It’s no secret that there are predatory people in our society. Whether they are driven by poverty, or are sociopathic in nature, it’s a simple mathematical probability that you will eventually run into these people in your life. They choose their victims in a way that is not unlike predators in the animal kingdom. They are often ruthlessly efficient at sniffing out weaknesses, and sensing when you’re off your guard.
While many of the strategies below were originally tailored for urban areas, rural scenes have their fair share of sketchy trailer parks, rest stops, and dive bars. As the sun sets on America’s affluent lifestyle, it will become more likely that you’ll find yourself in the company of desperate and dangerous people, no matter where you live. Learning to spot predatory individuals and make yourself an undesirable target, is easily transferred from one scenario to another with the proper adjustments. There’s only one rule that is universal in avoiding any violent situation. Check your pride at the door.
Anyone in the Prepper community who has gone through the forums and comments of any survival website, knows what I’m talking about. Some people are eager to fight and prove themselves for all the wrong reasons (many of them will become a problem for you if the system breaks down). They often lose sight of the term “survival” and focus on “glory”. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are, it rarely takes one punch to win, and it seldom takes one shot to put someone down. Most fights turn into a kind of, blow by blow attrition until one person submits. No one, no matter how good of a fighter they are, gets out of a confrontation without getting hurt. It’s up to you to chose your battles carefully, and the best strategy is to not get into a fight in the first place. If of course, it can be avoided.
Now that that’s out of the way, lets discuss some strategies you can easily recognize. Body language in particular. It’s often said, that when you’re in a bad neighborhood you need to act confident. You need to walk straight and keep your eyes on your surroundings. Don’t ever stop to twiddle with your cell phone. Nobody gets mugged more often these days, then someone who has all of their awareness siphoned into a portable, expensive gadget. Another red flag for criminals, is if you appear to be lost (especially if you’re a tourist). To a predator, being lost means you’re awareness is no longer in your immediate vicinity, but inside your mind as you struggle to recall the directions. They may also wait for you to pull out your cell phone and lose even more awareness.
Another aspect of body language is eye contact. It’s the surest way to prove to people in your vicinity, that you are in fact aware. The eye contact shouldn’t be too strained though. Depending on cultural context, extended eye contact is often a sign of aggression (if you’re traveling to another country, always research the body language of the locals). The best thing to do is to make brief eye contact and continue to scan your surroundings, and occasionally look over your shoulder as well to show you have awareness in all directions.