Signs of a Potential Victim:
Defying the Hunt
By Meghan Gardner, Director of Guard Up, Inc.
of us have those occasional job related trips that
take us out of the area, whether that means the state
or the country. We pack our bags and leave to catch
an early morning flight. Our mind is filled with important
details like our flight itinerary, the schedule for
the day, lunch with so-and-so, and all the possible
variables that might interfere.
One variable we rarely consider, however, is an influence
from "The Other Side". This is that part
of life that is beyond our own, individual universe.
It contains all those things we hear about on the
news, but rarely consider for long
don't live in that kind of neighborhood or deal with
those kinds of people.
Needless to say, it catches us by surprise when we
put down our briefcase only long enough to dig out
our boarding pass and when we reach down to retrieve
it, our fingers grasp at air. Our stomach sinks and
our heart skips a beat as we realize that we've been
robbed. Right there
in a crowded airport
in front of thousands of eyes that didn't see anything.
We're dumbfounded. We can't believe this. Why did
this happen? Disbelief makes way for anger which steps
aside for terror as we realize that our Daily Planner,
Corporate Documents and even our Credit Cards were
in that briefcase. We wander around looking for Security.
Our mind fills with a new list of important details.
Have to call the office and let them know what happened.
Got to cancel the credit cards. What about a police
report? Then our stomach sinks again when we hear
the boarding call for our flight.
Let's look at it from the viewpoint of the "Other
Side" for a moment. We are the predator. The
airport is our hunting ground. The prey are any who
are oblivious to their surroundings and look like
they have something of value. We scan the masses until
we find a likely candidate; someone well dressed,
traveling alone, and whose mind is otherwise occupied.
Spotting the perfect target, we position ourselves
and then watch carefully for the best moment to strike.
We are patient. Timing is of the essence. We wait.
And wait. And
there. The target has opened wide.
We walk by and pluck up the prize without breaking
stride. We move smoothly into the flow of traffic,
blending with those around us. It's a good twenty
seconds before our mark notices the missing briefcase.
More than enough time.
How could this whole scenario have been prevented?
Well, you might not be able to stop it from occurring,
but you can limit the chances of it happening to YOU.
The answer is simple: Don't be a desirable target.
The following are attributes of an easy victim:
1) You are unaware of your immediate environment
and the people within it. Examples: Reading a magazine
at the bus stop, wearing headphones while jogging,
talking on the phone while driving.
2) Your posture and body language are submissive
in appearance and habit.
Examples: You smile when you are nervous, you don't
make eye contact with assertive people, you back away
3) Your circumstances put you at a disadvantage.
Examples: Your arms are full with packages, you are
injured or disabled, your car is broken down.
4) Your actions result in your losing control of your
Examples: You put down your suitcases and walk a
few steps away, you hang your pocketbook on the back
of the chair in a restaurant, or put it on the floor,
you try to carry many separate packages, or you leave
your briefcase, package or pocketbook on the seat
of the car but leave the window open while in city
Here are ways to address the above attributes:
1) Be aware.
Examples: Scan your environment, take notice of anything
unusual and make no assumptions about the safety of
2) Display confidence and assertiveness.
Examples: If confronted, make direct eye contact,
establish personal boundaries and stand firm.
3) Minimize your disadvantages. Maximize (1) and
Examples: Use a shopping cart or ask for assistance
from a trusted individual. Be more aware and more
assertive to make up for situations that cannot be
4) Keep your possessions under your control.
Examples: Keep packages or suitcases between your
legs when they are on the ground or hold the straps,
keep your pocketbook or package on your lap or a briefcase
between your legs when in a crowded restaurant, consolidate
your possessions (such as packages) to one or two
bags or into a suitcase or backpack, when driving
in the city of traffic lock the doors and put your
purse on the floor under your legs if the passenger
window is open.
Remember the mindset from the "Other Side"?
A predator always looks for the easy prey. They know
their environment. They are confident in their skills.
And they will always look for the advantage. Taking
on a victim who doesn't give up that advantage is
a danger to their success rate. So they would rather
wait for someone less risky.
It doesn't take much to discourage a predator. But
it does require the dedication of a valuable resource
our mind. We can still run through the list of things
to accomplish for the day, our flight itinerary, lunch
with so-and-so. But lying just beneath the surface
of this thought process is a level of awareness and
a simple, yet perceptible streak of confidence. We
are sending out the message loud and clear to the
predators: Find your lunch somewhere else.
Copyright 1999-2000 ASAP Seminars,
a Guard Up, Inc. company
Posted with permission of Meghan
Gardner and Guard Up, Inc.
Us Know Your Comments & Opinions On This Article
About The Author:
Meghan Gardner is the CEO and Instructor Director
for Guard Up, Inc., a company that offers programs
to companies and organizations in martial arts, Japanese
fencing and swordsmanship (Kendo and Iaido), European
fencing, boxing and Street Defense. ASAP Seminars,
a subsidiary of Guard Up, provides assault prevention
training to clients across the country.
Mrs. Gardner is also the founder of the American
Martial Way Association, a martial arts system based
out of eastern Massachusetts. She has been actively
training and teaching in the arts and assault prevention
(with a specialty in Knife/Counter-Knife Techniques)
for 18 years.
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