Wednesday, January 24, 2024

How To Avoid Looking Like a Victim

By Tim Gamble

One dystopian survival skill we all need to develop is the ability to not look like a victim. This is different than situational awareness and being the gray man (blending in), although all three are related skills.

Your quest to not become a victim has two main tactics. First, you must avoid looking like an easy target to the bad guy. Second, you must avoid looking like a rich (high value) target to the bad guy.

1) Avoid looking like an easy target to the bad guy. What can make you appear like an easy target?
  • Not paying attention. Most people simply don't pay attention to what's going on around them. They are focused on their phones, engrossed in their I-Pods, or simply walking about absorbed in their thoughts, rather than paying attention to their surroundings. This makes them appear very vulnerable to the bad guy.
  • Lack of self-confidence. People who lack self-confidence give off an obvious vibe. They slouch, keep their heads down, rarely look right at people, never make eye-contact, and seem to purposely ignore their surroundings. They just want to be unseen, which ironically makes them highly visible to the bad guy. 
  • Looking unable to defend yourself. Whether you have physical infirmities, appear grossly overweight & out-of-shape, or simply carrying an armload of  packages while wearing high heels, if you look like you cannot defend yourself, the bad guy will notice.
  • Loners. To the bad guy, a lone pedestrian or shopper looks like a much easier target than someone with a group of people. 
  • Cover of darkness. Darkness, whether the literal darkness of night or the metaphorical darkness of an isolated or hidden place, gives the bad guy great confidence that they can "get the drop on you" and get away without being seen by other people.
Here are some things to do:
  • Learn and practice situational awareness (read this article please)
  • Don't get distracted by your phone or anything else (pay attention)
  • Walk confidently, head up, and make it obvious you are looking at your surroundings
  • Take a self-defense course (it will improve your self-confidence)
  • Improve your health & fitness
  • Wear practical shoes, clothes
  • Travel, walk, shop in groups
  • Park in a highly visible, well-light location near the entrance
2) Avoid looking like a high-value target to the bad guy. What makes you appear to be a high-value target?
  • Observable value. Are you wearing flashy or expensive clothing? Wearing an expensive watch or jewelry? Driving an expensive car? Live in an expensive neighborhood? The bad guy will take note.
  • Observable behavior. Did you just visit an ATM? Or walk out of a bank? Then the bad guy may assume you now have some extra cash on you. Did you flash a wad of cash while paying for something? The bad guy took note. Think about your actions, what you are actually doing at the moment, and how those actions may appear to a bad guy.
Here are some things to do:
  • Don't wear expensive clothing and accessories, especially when noticeably nicer than what other people are wearing around you. Try to blend in (gray man)
  • Don't drive an expensive car, especially in or near bad areas of town
  • Be careful to not let others see how much money you have on you (especially true whenever you take out your wallet to pay for something)
  • Pay special attention to your surroundings when you are at or just left a bank or ATM, or after getting cash back at a store (watch especially for people who may be following you)
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