pull into a parking lot, you could pull in and park in the space and you could be very alert. Before you get out of the car you look all around, make sure there's no young men standing around within 100 feet, for example. You can get in and out of your car quickly. You could walk with authority to your destination, and again, be alert of your surroundings. The opposite of that is, pulling into a parking space, opening your car door, let it stand open while you're gathering packages and bags, talking on the cell phone, going into the truck of your car with your back to the world, and just not paying attention to your surroundings. Those are the kinds of people predators like and they look for those kinds of people. They will wait until they find one of those. If you know what predators look for you can decide whether you're going to be a victim or not.
Does my clothing affect a predator's perception of me?
How a person appears and what they're wearing can make a difference. Predators identify targets by evaluating how vulnerable they are, for whatever reason. If you're in a badly-lit parking lot, late at night, wearing high-heels and a cocktail dress then you're not going to be able to run and you're not going to be able to fight back. Elderly people are also potential victims, often identifiable by the way they dress or the things they carry. It goes without saying that wearing expensive clothing, displaying expensive jewelry and having money on show are all going to increase your desirability as far a predator is concerned.
What safety precautions can I take before leaving the house?
Before you leave the house you really need to plan what you are going to do that day and what precautions you may need to take. For example, if you're driving downtown in the big city you might want to prepare yourself differently than if you're going out to a rural location or social gathering. You need to consider what you are going to take when you leave the house, and whether it's necessary. A large bag would attract more attention than a small bag, high-heels limit your mobility and expensive jewelry could make you a target for thieves; finding a balance between necessity and practicality is key.
Can a weapon protect me from violent crime?
The best weapon is between your ears, frankly, thinking and planning and making decisions. Not doing stupid things, going to stupid places at the wrong time. Let's say this bottle here is a can of pepper spray. The fact that someone brings pepper spray - before they get out of the car they're at the state of mind to pick up the pepper spray, open the cap, put their finger on it. Guess what they've done? They've put themselves on high alert. Right? Their paranoia level is up here. So when they get out into that parking lot, they're already wide…full alert, so they don't need this pepper spray anymore. The people who put pepper spray in their bag are the ones who go through life unaware and oblivious to the world around them. Then when something goes down, then they try to reach in their bag or wherever they put their pepper spray and try to get it out in time. Well it's too late and therefore it's not effective. They end up spraying themselves or spraying the inside of their purse more times than not. So it's the same way with any weapon. If you carry anything that's perceived as a weapon, if you arm yourself, you're sort of telling yourself in your brain, that, “I need to be alert.” So that's why I think they're not necessary. If the place you're going to is truly dangerous, truly dangerous, where you need a weapon, you shouldn't be going there, or you shouldn't be going there by yourself, or at the time of day you want to go there.
Should I take a self-defense class?
I'm often asked the question "Should I take a self-defence class, so when I'm out in public I can defend myself?". My answer always is "Sure. It's exercise. It can't hurt. It'll help get you in shape, maybe it'll help you lose a few pounds. By all means takes a self-defence class". In reality it is probably not likely that you are going to be going into a fighting stance as learnt in self defence class when someone comes up to you and successfully defend yourself. Unless you have years and years of self defence training, fully prepared to take a blow, to deliver a blow, you feel comfortable doing that, then taking self defence class might do you some good, but for the average person your best self-defence weapon is right here, right between your ears and knowing when to turn around and retreat and knowing when not to go to that dangerous place in the first place and knowing when to make better decisions. Sometimes it's not a good idea to stand up and take on somebody, to try to win and beat them, as demonstrated in some self defence classes.