Don't be a Victim

Jade Tigress

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Interesting article.

Some factors that make people potential victims are obviousflashing wads of cash, wearing expensive jewelry, walking alone on back streets. Others are subtler, including posture, walking style, even the ability to read facial expressions.

They generally mention subtler reasons, what do you all think some of the specifics are. For example, posture...stand tall, don't slouch, watch where you're going, don't be looking at the ground. Walking style...walk with purpose, ie: you know where you're going. What are others that come to mind?

Would you recommend eye contact? What type of eye contact? I have some thoughts on that but would like to hear others.
 

searcher

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The NRA actually has a class that they offer called, Refuse To Be A Victim. And the material in that class covers a bunch of the things that they mention and quite a bit more. Thanks for putting this up.
 

grydth

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Now, if there were to be say, a very serious tree shortage... would somebody - let's just use imaginary initials like XS or something - be able to use this article to feign being an ideal victim.... to attract unsuspecting criminals to their demise?

Hypothetically.

:dalek:
 

Deaf Smith

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A study was done at a prison (wish I had the link to it!)

They interviewed a number of harden criminals.

They showed each one a whole set of pictures of people walking about in a city. They were asked which ones would they consider an easy victim.

Virtually all of the convicts picked the same pictures!

Some people look and act like a victim. An easy mark. It's more than just lack of muscle or size. It's their attitude. They give off signals they are pre-occupied. Signals they are in another world. Signals they would not likely fight back.

In short, an easy unaware non-offensive mark.

Add to that the victims are in places that isolate themselves. Late in the night, no other people about, no easy way to alert anyone.

It's called the three stupids. They go to stupid places, with stupid people, and do stupid things. Things, places, and people a sharper person would not have anything to do with.

Deaf
 

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Interesting article.



They generally mention subtler reasons, what do you all think some of the specifics are. For example, posture...stand tall, don't slouch, watch where you're going, don't be looking at the ground. Walking style...walk with purpose, ie: you know where you're going. What are others that come to mind?

Would you recommend eye contact? What type of eye contact? I have some thoughts on that but would like to hear others.



Slight eye contact, not staring, as if trying to be able to identify. This will draw attention to you, but more like, I notice your there. The bottom line is, if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, bad things will happen to you. In regards to all of the above, common sense and awareness are the only deterrents. Whenever you are in public, day or night you could be coined a future victim, so the above attitudes should be practiced all the time. By the time it gets physical, you have ignored all the previous signs leading up to the attack. In a lot of cases, we use more common sense driving a car then we do functioning in life. Behind the wheel it is called defensive driving, in life it should be called defensive living.
 
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Xue Sheng

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Now, if there were to be say, a very serious tree shortage... would somebody - let's just use imaginary initials like XS or something - be able to use this article to feign being an ideal victim.... to attract unsuspecting criminals to their demise?

Hypothetically.

:dalek:

It, I would think, based on the unknown variable XS (whatever that actually stands for :EG:); all depend on whether or not they were wearing trees type camouflage at the time. :D
 

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A study was done at a prison (wish I had the link to it!)

They interviewed a number of harden criminals.

They showed each one a whole set of pictures of people walking about in a city. They were asked which ones would they consider an easy victim.

Virtually all of the convicts picked the same pictures!

Some people look and act like a victim. An easy mark. It's more than just lack of muscle or size. It's their attitude. They give off signals they are pre-occupied. Signals they are in another world. Signals they would not likely fight back.

In short, an easy unaware non-offensive mark.

Add to that the victims are in places that isolate themselves. Late in the night, no other people about, no easy way to alert anyone.

It's called the three stupids. They go to stupid places, with stupid people, and do stupid things. Things, places, and people a sharper person would not have anything to do with.

Deaf

I remember reading that article and re-adjusting my walk immediatly afterwards...
 

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elder999

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Been mugged three times in my life: once in Barcelona, once on Santorini-just days apart. I looked the part for both of those: backpack, gaping everywhere,taking pictures. They were pretty unsuccessful muggings-I was barely 20, on my way back from a year's training in Japan, and I resisted. I was skinnier at the time, though, and a lot less menacing looking, and I was a tourist, and looked the part.Odds are good that I was seen cashing traveler's checks on both occasions.

The other time was early in the morning on the subway in New York, about 3 months later. I was alone, wearing a nice suit and a Rolex-still skinny. Don't know that I looked like a "victim," but I looked like "money," I guess. Rather wish I'd gone to breakfast with those girls from the party, instead of trying to go home.....

In any case, I don't look much like a victim anymore, and I learned some valuable lessons from those incidents that I try to pass on to my students-especially those who travel-like making eye contact, and how to walk, and, most importantly for me, positioning in public places: where to stand on a subway platform, which stall to use in the public restroom, which urinal to use, etc.

I have to wonder, though, if the "victim's signs" are universal, or if they are different in different countries?

I know they can be different in the Caribbean and South America, but I wonder about European countries....
 

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Been mugged three times in my life: once in Barcelona, once on Santorini-just days apart. I looked the part for both of those: backpack, gaping everywhere,taking pictures. They were pretty unsuccessful muggings-I was barely 20, on my way back from a year's training in Japan, and I resisted. I was skinnier at the time, though, and a lot less menacing looking, and I was a tourist, and looked the part.Odds are good that I was seen cashing traveler's checks on both occasions.

The other time was early in the morning on the subway in New York, about 3 months later. I was alone, wearing a nice suit and a Rolex-still skinny. Don't know that I looked like a "victim," but I looked like "money," I guess. Rather wish I'd gone to breakfast with those girls from the party, instead of trying to go home.....

In any case, I don't look much like a victim anymore, and I learned some valuable lessons from those incidents that I try to pass on to my students-especially those who travel-like making eye contact, and how to walk, and, most importantly for me, positioning in public places: where to stand on a subway platform, which stall to use in the public restroom, which urinal to use, etc.

I have to wonder, though, if the "victim's signs" are universal, or if they are different in different countries?

I know they can be different in the Caribbean and South America, but I wonder about European countries....

I know that I'm the most visible "Target" when out of the country, or out of my element. A couple of years ago I helped my wife take a bunch of her middle-school students, and a few of their parents on a tour of Italy and Greece. We had been there before, so I packed clothes that would blend in. I also wore my fedora everywhere, so anybody in the tour group could pick me out of a crowd. I took the role of the "sheepdog," since the guide was leading, I always stayed in the back, watching everybody, and staying alert for stragglers, aggressive street vendors, and pickpockets.

The funny thing was, the locals, especially the street vendors, would either avoid me, or speak to me respectfully in Italian (I don't speak it, just "please" "thank you" and "excuse me"), while their dads, obviously dressed like Americans, and acting like tourists, were constantly annoyed by the vendors. Eventually many of the girls on the tour started sticking with me, because they felt safer. They called it the "magic hat" that chased away the gypsies.

But really, it was a matter of choosing my image ahead of time by approprate clothing, being alert, and watching the people, not the sights. I generally walk with poor posture, but my eyes and face are always up and scanning. I hadn't thought about it at the time, but as the article pointed out, I wasn't carrying any bags or backpacks, either, and no visible camera.
 
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Xue Sheng

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Many years ago I use to hang out in Boston and I would be in places, sometimes by myself, at 2 and 3 oclock in the morning that I would not want to be today in broad daylight. I never once had a problem, I was never even approached and one time after years of this a friend of mine in an area I had been many times after dark was beaten and robbed. It was a bit of a wake up call for me but I could not understand why I was never bothered since I had been in worse place than he was in. Until one night a few months later I stayed at a party a little later than I planed and I had to walk out of a friends apartment at mid-night on an unlit street in a not so good area just outside of Boston. I walked out and got to the main street (com ave or Mass ave I dont remember) when this well dressed young couple (about my age at the time) walked out of a club in front of me and saw me walking towards them. They ran across the street, jump a wall ran across the tracks and jump another wall and crossed another street looking behind them to see where I was just to get away from me, I was actually concerned that they might get hit by a car the way they were running and not looking where they were going. It was then I realized I was not bothered because I looked like a predator and they werent bothering me because of how I looked and how I moved. In my early 20s I was about 220 a bit over 6'1", in good shape, and looked like any Hells Angel you never wanted to see on a dark street. I however had learned my lesson from what happened to my friend and avoided places I knew I should not be in.

I am very cognoscente of my surroundings these days and after reading the article I pretty much do all of that naturally at this point. But there have been times in places like NYC or Beijing where I have pretty much been so caught up in what I was doing that I likely looked much like a victim but I was lucky and nothing came of it. Although one got pretty scary in China, it came to nothing more than curiosity actually, but it was another wake up call for me.

I liked the article and I thought it had some pretty good info so I posted it. The Article in the latest issue of Psychology today has a little more in it but not that much to make the article any less worth the read IMO
 

thardey

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It was then I realized I was not bothered because I looked like a predator and they werent bothering me because of how I looked and how I moved.


I think movement is even more important than posture. I have a friend who always wore big "combat boots," and he marched as he walked. He had a bad back, so he had very poor posture, but he intimidated a lot of "sheeple" because of the way he stomped around. Recently he switched to lighter shoes and a smoother walk because of that, and people seem to react to him differently.

I am 250 lbs, and 6' tall. But after learning to walk differently through archery hunting, ballroom dancing, fencing, karate, and previous knee injuries, I tend to "glide" while keeping my upper body still. Because of this, people get an image of me as about 6'2", and 200 lbs, and even children are comfortable coming up to me. Yet I still get treated with respect wherever I go.

So I think your walking pattern really defines your image, as much or more than your posture.

-If you "shuffle" or walk heavily on your heels, you will look more like a target.
-If you "glide" or walk "catlike" you will not be a threat, but not a target, either.
-If you "stomp," or "march" you will be seen as an aggressor. (After all, that's what "Marching" was designed for, isn't it?)
 

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I have to wonder, though, if the "victim's signs" are universal, or if they are different in different countries?

I know they can be different in the Caribbean and South America, but I wonder about European countries....

I think there is a lot to confidence and poise that is universal. I'm not sure about victim signs. I'm generally not recognized as American when I'm in continental Europe. No one asks me where I'm from, they instead ask if I'm from the UK or where I'm from in the UK. The look of genuine surprise when I tell them "No, US" is priceless. :D
 

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I think there is a lot to confidence and pose that is universal. I'm not sure about victim signs. I'm generally not recognized as American when I'm in continental Europe. No one asks me where I'm from, they instead ask if I'm from the UK or where I'm from in the UK. The look of genuine surprise when I tell them "No, US" is priceless. :D


Well, yeah-I've been back to Europe several times, and a few other places, and I have to say that confidence and poise probably are universal. In places like Brazil, though, they aren't necessarily enough.

(Never get mistaken for anything but an American, myself. Still have a fairly noticeable N.Y. accent at times....)
 

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Here is a piece on how not to be a victim taken from some hand-outs we did during a women's self-defense seminar sponsored by the Oxygen Network. A lot of it applies to both men and women though...

Attackers look for victims who are distracted and agreeable. Here are some tips to minimize the possibility of getting attacked and fending off an attack:

First and foremost, be aware of your surroundings.
Avoid doing things that are distracting such as talking on your cell phone or wearing headphones when you run or take a walk.
Have your car keys ready when you exit a building to avoid having to rummage through your purse when you arrive at your vehicle.
Lock your car doors immediately once you get inside the vehicle.
Before parking your vehicle and unlocking the doors, survey the surroundings for anything that may seem suspicious or out of the ordinary.
DONT be nice. If approached by a stranger asking for help or directions just say No and keep walking. Dont stop or worry about sounding rude. This is a common ruse used by attackers to get you to drop your guard.
If an attacker demands your purse throw it in their direction and turn and run in the opposite direction as fast as you can. This diverts attention from you as the attacker instinctively goes for your belongings allowing you time to escape.
If your hands are tied up from carrying a lot of bags and you feel threatened by an attacker, drop the bags and run! Dont try to flee with the baggage. Material items can be replaced but your life cant.
Dont wear a lot of loose clothing. It can be easily grabbed and easy to pull off.
Maintain a strong and confident air about you when out. Attackers look for victims; those they feel will not put up much of a fight.
Carry pepper spray in your hand when walking or running. It cant help you in your purse!
If you own a gun, know how to use it. Take a gun-safety course at your local gun club.
If you are on an elevator by yourself and another person gets on by themselves, get off. They wont know what floor you were going to and its better to be safe and wait on the next elevator.
Attackers dont want a real fight. If you feel threatened it is important to react quickly and decisively. Scream as loud as you can. Yell obscenities as this will draw attention. Make a real scene and be animated. This will surprise the attacker causing them to hesitate giving you the opportunity to run away.
Have a home invasion plan. Your family probably has a fire escape plan, but do you have a plan in the event of a home invasion?
Keep your cell phone by the bed. If a break in occurs and your land line is compromised you can still call 911.
Invest in good locks, doors, and even an alarm system for your home.
NEVER enter your home if you arrive and the door is open and you do not expect anyone to be home. Call the police immediately.
Never indicate the number of people in your household or that you are on vacation or out of town on your voice mail or answering machine. Have your message recorded in a male voice and keep it simple.
 
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I think there is a lot to confidence and poise that is universal. I'm not sure about victim signs. I'm generally not recognized as American when I'm in continental Europe. No one asks me where I'm from, they instead ask if I'm from the UK or where I'm from in the UK. The look of genuine surprise when I tell them "No, US" is priceless. :D

I once saw a show by David Takayoshi Suzuki (David Suzuki) and he was discussing body language and he said in the US he is recognized as Japanese however since he was raised in North America whenever he is in Japanese they all call him American (I think he may be Canadian but you get the point). However no matter how I move in China I will be taken as Westerner... not a whole lot of blond Germanic looking Chinese natives in Beijing these days :D


However a son of a friend of mine who is from South China was going to move to Hong Kong because he was tired of being singled out here in the US for being Chinese. His son grew up in the US and my friend told him "Move to Hong Kong if you want but there you will be singled out as an American as soon as you move"

But I am now taking my own post off topic, I'm sorry me.
 

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Now, if there were to be say, a very serious tree shortage... would somebody - let's just use imaginary initials like XS or something - be able to use this article to feign being an ideal victim.... to attract unsuspecting criminals to their demise?

Hypothetically.

:dalek:
That's hunting over a baited field. ;)
 

sgtmac_46

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Acknowledge folks who you think might be a threat.....a polite, but firm 'How you doin'' with a nod and a smile......but only smile with the mouth, not with the eyes.......make the eyes hard, as if you're thinking about killing them. Give them eye contact while you're talking to them, just as long as you're talking.....don't don't actually look them in the eye, look through them, then move your gaze forward.

Never let an encroachment of your space go on unchallenged......many potential predators will test your desire to defend your space.......let them get away with it, and they know you're a mark!

Talk nice, think mean.....have a plan.
 

Carol

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Well, yeah-I've been back to Europe several times, and a few other places, and I have to say that confidence and poise probably are universal. In places like Brazil, though, they aren't necessarily enough.

(Never get mistaken for anything but an American, myself. Still have a fairly noticeable N.Y. accent at times....)

Excellent, excellent point...I think it comes down to perspectives. Someone local to Latin America may be more likely to be a victim if they show signs of weakness. Someone visiting Latin America is definitely more likely to be a victim of a crime if they are recognizable as being from the north.

The crime makeup of Colombia, for example, is the opposite of what we have here in the U.S. Here, the urban areas generally have higher crime and the rural areas generally have lower crme. In Colombia, however, the cities are the safest places to be. The Colombian government knows that for the country to survive and grow, they need people from other countries to do business in and with Colombia. The cities are rigorously patrolled by the military, and a soldier will immediately intervene to keep an extranjero (foreigner) safe.

The rural areas, that don't see the commercial incomes from urban businesses, are extremely dangerous. This was seen by the unfortunate Americans whose plane crashed in the jungle, only to be immediately taken hostage. In a situation like that, martial arts skills wouldn't even be much help...even if you could free oneself of one's captors, it would be virtually impossible to escape the jungle environs without local help.
 

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