What is a criminal? What does one look like? Why do they want to hurt you or take advantage of you?
We want to believe most people are basically good but for some individuals this is simply not true. You never know what someone's background was, how desperate they are or what battles they are mentally going through.
Criminals come in ALL shapes and sizes. They come from all walks of life and there is not a group of people without criminals among them. So how do you know one when you see one? Typically you can't know right away which is why it's so important to know how they think and operate.
Some criminals are out to take advantage of you, maybe con you, steal your debit info or hack into your credit card account. These are usually a "smarter" criminal who knows demanding money at knifepoint isn't the kind of occupation that promises a long healthy life. These criminals typically value their life and heavily consider the risk vs. the benifit of their crime. While we still need to be aware and protect ourselves from this type, they are not usually the kind that puts our lives in immediate danger.
The mugger, the rapist, the kidnapper, the robber and the violent attacker are a different type of criminal.
These criminals have a selfish child-like thought process, believing that getting what they want when they want it is a perfect reason to break the law... They are above the law in their eyes. Criminals don't think of consequences when planning to break the law, they are in the now. They are usually very good at convincing themselves that they are a victim and by taking/doing what they want they are somehow justified. They think they are smarter than you. They feel wronged by society and YOU are society. Showing someone mercy in their eyes makes you weak. There is no empathy in a criminal looking for prey.
A rapist doesn't think of a woman as a person, only an object to be used and controlled. They've been brainwashed from a young age to think this way and see women as sex-objects. Her pain and embarrassment gives him the ultimate sense of power.
A robber or mugger sees whatever you own as his already and he just needs to take it from you. He needs it, you don't. He will never consider your needs.
A trafficker looking for someone to kidnap sees his prey as a way to make money, an investment in his business and a leg up on competition. Something disposable when he isn't profiting enough.
What might make you a target to one type of criminal may not cause another type to pick you out. There is no one-size-fits-all way for crime prevention and self defense. This is why layering your protection is important.
While taking a self defense course my instructor asked us to give him examples of situations where we felt we were in danger. Every time someone shared their story, our instructor's first question would be "how did you come to put yourself into that position?" Almost always the answer was something along the lines of not paying attention or being in a place they didn't belong.
We need to train ourselves to be aware of what's going on around us (Stop looking down at your phones people!) and to think ahead for any problems and dangers that could come from our actions.
Learning more about criminals makes them a little less scary. Learning how to react in numerous situations makes them a lot less scary. I never want to use scare tactics to get people into my classes or buy self defense products. I want to encourage you to listen to reports of crime but instead of letting them instill a feeling of fear, use it as an opportunity for a lesson. See if you can figure out why he picked his target. Think about what you would do if you were faced with that situation. If you don't know, do some research, or email me for a free safety consult: EastCoastSchoolOfSafety@gmail.com
I want to believe everyone has good in them and everyone can change but the truth of the matter is a criminal when he/she has chosen a target is like a wild animal out for blood. There is no mercy. The only thing that's going to stop them is your brain and training.