There is nothing more traumatic than being a victim of violence. The aftermath left in the wake of an assault, robbery or rape can be devastating and have lifelong effects. Having to defend yourself physically against these crimes is always the last resort. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do right now to discourage even the most hardened criminal from choosing you.
What is Violent Criminal?
A violent criminal is anyone who is willing to use force or threat of force to impose their will on you. This includes all situations with or without a weapon. Remember, their willingness to confront you tells you that there is nothing they won’t do to get what they want. They are not to be trusted, no matter how convincing.
How You Will Be Attacked?
In order for anyone to impose their will on you, they need to get close to you. Use of weapons increases their sphere of influence, but just the same, they need to get close to you in a manner that does not draw attention to the crime.
Criminals are cunning and not to be underestimated. They will use a variety of reasonable and plausible requests to close the distance on you. Anything from asking directions to asking for the time, they will use tactics designed to distract you. They will have accomplices that you don’t see. They will provide reasonable explanations that will get you to do what they need.
If You Are A Victim Of A Violent Crime
- Call the police.
- Do not shower or change. You are a crime scene. The next few hours will be extremely difficult. You will have to be photographed and processed. The more intact the evidence is, the easier it will be to get a conviction.
- Get support. There are a variety of government agencies that are there to support victims of violent crimes (listed at the end of this article).
Understanding Violent Crime
The criminal picks victims based on ability, desire and opportunity. If you look like a good target, and the risk of your attacker getting caught, identified or injured is low, they will strike. Remember, the more desperate they are, junkies and emotionally disturbed people (EDP) the more brazen they will act because their desire to get what they want will override all other factors in the criminal equation.
How To Prevent From Being Targeted.
Become a Tough Target
- Trust your instincts. If something feels wrong, it probably is. If something looks off, it probably is – leave the area immediately.
- Report suspicious behavior. If you see someone that looks out of place, call the police and security. You’re not bothering anyone. The community must be the eyes and ears of the police and more arrests have been made because of citizens contacting the police.
- Be Aware . In order to impose their will on you, your attacker needs to get close to you. This happens two ways: you approach them or they approach you. Always check your environment and look for places they could hide.
- Keep mobile and alert. Do not overburden yourself with packages and bags. Use shopping carts, make multiple trips and shop online.
- Remember where you parked. Write put a text note in your phone to remember where you have to go so you can walk with purpose and confidence.
- Have your cell phone at the ready. The stress of an emergency makes even simple tasks impossible. Be prepared to describe your location to police. Cross streets, landmarks and parking lot locations.
- Leave the Scene. As soon as you are approached, run, even if the criminal is armed. The chances of getting shot at are around 10% (Ref. Tough Target by JJ. Bittenbinder).
- Never Trust Your Assailant. They will reason with you to get you to go with them or comply in some way. Remember, they are always lying.
- Have Your Keys In One Hand and Your Pepper Spray In The Other. Personal alarms and pepper spray make great non-lethal defenses, but they will not do you any good if they are in the bottom of your purse or pocket. Keep your weapon in your hand and your bags on your shoulder and go.
- Take a Self Defense Course. Real training creates real awareness. This will help you mentally prepare yourself and think tactically.
The more challenging of a presence you have, the least likely you will be a victim. Be aware, have a plan and keep your eyes up and your head on a swivel, looking at your surroundings. Look people in the face so they know you are aware of them.
Agencies that are here to help you:
National Center for Victims of Crime
Downloadable “GetHelp” bulletins on all types of crime and victimization, victims’ rights, compensation, and civil justice, among many others. Toll-free helpline and email address for victims to receive information and referrals to services. Special information for teen victims of crime.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Information for victims on safety planning, violence at the workplace, internet safety, and identity theft.
National Organization for Victim Assistance
Information on victimization, trauma, and how to find help. Specific information on crime victims with disabilities, elderly victims, and domestic violence. Criminal justice system glossary. Links to national and state victim resources.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Articles and other materials about sexual violence. Links to other victim resources.