How Predators Choose Their Target

“There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory acts of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.

“However, when there were cues given by potential victims that indicated they would not go easily, the cons said that they would walk away. If the cons sensed that the target was a ‘counter-predator’, that is a sheepdog, they would leave him alone unless there was no other choice but to engage.”

Lt. Col. David Grossman

Awareness for Self-Defense: It’s the People You Need to Watch

Most of the “common-sense” sort of self-defense includes some variation of the theme, “be aware of your surroundings and look for something out of place”.

We like to recommend something more specific and recommend that you watch the people in your surroundings.

Case in point: a weekend at one of the big box retailers.  Lots of people coming and going through the doors of the business with the corresponding volume of traffic in the parking lot.   About midday, tons of happy people walking.  Sunny and warm.

The ‘surroundings’ and the general environment were totally normal.  Almost festive.  If you simply vibed your surroundings, it all seemed normal and totally harmless.

Except for one car.

A car that blended well into the kind of crowd coming and going.  Nothing remarkable about it at all, except that it passed by the front of the store three times which is not normal.  Unless it’s someone waiting and trying to pick up a shopper coming out the front door.  But this car was stopping and talking with random people in the parking lot.  Wait — not just random people — only women.  And the women’s reactions seemed to be less than cordial to the driver.

What could possibly be going on?  Whatever it was, I’m not taking changes.  I wrote down the license plate number and the description of the vehicle.  Then I asked an employee to call the store manager.  I explained the situation quickly and pointed out the car.

The store manager walked out into the parking lot to investigate which prompted the car to speed away.  Probably a good indication that the driver’s motives were not entirely innocent.

Because parking lots are high-risk, transitory areas, it is particularly important to be aware of who is moving through them and who seems to be ‘hunting’ for prey (and not just hunting for a parking spot).

It’s the people you need to watch — not the environment.

This a revised post which originally appeared on the Defend University website which now does not feature articles.