Issue 10

Desperate Criminals

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What is the ultimate objective of Personal Safety Plan?

It might seem kind of obvious - it's to have a plan to protect your safety.  But it's actually much more than that.

One thing that so many people forget is that most bad guys have plans.  It can be as simple as seeing a "target of opportunity" and snatching a purse or a laptop.

It can be as well-planned as a multi-week "stake-out" as part of an elaborate jewelry robbery or kidnapping.  So much of the planning is dependent upon the actual or perceived value of the target.

For most of these things, it can be fairly simple to have a plan.  You never leave your purse laying around.  The strap goes across your body to make it a less appealing target.

You may have a home burglar alarm, car alarms and have taken a personal safety training course.  All of these things can be effective against run-of-the-mill crime.  These are more or less "standard" crimes that can have effective counter-measures.

Where Personal Safety Plans really shine is with the unpredictable crimes.  The desperate criminals.  Someone who needs money or assets RIGHT NOW, and they don't care what they have to do, or whom they need to hurt to get it.

Where these criminals differ from most is they won't do a lot of planning.  They know they need money, they know where it's located, and they're going to get it.

No worries about whether anyone is in the house.  No concern about stealing the car with the baby in the child seat.  No guilt at the gun fired at the person pleading they have no money.

So what do you do?

You have to pre-consider your actions if you encounter such a criminal.  This includes assessing your attacker, your location, your defenses and the people you are with.

Consider this scenario:  You've been grocery shopping, have just loaded up the car, and secured your two children into their child seats.  You jump into the driver's seat and are putting the key into the ignition when your driver door is suddenly swung open.  A man grabs you, pulling you out of the car and sitting down in the driver seat.

Very scary.  And we see stories like this on the news all of the time.

What would you do?

If it were me, I'd do whatever was necessary to keep my car from driving away.  If necessary, I'd throw my body across the driver, kicking and punching like a crazed lunatic.  I'd grab for the keys and try to throw them out into the parking lot.  If I could get to a pepper spray or stun gun, I'd use it.

They would not be driving away with my car - and my kids - unless I were dead or unconscious.

Now, if I were alone - without my children or any other people - personally, I'd get out of the way.  My life is much more valuable than my car and a few bags of groceries.  I have insurance.  I'd pay attention to their physical characteristics, clothing and any other noteworthy traits. I'd watch which way they went with my car, call the police and let them do their job.

Your Personal Safety Plan is there to get you thinking about normal AND abnormal situations.  You may only have a split-second to react.  

For Consideration:  Do you keep your personal defense device in the same place all of the time so you can react quickly?  What situations will most likely appeal to desperate criminals?

Safety Tip:  When you get in your car, lock the doors FIRST, even before you put the key in the ignition and snap on your seatbelt.  It is usually just a matter of pushing one button on the driver's door panel, and all doors are locked.  

Next Newsletter:  Bad Neighbors.

Bison Risk Management Associates is a Northern California-based company providing Personal Safety and Emergency Preparedness training, workshops and consulting for individuals, businesses and organizations.

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