There’s a moment prior to attack when violent criminals have questions and get answers from potential victims. In a personal safety video called, “Street Safe,” featuring “Ol’ School” crime prevention specialist Mark Mac Young, this moment is compared to an interview process. Criminals and potential victims don’t really conduct a “question and answer” session yet there are similarities between what happens in the street and what goes on in a conference room. I figured we’d compare the two to display the manner in which a violent criminals size up their prey.
The First Impression
In a business interview, a representative of your potential employer would look at your demeanor and consider your attention to detail concerning your style of dress. They may listen to what you have to say but the impression greatly determines if there’s true consideration or if the remainder of the interview is only a formality.
When a violent criminal is on the prowl and considers you for his or her next conquest, the first impression matters even more. In this case, you no longer want to be considered for the position. Rely on the “old faithful” of violent crime prevention…situational awareness. This is definitely the first thing a violent criminal will look for. They prefer the element of surprise. A victim that can see the attack coming may have time to implement some form of defense. Awareness may flunk you almost immediately, which would be great. Next, they’ll consider your style of dress. Is there room to conceal weapons? Are you displaying property they feel they could easily take? Is your movement restricted? Can they use what you’re wearing to their advantage? Lastly, they may consider your location. Are you isolated, concealed, or otherwise in a position where their success is likely and your escape isn’t? Take a look at the first photo above. It was featured in my “Fast-fingered Predators” article when my first impression was similar to that of someone who appeared to be a pickpocket (in red). Both of us noticed an unattentive tourist with a bulging wallet.
In a conference room, your resume will be viewed with a discerning eye while you’re asked to detail your work history and life experience. And of course it’s important that you take your experiences and relate them to the position.
Regarding violent crime prevention, you want to fail this part if your first impression makes you worthy of victimization. Are you taking short cuts down dark passageways and alleys? When asked a question by “shady-looking” strangers do you display welcoming and trusting body language? Do you appear to be the type that walks into traps? If so, you’ll pass this section with flying colors…to your detriment. In the photo above are two individuals common to certain areas of Las Vegas that usually pass this section with ease. Prostitutes would unfortunately answer affirmatively to all of the above questions because they are obviously experienced in walking into traps when avoiding law enforcement and making illegal contact with “clients.”
In the business world, they may also ask about your interpersonal skills, ability to multitask, or even your ability to utilize certain electronics, machinery, or computer software.
A violent criminal will inquire regarding your posture waiting for your movements to answer questions. Do you carry yourself well and with confidence? Regardless of your size, do you appear capable of handling yourself? Looking as if you can put up a fight if forced or you’re protective of personal property may deter potential offenders.
Anything else to add?
A potential employer may want to hear that you’re an active learner or that you’re thankful for the opportunity to compete for the position. You definitely want to add something if you expect to be memorable.
You don’t want to be memorable to a potential attacker. If you pass, your friendly neighborhood mugger will attack and you will have one last chance to stop them. You could hold them off with some form of self-defense, deploy a self-defense tool, or implement my personal favorite…the Nike defense. Just like a business interview, you definitely want to add something if you regrettably make it this far in the process.
I hope these tips and my quirky way of presenting this week helps with an understanding that as you’re sized up in other facets of life, a potential attacker will size you up as well. Consider the manner in which you carry yourself, because they may be watching.