Most people are unaware as they go about their daily life. They are preoccupied with what they have to do next. They day dream as they walk like zombies, projecting themselves mentally home when they are at work and to work while they are at home. In today's society, this is dangerous.
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What is situational awareness?
Without sounding too much like a literal thinker, the concept of situational awareness is best defined as being awake. Your mental tissue needs to be constantly exercised to be used. Gary Busey seems to be one of the world's all time most eccentric people but he once said, "I was born with the energy of 10 men who have normal jobs" and that struck me as oddly brilliant. Gary Busey is a little different, but if he has that type of energy, he probably is someone who it is pretty hard to sneak up on.
When you walk into a room, if you cannot within a few seconds draw a map of the room on a piece of paper, you are not aware of the room. Its fine to be relaxed, but also be *aware* of your surroundings. If you are oblivious, then you can't see a threat until the threat has acted upon you. Remember action is always faster than reaction. You are a good guy and aren't looking for trouble. When trouble reaches out for you, they are acting. Now you have to react. How fast are you compared to your attacker?
Awareness of the potential threat before it becomes an actual threat is what puts you ahead of the game. Career criminals are often experts at reading body language and personal 'tells.' They had to be as life in their world, or in County, is often very different from your life. When you come into a room, scan it briefly and listen to your guts. They usually will tell you when something is wrong with a situation. Remember there is no shame in withdrawing from a situation that you feel like you cannot control. If you cannot withdraw, try to understand the situation and realize that threats are 360-degrees and can come at you from all directions.
Now I am not trying to make you paranoid, just wake you up. Don't walk around, face in your smartphone, and oblivious to your surroundings. While you are sending that text message or checking that email, a predator may have sized you up. While you are smiling and sending that reply, they are stepping inside your reactionary gap. By the time you notice them over your phone, it's now their phone, and you are three plays behind while they move to the end zone.
Case in point: In Sept. 2013 a gunman took out his firearm and pointed it at several people on a San Fransisco subway car during a morning rush hour commute on a busy weekday. Tragically, no one noticed until he killed a 20-year old student he had never met before.
"Some are no more than two to three feet to him," said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon "We're seeing people that are so disconnected to their surroundings. This is not unique. People are being robbed, people are being hurt, people are being run over by cars because they're so disconnected because of these phones."
Criminals, especially today's career losers are like Great White sharks. They are always hungry, always looking, head on a swivel looking for that next easy target in their victim selection process.
Take yourself out of the selection process
There are several things to keep in mind as far as common sense steps that you can do while in public to remove yourself pretty early on from being considered a victim. Don't go out alone. You never see a soldier venture out into the battlefield alone, and you shouldn't either. Don't wear flashy valuables like expensive jewelry, luxury watches, and top name designer clothing. When walking stay close to the curb and avoid bushes, doorways, parked cars, etc. Don't carry more cash than necessary. Other than a little walking around petty cash, it's generally unwise to carry a large quantity of bills.
When leaving your car, always, always lock it behind you. This isn't so much as to keep people from stealing it or its contents, as it is to keep bad guys from waiting inside for you to return. When parking, do it as close as you can to the curb of the business or residence and in a lit area. Practice noting and memorizing identifying characteristics about strangers you come into contact with, as this will help you subconsciously remember interactions if you need to later.
There are literally hundreds of common sense things you can do to make yourself a hard target rather than an easy one, the trick is just using them.
Instead of providing a willing and eager victim to an aggressor, everywhere you go people should be safer simply because you are there.