Editor’s Note: This article was generously contributed by another one of our readers, Egbert who normally joins the discussion in the comments section of our articles but has today taken center stage as the author of this post. Egbert shares his experiences with fear, victims and the predators who use these to their advantage and how you can take steps to make sure you don’t fall victim yourself.
Many years ago at the start of a career in law enforcement, I had to come to the realization that people would try to attack, hurt, kill me, even when they did not “know” me, did not “know” what was in my heart, or my particular political, religious and other ideologies.
This was something that I was truly not prepared for until after I was out of the Police Academy and patrolling on the street. Yes, people did try to “sucker punch” me, they tried to stab me, shoot me, and burn me, anything to get away from the natural consequences of their own actions.
This caused me to reflect on the psychology of violence and those who initiate violence for their own purposes.
I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist mental health practitioner, nor do I play one or think I am one.
On many emergency calls for service dispatched through the 9-1-1 call system, I saw that the overwhelming majority of victims of violent predatory crimes, were shocked that they were selected to be a victim.
In almost every incident over several years, I noticed that few if any of the “victims” had a conscious acknowledgement or understanding that they could be a victim, would be a victim, and/or might not survive the encounter.
This lack of awareness of one’s surroundings, especially when in our own homes is a false sense of security. That hollow-core interior door to your bathroom might offer the illusion of “privacy” but it is not a means of security. Those push button entry locks on bedroom doors are for moments when personal privacy is wanted/expected, from other residents in the home, and not from a determined predatory attacker.
Most locks in any residence are for the illusion of security and little else. It is your home, it is up to you to harden it and make it far more difficult for intruders to gain access.
Now, to the heart of this article; we need to understand that we need not become a “victim of opportunity” by our own default.
Don’t make it easy for the bad guys
I like to refer to this malady of default as: Condition Oblivious. This is where we through ignorance, arrogance or laziness leave our residence open to whomever and falsely trust that they are people of high personal ethics and integrity.
Sorry, but this is defaulting to being a victim by default of opportunity by our own actions.
Contrary to popular cultural mythology, most burglaries do not occur in the wee dark hours of the morning, commonly called “Oh-dark-thirty”. No, most residential burglaries occur between the hours of 0800-1500 (8:00a.m. through 3:00p.m.), Monday through Friday. (source: FBI Uniform Crime Report-annual) This is because we often “forget” to lock our doors, close the garage door when we, drop the kids off at school, make a quick trip to the neighborhood grocery store, just pop off to do a quick errand, etc.
These are the opportunities predatory criminals look for.
In the community where we now live, far from my native West Coast state where I was born, raised and worked in my past career, the local police department and sheriff’s department literally beg the residents to lock their doors and windows when leaving their homes.
In fact, the largest city in this county, posts on their city’s website that 98% of all burglaries are residential and entry is made through…are you ready for this? Unlocked doors, open doors, open garage doors, and open windows.
Forced entry burglaries are a very rare occurrence here.
Reduce your opportunity to become a victim, simply lock your doors, windows. Yes, it IS that easy, and you won’t be shocked, surprised by an intruder without them having to make some serious noise to get in your residence.
If, you “think” you will never be a “victim”, you most assuredly will become one. This is because in our Condition Oblivious mentality, we eschew normal precautions and fall prey to the arrogance of “I live in a safe neighborhood, city, county, state, etc.” This is the height of personal arrogance and places you and your loved ones at the distinct disadvantage of the predators among us. So, who of your loved ones are you willing to sacrifice for that “thought”?
Sounds pretty brutal doesn’t it? It is meant to be and sound that brutal. We are not living in the time nor a place of the televised “Brady Bunch” life-is-all-rosy-because-we-have-screenwriters-to-make –sure-everything-turns-out-OK-in-the-end.
Life is reality, film and television and so-called “reality shows” are not and never have been reality. Even the “reality shows” are scripted folks.
Take yourself out of the crime equation
Crime occurs when three factors are present. First, there must be a criminal suspect/s, second there must be a chosen “victim”,(and the selected “victim” CAN be either a person or a building/business), and third, there must be an opportunity for the suspect and the victim to interact.
If we reduce or eliminate that casual “opportunity” for us to interact with the suspect/s, we have reduced or eliminated that “opportunity” to become a “victim”.
One can make an effective argument or debate that all crime is not random, merely because the suspect/s have already decided to engage in criminal activity prior to initiating contact with their intended target/s.
Why, are some people targeted, some residences targeted and others are not? As simple as it may sound, predatory criminals, are lazy, plain and simple, they will take the path of least resistance each and every time. Yes, this includes the vast majority of violent predatory criminal suspect/s, as opposed to those who are politically or ideologically motivated-we usually refer to the latter two categories as “terrorists”.
So, it makes sense, to reduce or eliminate what we can personally control ourselves, without having to rely on societal police response for our own personal default behaviors.
Yes, it really is that simple. For example, as I approach “emeritus” or “senior-status”, I am aware that as an adult, I do not “have” to open the door to my home to someone I do not know, so I choose to not open the door to someone whom I do not personally know.
Cue the “what-if” scenarios here…
I’ve never been a believer in “what if” scenarios, since I’ve never actually been IN one, nor has a single “what if” scenario someone has conjured up occurred that I responded to.
“What If” scenarios are great for internet discussions, debates and some tactical and strategic planning. However, most are not based in reality and at least not our personal realities of today, right now. I do study “what if” scenarios, when I can, I do not choose to fixate on them exclusively.
If you are out traveling, running errands and the hair on the back of your neck stands up, it is not by accident. Those inherent warning signals are there for your benefit, use them. If a quiet small voice inside of you is telling you that “something is not right here”, listen to it, always.
Do not fall prey to the falsehoods of “thinking” that because you live in a gated community, you are somehow “safe”. No, you live in a high-priced corral, where ALL of the “victims of opportunity” are corralled for the benefit of the predators.
There is no “safe neighborhood”, no “safe place” where you can let down your guard, throw all common sense out the window and expect to NOT become a “victim”.
Do not leave your purse, wallet, IT bag or any valuables inside your unlocked vehicle while you dash in “quickly” to the store you parked in front of.
While driving, keep your vehicle doors locked. Keep your home doors and windows locked, even when you are home, don’t make it easy for the predators to just “walk in”.
Don’t assume that your cooperation with a robbery, burglary, assault suspect/s is going to insure that you are left alone. That is sheer folly to “think” that.
Remember the Holy Trinity of Crime: it always takes one or more suspect/s, one or more victim/s, and the opportunity for the suspect/s and victim/s to interact.
You can control that opportunity to interact with the suspect/s. Use that to your advantage.
Fear can be a mental (and physical) paralytic, knowledge overcomes the natural “fear” of the unknown. Use fear to your advantage. Make the predators fear your “unknown” responses. They will choose prey that is more to their advantage. Reduce the opportunity to interact it really is simple to do.