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Our culture seems to be trapped in an upward spiral of crime and violence in which innocent life has no meaning to the perpetrators. Robberies and disputes are routinely resulting in murder. Accounts of disgruntled, disturbed individuals acting out in misdirected retribution are increasingly commonplace. Regardless of the societal causes and solutions of such events, one factor that can mean the difference between being a homicide victim or a survivor is situational awareness.

Many who travel by airline are accustomed to counting the rows between their seats and the exit – just in case of an evacuation emergency. Applying this type of awareness to one’s everyday activities is not overly difficult. It does require focus and dedication, but could very well save your life.

The vast majority of people do not ever contemplate the possibility that they might come under armed assault. Then again, most victims were taken completely by surprise and, as a result, froze instead of moving decisively away from danger.

Countless law enforcement officers effectively utilize what is known as the O.O.D.A. Loop: Observe-Orient-Decide-Act. It also works in the civilian world. Developing an attitude of attentiveness and readiness is essential. Simply keeping track of your surroundings and exercising an ongoing recognition of the nearest escape route is the most critical aspect of situational awareness. Once a threat is perceived, it is vital to then take decisive action to move out of harm’s way.

Most importantly, one must avoid distractions that cause complacency. Someone walking around engrossed in iTunes or text messages is unlikely to notice the person wearing an overcoat, or find the instant refuge of an exit when an assault rifle emerges. Also, do not allow your attention to get lost in crowds. Look at individual people; they are like books – they can be read. Almost without exception, shooters are males, they are loners, and they are unhappy. In other words, they stand out. Pay close attention to the solitary, sulking guy who exudes anger.

The same considerations apply while driving. Avoid “gadget distraction” and be aware of your environment. Maintaining an escape route can prevent road rage incidents and carjacking. Watch out for and avoid the aggressive driver by keeping an extended visual zone of recognition and actively positioning your vehicle to avoid conflict. When stationary, be alert for pedestrians who approach your car. Never roll down the window or engage in conversation. And never park so close to the vehicle in front of you that you cannot go around it. Always leave yourself an out. Be ready to speed away, and do so without hesitation if you sense danger.

Robbers are especially on the lookout for prey during the Christmas holidays. Somebody who is discernibly aware of their surroundings and actively on the lookout, who walks with confidence and authority rather than aimlessly wandering in search of their car, will usually be avoided by the criminal. People who practice noticeable situational awareness are less apt to be selected for robbery. There are too many other soft targets who are easily taken by surprise.

You can rely on the specialists of ResultQuest for guidance in enhancing your situational awareness. Call us at 713/781-9040 to discuss any security concern. Let us help you to feel and be more secure.