As the holidays quickly approach and everyone is out shopping and enjoying the many festivities and events with family and friends, we sometimes forget to stay in condition yellow.
Perhaps it is the eggnog or simply the wonderful feeling that these holidays bring each and every year that give us justification for losing sight of our situational awareness. And unfortunately, this is when criminals and opportunists recognize that this is the perfect time to perpetrate crimes.
One of the areas where people are most vulnerable is in and around parking lots and garages. The first and foremost key ingredient to avoid becoming a victim of any crime is awareness, which boils down to a relaxed state of alertness, aka condition yellow.
You should employ the same awareness skills whether you’re walking to your vehicle in a parking lot, outside the shopping mall or even at your residence. This includes scanning the environment for people and status changes, scanning for vehicles and status changes and always correlating the situation you are confronted with in total terms of the environment, the circumstances, including what you are doing and where you are doing it.
For example, let’s say that you get up in the morning and head out for your morning walk. As you walk around your neighborhood, you notice an unfamiliar car parked on one of the streets. As you quickly walk by, you spot a man in the vehicle who seems to be occupied on a phone call. He very casually but intentionally turns his head away from you as you walk by.
You have a 9 o’clock meeting that you must attend, which causes you to forego most other thoughts. Later on that day, you head home. And as you pass that same side street in your neighborhood, you see the same car as you did in the morning, sitting in the same spot on the side of the road, except now you clearly notice two men in the vehicle. Alarm bells are going off in your head as you recognize the status changes and try to analyze the situation.
Awareness can be an excellent tool to help you avoid confrontation, but it can also offer you an immediate blueprint of what is happening around you, thus alerting you to potential danger before it happens!
Because of the current culture of violence that exists in our society – where police officers are targeted randomly and mobile active killers are more of a convention than ever before – training your situational awareness is not something to consider, it is something that you must implement every day!
To that end, crime is not going away but there are specifics that can be applied to train that 360-degree situational awareness to mitigate your risk:
|Stay alert – Don’t let a thug like him get the drop on you in a parking lot or parking garage.|
1. Sometimes it is not that the individual did not pick up on pre-assaultive cues or attack-behavior. It may be an issue of complacency borne out of repeated daily patterns. This congruency promotes a discord in cognitive programming that leads to inattentiveness and thus the individual fails to see, hear or understand those danger cues, or “tells”, of the incoming threat in advance. Solution: Train awareness so that the individual will more rapidly recognize pre-attack or behavioral indicators.
2. Scan your surroundings constantly, even more so when in a vehicle, and especially if you’re stationary for any length of time. During my time in the field, we knew it was risky to stay in one place for too long, especially if we were sitting in a vehicle. So, we rarely stayed in or near our vehicles. But when we knew we were going to be stuck in car, say while doing surveillance on a target, we often fooled people with a “Jack-in-the-box” (this is essentially an oversized briefcase that sat on the seat and when activated “popped” up to assume the figure and dimension and features of a human being!) Of course, this isn’t realistic for people outside of special ops and the intelligence community.
3. For streets or areas outside of your Area of Operation (your neighborhood or areas you are very familiar with) then make it your business to drive around and get a baseline both day and night.
4. Get away from the traditional thinking that: “Crime is overrated” or “That’s never going to happen to me.” This is a dangerous behavior that predisposes one to the wrong mindset. Combating natural bias simply means to stop ignoring or discounting actual risk.
Well, some people have built a little cabin in the woods. They’ve stocked it with food, guns, and ammunition. They call it a “bolt hole.” You know what? It’s not such a bad idea! But it’s not for everyone. I’ve got a better way to protect myself. And you do, too. The answer is to get rich. Rich enough to weather the storm and keep your assets out of danger.
The best defense, in other words, is a good offense. And guess what? The K Wave itself will give you the perfect way to do that. Make sure to click here to download my new free report Stock Marker Tsunami! -Larry Edelson
5. Avoid Center of Attention Fixation (COAF) in transition areas or while transitioning. This means if you pull over to get coffee (most people frequent the same coffee spots) and you start texting in those familiar surroundings, you are complacent and you are then deemed predictable. Predictability is vulnerability.
That said, the idea is to address the type of potentially violent attacks that occur in and around parking lots and garages as well as other areas where confined space will be the environment in which you will need to operate, survive and win!
Let’s talk about parking lots and garages
In parking lots and garages, the majority of attacks occur on the way to the vehicle or when you exit the vehicle. Because of when the attack occurs, the vehicle may not be operable. The engine will likely be off. You therefore will not be able to drive off or put it in reverse and step on the gas.
So, Your Priorities Are:
1. Always employ good situational awareness. Scan your surroundings constantly and look for a change in status of people and vehicles.
2. Before you exit your vehicle, always check the area around it by looking into your rear-view and side-view mirrors. Look for threats like someone concealing a weapon or brandishing a weapon. Or look for someone who simply seems to be moving with aggressive purpose.
3. When threatened, always use the vehicle as your primary mode of defense. If you are already locked in the vehicle and the motor is on – or you can turn it on in an instant – drive away quickly!
4. However, if you’re caught too far from the vehicle to get in it and escape, then you will have to run or engage depending on the situation. I stress “weapons training” and I suggest you always carry some type of weapon, whether gun or knife, preferably both. Don’t leave things to chance and DO train with these weapons so that you have a thorough proficiency when the time comes to use them. Check the local municipality where you live or where you are traveling to find out what you can and cannot carry. Something is better than nothing if you have the training to support it. Consider carrying OC/pepper spray, tactical pens and tactical flashlights.
5. Remember, common objects can become makeshift weapons, including magazines, books, and keys. Do not punch with keys held between your fingers as many self-defense instructors recommend. This method can cause you pain and it is not a stable way to employ the tool. Better yet, hold a single key as if it were a knife and use it in the same manner as a knife, targeting specific high value anatomy such as eyes.
6. Learn to articulate and more importantly act like the attack or assault is not about your property, such as your vehicle, laptop or jewelry. It is about the fact that this person, or persons, is there to cause you severe bodily harm, perhaps even kill you. And, after exhausting every option, such as using good situational awareness and active avoidance, you are faced with having to engage the attacker with force to protect yourself and to stop the threat.
7. If you are out and about and shopping or getting a cup of coffee, you may have bags or work-related items occupying your hands. So position all non-essential items, meaning non-weapons, in your non-dominant or “support” hand. Leave your strong hand clear and ready to deploy a weapon, to grab a weapon of chance or to engage the attacker with that hand.
8. Consider that any bags, briefcases, backpacks or even books and magazines may be employed as a protective barrier against a knife, impact weapon or even someone’s fist. Keep in mind that these shields may be temporary but they could allow you to create time and space to deploy a weapon.
Because of all of these things and more, attacks in and around parking lots and garages are something you must plan for. These situations are very dynamic and evolve very rapidly and must be assessed and dealt with within the circumstances.
There are numerous areas that you must consider when dealing with any situation around your vehicle including exiting seat belts or deploying weapons both inside and outside the vehicle. You must consider scenarios such as how to deal with an attacker who has you pinned on the hood or who has shoved you in the back of your SUV and climbed on top of you.
Combine this with the conditions you will have to operate under, and you are facing a very serious, critical incident without proper training and rehearsal, such as I offer for counter-ambush training in my Immediate Vehicle Oriented Combat Program.
Use the above priorities as a guideline to establishing some basic standard operating procedures in parking lots and garages. And remember that in the absence of professional instruction or for those who have received poor training in this subject, you can gain important insight into how you would respond to an ambush situation and even gain new tactics by employing visualization.
For this, you don’t need any fancy equipment or instructor because it is simply using your own mind to run through different scenarios and how you respond. This type of critical-incident rehearsal is actually very effective in helping you prepare for the fight of your life.
In fact, here is a little homework assignment: Imagine it’s nighttime. You’re moving toward your vehicle in a parking lot, when you get the strange sensation that you are being followed. You can see your car and it is only 15 more feet to the driver’s door. Your heartbeat hastens as you run through your options. You hear footsteps behind you. As you look over your shoulder, there is a dark shadowy figure of a man 20 feet behind you and closing quickly.
Can you click that key fob, open the door, get in and lock the doors? What if he has a gun or knife? What if you can’t get into the car, what will you do? What will you do if you open the car door but as you are about to close it, the attacker stops you and begins his or her assault?
Use mental imagery to imagine what you will do in these situations. Always imagine that you are the victor in the outcome and keep rehearsing until you have a plan of action!
Until next time, stay alert, check your six, put your back against the wall and stay safe!
P.S. Critical protection in a world gone mad … You can carry it anywhere, it can defeat an attacker in seconds, it could SAVE your life! Click here for all the details!