What is a threat?
Recognizing a potential threat is 80% of the battle. Mentally, you must be able to recognize a threat whether it is obvious or not. Anyone who is attempting to take control, deceive, intimidate, or cause bodily harm is a threat. This includes anyone that lies, steals, scams, or attempts to victimize you in any way.
Who can be a threat?
Now that you know the definition of a threat, you need to know who can be a threat. Everyone can be a potential threat to you, but you do not want to live your life in fear. 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.
How can you recognize a threat?
If everyone has the potential to be a threat, then how do you recognize a threat? To recognize a threat you have to pay attention to a person’s actions or lack thereof. You must also put as many protective measures as possible between yourself and other people. The following examples will greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
Examples: security devices, self-defense training, knowledge of criminal behavior patterns.
When you are paying attention to strangers around you and you get an uncomfortable feeling, this is a red flag. A red flag is a signal that you have a threat on your hands.
This brings us to the three A’s:
Awareness, Alarm and Action, which are covered previously. Important note to remember: Once you are progressing through A.A.A., your body is under stress. This is your body’s natural security system, so listen to your gut!
Here are some examples of actions that should make you think something is not right:
- A man wearing excessive clothing or a heavy jacket on a hot day (hiding a weapon)
- An unknown person knocking on your door posing as someone you do not know (scouting for burglary, scam artist, or sexual predator)
- A man who drives by an elementary school and stops to sit and watch the children as they leave (pedophile, molester, abductor)
- A person you remember arguing with earlier waiting outside the building you are leaving (potential fight)
- Angry and aggressive significant other that is an extremist (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 (scam, theft or robbery)
- Somebody you just met or have not known very long asks a lot of questions: 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)
There are so many clues you can look for; you just need to pay attention to any signs no matter how subtle. Most of all, listen to your gut!