Here is a blog on personal safety that we hope you will enjoy. If you need a personal safety workshop running for a group of you, send us an email on:
email@example.com or call us on 07787788811 and we can arrange a bespoke quotation.
Martin Cooper and I Dave Pattinson, have many years experience operationally dealing with conflict situations, and also delivering personal safety training.
“Am I in danger?”
The answer is: It depends. Risk is a matter of degrees. Your risk increases and decreases depending on where you are your activities and your behaviour.
There are lifestyles in which violence is systemic. If you live a certain way or associate with certain kinds of people, your risk is greatly increased. Crime, violence, rape and countless other horrible consequences are the natural results of particular ways of thinking, behaving and location. Basically, it comes with the territory. With these conditions, it’s not a matter of if it will happen, but when it will happen.
“At risk behaviour” largely consists of being in the vicinity of dangerous people and in potentially dangerous locations.
Simply stated, the less you engage in certain behaviours like, being under the influence of drugs and alcohol and frequenting late night bars and clubs, the more you reduce your chances of being selected as a target for crime and violence.
“But I have a right to drink and enjoy the late night economy.” Certainly you do, but with every right, there comes a responsibility and that means you are responsible for yourself. True it is that nobody should be out and about; causing disorder and violence – and certainly they shouldn’t be intent on assaulting, robbing or raping you. However, they do and it happens. You can’t stop it happening, but you can take steps to stop it happening TO YOU.
There are activities that can increase your risk of being targeted for crime. The major difference is that these activities aren’t aimed at you personally. For example working the evening shift in a convenience store in a bad area is a very good way to end up looking at the wrong end of a knife, gun, or baseball bat. But then again so is the daily carrying the takings from your business to the bank. However, the truth is a few basic habits and procedures can certainly improve your safety and prevent crime.
If your actions do not put you in a high risk category, then simple, common sense procedures should significantly reduce any chances of you being victimized. However, if you are engaged in the high risk behaviours I have mentioned, while those same tactics will help somewhat, they will probably not be enough to keep you safe.
In my time in the Police Service I had many people call to say they had been robbed. The truth usually was that they had been the victim of a theft.
Robbery is defined as “A person is guilty of robbery if he steals, and immediately before or at the time of doing so, and in order to do so, he uses force on any person or puts or seeks to put any person in fear of being then and there subjected to force.”
This is different from mere theft, where force is not used against you personally, but objects are stolen. In short: Theft happens to your property. Robbery happens to you.
In theft your any damage will occur to the item stolen or other property (i.e. your door kicked in by a burglar). With robbery the threat of harm is to you.
A pick pocket (who takes your wallet out of your purse) is not committing robbery, he is committing theft. Someone who walks up and puts a gun in your face and demands your purse is committing robbery. In a robbery, you are put in danger. This is why robbery is deemed a more serious crime.
IF you are lucky, you will only be offered the threat of violence. The safest course of action is not to be there – Avoidance is better that a wardrobe full of black belts.
Why is Avoidance Best? It might require you to take extra steps, it might even require you to hang up your cell phone and return to where you came from, but why is avoidance the best option?
Ability, Opportunity and Intent.
This will give you a quick-rule-of-thumb set of standards to determine whether or not you are in danger and is a nice set of fast and easy guidelines.
The subject of fire prevention uses a triangle to demonstrate the three elements required for a fire to burn. These elements are heat, fuel and oxygen. Take any one of these away and the triangle collapses and the fire goes out. Crime is the same: In order for it to occur, there must be three basic elements
This is easily remembered as A.O.I. (Ability, Opportunity and Intent). Take away any one of these elements and the triangle collapses. In other words, the crime does not have what it needs to occur.
Ability: Does the person have the ability to attack you? Could this person successfully assault you, whether through physical prowess, a weapon or numerical superiority? Many women underestimate male upper-body strength and how vulnerable they are to being physically overwhelmed.
Opportunity: Does this person have the opportunity to attack you? Are you alone with him or even in an area beyond immediate help? Could anyone come to your assistance within twenty seconds or less? As many victims have found, you can be robbed in plain view or raped with people in the next room.
Intent: Is he in a mental place where using violence to get what he wants makes sense to him?
Of the three, intent is the most nebulous, yet it is vital for determining who is a threat. It is literally the difference between going off with someone to talk and being raped.
The fastest way to figure out if you are in potential danger is to look for these three elements. If you see one, look for the others. If you see two out of three stop whatever else you are doing and pay close attention for a moment.
If you see him trying to develop the third, withdraw from the situation to a safer area. This is easier than you using physical violence to defend yourself. That’s because your assailant is already carrying out his predetermined plan and if you resort to self defence it is simply damage limitation – and you’re probably going to get hurt anyway. His opportunity is improved if you stay in an area where someone could effectively use physical violence against you.
Remember, he has already instigated his plan and, although you have seen one or two of the triangle’s elements, you don’t know how far along his plan is. So if you recognise any of the elements, simply leave. Then there is no triangle because you have taken the opportunity away from them.
Now take action – keep safe – risk assess