A Perfect Weapon; A Perfect Gift



Urban awareness





'The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing, in that it stands ready for what comes and is not thrown by the unforeseen.'
Marcus Aurelius,  Meditations
I've always said- knowledge of the tactics used by aggressors, makes you far better at detecting and avoiding trouble. Equipped with grounded security knowledge, you will appreciate the need to make awareness much  sharper.
There are various tactics that street robbers will use to corner the targeted person, or get them to stop. Take into account, we are specifically focusing on mugging scenarios here. Other types of aggressors may use other approaches. I discussed this subject, in a bit more detail in the Critical Black feature Grabbed. We already talked about the detection phase and the use of spotters. Sometimes, the muggers simply loiter and see who passes by them and who may be an easy target. This is rather like the opportunistic thief that sees a valuable item, on the seat of a car. That said, in many of the muggings taking place in affluent areas of London, there's often a more organised approach, used by the gangs.
Let's look at the approach tactics...
They may spot potential victim, then follow from the rear. This is why observation skills must take into account what is happening, on the road ahead but also behind us. In our urban disengagement sessions, different methods are shown to maintain some awareness of six o' clock activity. This involves direct and subtle look round methods.
Some gangs like to use side roads or buildings to deliver ambushes, as you turn around a corner or onto a different street.  Here we utilise the wide berth principle, to at least maintain some distance and even see further ahead.
Recent years have seen the popular tactic of the moped gangs, who scan those who look unobservant or have their phone or expensive bag on display. Be aware of vehicle activity, even when walking along the street and not simply when crossing roads. Auditory senses also help here. That's why it's good if one doesn't comprise awareness, by using head phones when on the move.
Static vehicles also allow for sudden surprise attacks. Don't assume that the gang vehicle will look like a rough looking white van; even quite expensive vehicles can be used. Learn to observe, in subtle fashion, parked vehicles particularly, where there seems to be more than one person in it. Sometimes, they may leave the engine running.
Another gang tactic is to try and initiate, by bumping into the person, as they walk past them. If you see 'space invader' types on the road ahead, try to slip away, much earlier. Their demeanour and body language often reveal a lot.
Others like to dwell outside nocturnal venues, like clubs and bars, where they can blend into the night life outside or, even within fast food joints. Also, make sure you switch on your rapid scanning skills, as you leave tube stations or train stations.
Now, I am just giving a brief intro to gang approaches today; there are many others. This should give you a sense of times when you definitely need to heighten awareness and establish distance or blend in. The other day, someone asked me about self defence weapons, such as pepper sprays. There are various self defence items that potentially could be used to protect oneself. That said, all these items can be limited due to reasons of accessibility, under pressure. They may cause things to escalate. Bad guys have weapons too. There may be far better options. Sometimes, certain implements do have a moment or a place- but that's for another day.
To my mind, the perfect weapon, the perfect gift even... is our awareness when we allow it to connect and flow with the moment. From our awareness, many capabilities can be accessed, states can be conveyed, movements can be initiated, calm steps deployed.  And so, to echo Marcus Aurelius, we stand ready...
About the author
Aran is the founder of the Tri Tier tactical training system. He specialises in personal safety, urban disengagement,  travel awareness and resilience. With diverse experience in various areas of the security sector, Aran also works with global security companies involved in investigations, due diligence and reputation safeguarding. Deployed on the ground in numerous cases, he provides unique  intelligence and profiling capabilities. For consultations or training contact: office@tri-tier.com
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