Most potential bad guys won’t be this plainly marked, but they do often exhibit similar pre-attack indicators.

by John Boch and Paul Vallandigham

People from every economic background and profession are the victims of crime each day.  It doesn’t matter if you are a fast food worker, medical doctor, pilot or mechanic, you are at risk of being the victim of violent crime.

Criminals don’t care about your profession or your loved ones.  They have often rehearsed their crime in their minds many times and they don’t give a second thought about hurting anyone that gets in the way.

Fortunately, for all their rehearsing and “planning,” criminals often subconsciously exhibit one or more inappropriate behaviors before they attack.

It is through your situational awareness that you can recognize these and change your actions accordingly.   You may recognize attack precursors and avail yourself to an avenue of escape or ready yourself for physical resistance.  You may also have an opportunity to dissuade an attack by readying a weapon.

Here are a few signs to watch for in a suspicious subject that may indicate impending trouble for you.

  1. Pre-attack “investigation” – a criminal will approach you, even sometimes bump you, to assess your awareness and your apparent willingness and ability to fight back.
  2. Excessive talking and/or questioning – does the suspect seem like they are being too friendly or nosy when they don’t even know you?
  3. Eye tracking – is the subject watching you a little too intently?
  4. Indications of mental illness – are they talking to themselves or others inappropriately?
  5. Signs of drug or alcohol impairment.

The single best weapon everyone has against a criminal attack is their awareness of their environment.  Criminals will tend to avoid those who appear aware of their surroundings.  They are “professionals” looking for the easy mark.  An aware mark is not an easy mark.

Don’t be the easy mark!


Photo by

8 thoughts on “Personal Safety Series: Pre-attack indicators”
  1. Your personal ‘space bubble’ around you is yours in most every situation. If someone is invading that space, THEY WANT SOMETHING!

  2. When I had a restaurant, we had a couple of situations where some guys came up as we were about to close and started asking way too many questions. The thing I remembered the most was here were these to tough looking guys acting all polite. It just didn’t add up. But, then again, they probably didn’t know about that pistol I had either.

  3. Please tell me this is a mug shot. And where from. I want to use this pic in an ad and I would need to know its provenance. What a great example of who you don’t want to show up to take your daughter out.

    And of course, I am E. Zach Lee-Wright

  4. As a Jewess in the US, I can only say that ANY anti-gun plan from an ignoramus like Slow Joe Biden or his dirty Kenyan boss is bound to be a loser idea. Certainly it will make all REAL Americans put our 2nd Amendment FIRST! Both criminals and overbearing governments respect FIREPOWER, not sweet talk. And remember that America wasn’t won with a registered gun! -Wendy Weinbaum

  5. It is a good advice, but sometimes it just doesn’t work this way. I had an interesting experience several years ago in the Meijer store on Prospect. At some point, I noticed that I was being followed by two gentlemen. It wasn’t hard to notice as they were about 4-5 feet behind me at all time. I became seriously concerned when, after numerous attempts at “losing the tail,” they were still there. The charade continued throughout the entire store for more than an hour. I had no cell phone and no gun on me (no concealed carry in Illinois!). My husband was 25 miles away. It crossed my mind to make a run for the car, but then I realized it would be a big mistake to leave the store and go outside (it was already dark out there). I went to the pharmacy and asked them to call 911 and the store security. They did. The security guards arrived, but the two bad guys were still there – just a few feet farther in between isles. The security called some male employees. In a few minutes there were about 20 people around me, but the guys just wouldn’t leave! They were circling like sharks. It took police 45 minutes to arrive. They came in two cars, arrested the guys and took them out. I don’t know what happened next, but boy, I run very fast to the car that night.

  6. I agree with the situational awareness comments and I’m frequently surprised at how few people have “alarms” that go off in these situations. I am a CCW holder and if I’m in a parking lot at night and see the potential for this stuff with “toughs” hanging around I simply take my pistol out and hold it at my side at arm’s length. Count on these guys noticing it. I get no comments, no bumps, nothing at all. Just the way I like it. Plus, it’s completely legal.

Comments are closed.