6 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Predator's Target

bloody target photo for Personal Defense Connection's Don't be a Target post

So... you take your ordinary thieves, thugs, predators and other bad guys... they don't like confrontation. Honestly. They want money and stuff. And they want easy money and stuff.

So they typically avoid choosing people who appear aware and confident for their target.

Predators are on the lookout for people who appear to be easy victims. The trick is to give these guys the impression that you are not an easy target.

To that end, here are six tips to help you avoid becoming a predator's target.

A Predator's Target is Constantly Looking at Their Phone

I'll start off with the one no one wants to hear... get your face out of your phone when you're out in public.

Think about it. There could be all kinds of things going on around you and you would never know it! Thugs want to be able to surprise their victims. With all of your concentration focused on your phone, you have no time to react since you have no idea that anything is coming.

You could be suddenly grabbed, hit, shoved, or have your purse/packages stolen. Since your reaction time is non-existent, there is no time to recognize the threat ahead of time. So there's no time to move away from the threat or to dodge a blow. As a result, you'll have no time to do anything to save yourself from becoming a victim.

And, ironically, by having your face buried in your phone and being completely unaware of your surroundings, a thief could easily grab your phone and be long gone before you even realize it happened.

Also, contrary to what some people think, having a person on the other end of the line does not make you safer. So put your phone away and look around. It might just save your life. And, it'll keep your phone safer.

A Predator's Target Won't Make Eye Contact

Bad guys like to size people up. Sometimes, they will "test" potential victims through eye contact.

For example, let's say you're on the subway and the man across from you (who happens to be looking for his next target) makes eye contact with you. If you respond by quickly looking down or to the side, you may become his next victim. Thugs like it when people seem intimidated and won't look them in the eye. So making eye contact with a potential thug makes you a less desirable victim. Which, by the way, is impossible to do if you're constantly looking at your phone... just saying.

When you make eye contact, you show him that you are aware of him. And that might be enough to convince him to leave you alone.

Don't stare him down. That could, in fact, cause him to react with anger. Instead, simply let him know that you see him, that you are paying attention and that you are aware of his presence.

A Predator's Target Doesn't Pay Attention to Their Surroundings

Do you pay attention to your surroundings when you're in public? Do you glance around now and then to see what's going on behind and beside you? You'll be less likely to become a target if you do.

Thugs look for people who are distracted, who aren't paying attention to what's going on outside their own personal space. Maybe you're distracted by your children or by a friend. It's OK to have conversations. Just remember be aware of what's happening around you, even while you are chatting or dealing with other things.

A Predator's Target Doesn't Look Confident

Be aware of what your body language is saying to people around you.

Just like in the animal kingdom, human predators usually target those they consider to be weak or vulnerable. Don't walk with your head down, your shoulders slumped, your hands in your pockets. This makes you completely unaware of your surroundings. And you might give predators the impression that you are unassertive and timid. Since most attackers do not want a fight, using confident body language might convince them that you are a good target.

Psychiatrist have found that the right body language - walking with confidence and awareness by keeping your head up and your shoulders back - will dramatically reduce the likelihood of becoming a target.

Looking confident during a potential threat, even when you aren’t feeling confident, takes practice and effort. So learn to be aware of your body language (head up, shoulders back, hands out of your pockets) when you are out in public. And walk with confidence.

A Predator's Target is Always Nice to Strangers

We all like nice people. They're polite and helpful and welcoming. And most us of want to be nice, friendly people. It makes life a lot more enjoyable. But it can also get you into trouble. Thugs, burglars, murderers, psychopaths...they love nice people, too. They rely on nice people not wanting to be rude or make a scene. They prey on our natural inclination to be helpful.

"Predators will use social conventions to their advantage. They know that it’s rude to be rude, and that nice people don’t want to be rude. They know you’ll feel strange crossing the street when they’re walking toward you, and that you probably won’t. They know you probably won’t tell them to get out of your face when they come too close, or that you’ll shake their hand when they put it out for you."

~ David Erath Jr, The Ultimate Guide to Unarmed Self Defense

Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good looking, well educated man who used his victims' inclination to be nice to his advantage. He often lured them into his car by pretending to be injured and asking for their help. Sadly, many unsuspecting women chose to be nice and help him. Their kindness proved to be a fatal mistake.

It's OK to be a nice person. But please be cautious and aware.

Don't put yourself in a dangerous position out of courtesy or for fear of offending.

If a stranger stops and asks for directions, for the time, or for help of some kind, it's okay to say "sorry" and keep moving. It's OK to say no.

And don't make the mistake of thinking that it's only men that you need to be cautious with. While many predators are men, women sometimes work with men, or even alone, to gain your trust for their evil intentions.

A Predator's Target Doesn't Know How to Defend Him/Herself

Take a self defense class (or two). You'll learn awareness skills, defensive techniques and confidence. It's certainly a lot easier to appear confident when you feel confident.

Remember, Most Predators, Thugs, Thieves and Other Bad Guys are Looking for the easy Mark

Yes, there are some thugs who will attack anyone at anytime for anything, no matter how you look or how aware you are.

But, if you keep your head up, pay attention to your surroundings, look confident, use caution with strangers, and learn to defend yourself, you'll have a much better chance of keeping yourself off the radar of the majority of predators, thugs, thieves and bad guys. As a result, you'll lower your chances of becoming a target.

Related Post: "4 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Victim -- Parking Lot Safety."

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