Give Yourself A Chance At A Safe Holiday Season


Like it or not, the holidays are upon us. Now are the days of eating too much, traveling, seeing distant relatives, and…crime.

While crime is a constant, the holidays bring out the criminal element like coyotes to an offal pile. They know this is the time of year when big ticket items will sit in back seats of cars, people who won’t normally have actual cash on them will, and everyone will be more preoccupied and distracted than normal. It’s a regular felon feeding frenzy.

So, what can you do about it? For starters, realize, recognize, and admit the threat is out there.

Too many people go through life with the mindset that bad things happen to someone else. So how do you know it’s not your day to be some else’s someone else? You don’t. (Or, if you do, and can make accurate predictions like this, let me know and I’ll send you some money for lottery tickets. We split 50-50, okay?) So, not knowing, the safe bet is to assume that today is your day.

But John, you say, I can’t just sit in my house afraid. I have shopping to do! And I’m not suggesting you do. What I am suggesting is that, by realizing, recognizing, and admitting the threat exists, you look for it and avoid it. Go about your daily routine, but do it in such a manner that nothing will be a surprise to you.

The military uses the term situational awareness, or SA. In essence, it means being aware of what is happening around you and understanding how people and events may impact you. The vast majority of Americans have little if any SA. Just watch people as they go about their day. Heads down, walking and talking or texting on cel phones, hands loaded with bags. How many times have you seen someone almost hit by a car walking through a parking lot? Trip over something while texting? Would it be incredibly easy to assault and rob someone like this?

Criminals look for the preoccupied. As a rule, criminals are lazy. They look for soft targets, someone who won’t have time to react and resist. When I was in law enforcement, I don’t know how many reports I took where the victim’s statements included “he came out of nowhere” or “I never saw him.” Indeed, they did come out of somewhere, and you would have seen him had you been looking.

So, what do you do?

Be aware. Keep your head up and look around. See where and what they are up to. Move your wallet from your back pocket to your hip pocket to make it harder to get to. Stopping at the ATM to get some cash? How many people are around? Don’t focus on the machine while you’re there, keep looking around. Moving packages from the mall to your car? Use a cart (if you’re in the south, you’ll use a buggy) to move them. This keeps your hands free, and gives you something to put between yourself and an attacker. Have your car keys readily available.

When you get to your car, check inside before opening the doors to make sure no one is inside waiting for you. Put purchases in the trunk, or otherwise hide them from view if you’re going to leave your car unattended. Once you get in your car, lock your doors.

The list can go on and on. If you really want to prepare yourself, find an NRA Refuse To Be A Victim seminar being held near you, or contact an instructor and request one for your group. As you can see in this video, there is a wealth of information to be had.

At the very least, realize, recognize, and admit the threat is out there, and conduct yourself accordingly.

And have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!


The Tactical Pirate

View posts by The Tactical Pirate
President and lead instructor. Follow me on Twitter, and check out our blog.

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