In this day and age, one can no longer pretend that they are not personally responsible for their own safety and security. Gone are the days that if you felt threatened all you had to say was, “…..leave me alone or I will call the police!”
The Department of Justice reports that the best response time in the nation is just over 4 minutes and the worst is just over 1 hour! According to American Police Beat, the average response time across the country is 10 minutes. Atlanta PD will take (on average) 11-12 minutes to respond to a felony related call….. with Nashville responding at the lighting speed of 9 minutes.
Now consider this fact. Even if we accept the U.S. Department of Justice average 911 call “response time” of 4 minutes as accurate, the average interaction time between a criminal and his victim is 90 seconds. That means you could be robbed/injured/maimed/raped/beaten or murdered…..and then wait for an additional two and a half minutes for Emergency Responders to arrive!
Castle Rock vs. Gonzales
You may also be surprised to learn that the Supreme Court has ruled that the Police cannot be sued for failing to respond to a call for help or for failing to protect you from a felony assault…..even if it results in your death. Law Enforcement is not your personal security team.
Most cities have reached their “saturation point,” with regards to being able to place enough men and women in “blue” on the street to realistically maintain order in general and also respond to violent crimes during their commission. The Castle Rock vs. Gonzales court case is just one of many legal rulings that absolve Law Enforcement from being held accountable, if they don’t respond adequately (or at all) to your call for help.
Now that we have established that Law Enforcement does not have to respond to your calls for help, what role do they play? Most likely they will arrive sometime after the crime has been committed (if at all) to transcribe the crime scene into standardized documentation. They will speak to witnesses (if there are any willing to speak to them); they will take photos of the scene and of course collect any physical evidence that is available.
In other words, Law Enforcement has moved from a prevention focus to a solving the crime focus. It is their hope that by bringing to justice the criminal who perpetrated the crime against you……they can prevent them from repeating similar crimes against others.
Please do not misconstrue the aforementioned facts as being “anti-law enforcement.” On the contrary, we are very “Pro-Law Enforcement.” We appreciate everything the fine men and women in Blue do every day to try and keep us safe.
However, even rank-and-file Police Officers will tell you that while they would do anything to try and intercede and stop a crime, the truth is…..there are just not enough of them on the streets to make that type of response possible. It is simple math. There are more bad guys doing bad things than good guys trying to stop them.
What’s your Plan?
If we can’t rely on our trained Civil Servants to protect us, who can we rely on? The answer to that question is clear. We must rely on ourselves. We must prepare ourselves for the unlikely eventuality that we will be targeted for violent crime. What can we do to prepare? Below are some recommendations we believe will help in that regards. However, remember that just considering these ideas will not help you. You must implement them (or your own). Knowing you should be wearing a seatbelt will not protect you in a vehicle crash. You must wear your seatbelt…..or it was only a good idea!
- Condition Yellow – When you are outside of a known safe environment (such as your home) you should remain focused on your surroundings. If condition “white,” is letting your guard down completely and condition “red” is being in a full blown fight for your life, then condition “yellow,” is being in a state of alertness to your surroundings. This means not texting while walking, but walking with a purpose. Keeping a strong and positive body posture. Eyes “up” and scanning for potential threats. In other words, keeping your “head on a swivel.” Most Law Enforcement experts will tell you that this simple act alone will dissuade a majority of attacks against you. This is because you do not look like an easy target. You will not be easily surprised. You look prepared and therefore you must be. An easier target will come behind you so the thug looking for a victim will most likely pass you by.
- Avoid Crime Scenes - Park in well lit places. Do not use dark stairwells or exits that may “dump” you out into precarious locations. Travel in packs. Even if you are by yourself, attach yourself to walking groups of people. Be aware of exits that lock behind you and seal off your escape routes. Don’t “hug” corners….you never know who or what is just around it so make sure you create a “response space,” when rounding them. In other words, make “wide turns,” at corners. If you KNOW a bad reputation exists about a certain bar, club, mall, beach or parking garage……avoid it! This may sound like common sense, but most defensive tactics are based on logical concepts. Always remember this: if an attacker wants to take you any place rather than where you currently are, fight for your life using all of the violence and force you can muster. No mugger who is intent on only stealing your money will need to pull you into a more secluded area to continue their attack. They are taking you someplace where they will have more time and privacy to do other things. DO NOT go quietly into the night!
- Carry Options – What defensive tools do you carry? Notice we didn’t ask if you carry. You should be carrying certain tools all the time. High-powered stun guns, pepper spray, expandable batons, knives, Gunting Tools and flash lights should all be considered. If you live where you can apply for a Concealed Weapon License and carry a firearm….and secure proper training to use it, this may be your best option. Many people are uncomfortable with carrying a lethal force weapon and they are entitled to their opinion. However, some type of “equalizer,” tools/defensive weapons should be considered. A small, high-powered flash light with an instant on button should always be with you. Even during the day time. You never know when you may be in an interior room of a building with no windows and the lights go out.
- Self-Defense Classes – While taking self-defense classes can help to get you in good fighting shape, they take time to develop a level of practical skill that could be used to fend off an attacker…and in many cases years of training are required. Look for classes that are “crash-courses,” in inflicting tremendous amounts of violence on an attacker. A good class will expose you to being punched and physically challenged by pretend attackers. It is important that you learn to not “freeze,” during an attack because you were slapped or punched. Realistic, intensive training that instills a “warrior” mindset in you is more effective than earning different colored belts.
Regardless of where you may have read or heard that it is always better to “not fight back,” when attacked, that is only true in certain circumstances. If you are mugged and the thug wants to take your money, jewelry, car keys or other valuables……then of course you should comply. No car or watch is worth your life or those with you.
However, if you believe that the robbery is only a prelude to what is about to turn into a rape, assault or murder, you must respond with even more violence and force than is being visited upon you. You cannot waver in your resolve. You must not give in or quit. You will be injured. You may be hurt very badly. However, under no circumstances can you give in to this attacker. This is a fight to the death. Make sure it is not yours.