Threat Recognition

Recognizing a potential threat is eighty percent of the battle. You must be able to recognize a threat whether it’s obvious or not.

Who is a threat? Anyone who is attempting to control you, deceive you, intimidate you, or cause you bodily harm.

This includes anyone who lies, steals, scams, or attempts to victimize you in any way. Anyone has the potential to be a threat to you, but it usually takes criminal intent for someone to follow through with violence or a crime. Men, women, teenagers, and even small children can harm you, but only if they intend to do so. You don’t have to live your life in constant fear; you should, however, be alert for signs of criminal intent.

Pay attention to a person’s actions, or lack thereof. When you get an uncomfortable feeling, this is a red flag – a signal that you may have a threat on your hands. Your body is under stress. This is your body’s natural security system, so listen to your gut!

Psychology of Self Defense


Here are some examples of situations that should make you think that something isn’t right:

  • A man wearing excessive clothing or a heavy jacket on a hot day (could be hiding a weapon)
  • An unknown person knocking on your door claiming to be a repair or delivery person (could be a scam artist, a sexual predator, or scouting for burglary)
  • A man who drives by an elementary school and stops to sit and watch the children as they leave (possible pedophile, molester or abductor)
  • A person you remember arguing with earlier is now waiting outside the building as you’re leaving (potential fight)
  • Angry and aggressive significant other who is an extremist (possible domestic violence, murder, or mental abuse)
  • Two people who approach you in a parking lot, talking fast, trying to sell you something or borrow money (possible scam, theft or robbery)
  • Somebody you just met or have not known very long asks a lot of questions such as: Where do you live? Do you live with someone? Where do you work? When do you get home? When do you leave? Do you own a dog? (potential rapist, stalker, or murderer)
  • Anyone who always offers to assist you with certain tasks, who generally doesn’t do this for other people (may have an agenda)
  • Someone you know who always wants to know your entire plan for the day, or who times your coming and going (possibly hiding something)
  • Someone watching from their car in a parking lot (could be a car thief, a stalker, a set up for robbery –or someone who’s just plain bored)

Any of these situations might turn out to be nothing. But it’s better to be cautious about a situation and wrong, than to be careless and wrong.

There are many clues you can look for. You just need to pay attention to any signs, no matter how subtle. Again, listen to your gut! There’s no harm in that – and it might save your life!

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