4 ways criminals plan their attacks

Carol W. lives in Franklin Township, PA, where she works the overnight shift at a local business. One morning, after getting off work around 5am, Carol stopped by a local Walmart to grab a few items.

Surveillance footage from the Walmart shows a male following Carol around the store, while keeping his distance so she didn’t notice.

After leaving the store, Carol was followed home by an older black car. Once she arrived home, a man approached Carol as she got out of her vehicle and asked for directions.

When she retrieved a pen and paper from her vehicle to write out the directions, the man repeatedly assaulted her before getting in his vehicle and driving away.

Thankfully, Carol was not seriously injured and didn’t require medical attention. The thing is, there is no question Carol’s attacker had plenty of time to plan and execute his crime, which is all too common when it comes to career criminals.

According to crime studies, it takes only seven seconds for a criminal to pick their victim. Some bad guys carry out crimes of opportunity such as stealing a car left running in the driveway.

But, other criminals commit well planned out sprees. To help you avoid falling victim to a criminal, I want to share with you the typical criminal attack cycle and breakdown how you can stay safer.

Stalking their prey. Of course, the first thing any predator is going to do is look for their victim. For instance, they may walk around Walmart pretending to shop but they are really looking for an easy target or the weakest person, so to speak.

This is where it’s really simple for potential victims to throw the criminal off their attack cycle. If you see a person that you think is following you around the store, you should make eye contact with them.

You could even stop them to ask, “What time is it?” This will tell the criminal that you are on to them. Chances are, after you’ve made contact and got a good look at them, they aren’t going to continue in their plan.

Choosing a victim. Remember, the criminal is going to choose an easy victim. Someone that appears like they won’t fight back, someone who will do whatever the bad guy says. Plus, they are going to look for someone who is being unobservant.

In other words, someone who is looking down at their phone constantly or someone who hasn’t even looked behind them at the store to catch the bad guy following.

A criminal will look for their prey and once they identified who they think will be an easy victim, they will continue to follow that person unless they are thrown off their plan.

Plan the attack. Once the bad guy has picked his victim, he will choose his best option for carrying out the attack. For example, he may decide to ask the victim for directions such as the case above.

Or he could say, “Excuse me, did you drop this money?” The fact is, there are numerous ways for a criminal to initiate contact to carry out their attack. Now, if you have reached this point in the attack cycle, this is where you must act to prevent the crime.

If the bad guy asks for directions you need to say, no and get away from him, quickly. Do not be afraid to grab your tactical pen from your pocket and have it ready to use.

Deciding to strike. This final stage is where the criminal attacks. Obviously, at this point you have no choice but to fight back. This is where you will punch them in the throat, in the face, in the groin, etc.

This is where you will jab them with the tactical pen. One of the best things you can remember to do here is to “stay in the fight” and never give in or give up.

As I mentioned, most criminals have a blueprint for how they carry out their crimes and will take steps to find an easy victim. The key thing to remember is to never appear weak and be confident when out in public.

While most criminals aren’t geniuses, they have most likely carried out crimes before and they know what they are looking for in a victim. Next time you see a creepy guy at the store just take the extra steps to make sure that victim isn’t you.

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