The People of the Gun constantly recommend maintaining “situational awareness.” And rightly so. The sooner you detect a criminal attack, the sooner you can defend against it, and the better your chances of evading, escaping or attacking. But there’s more to situational awareness than simply having it. You have to know when to raise it. To do that, you have to . . .
think like a criminal. Assess your surroundings as if you were the bad guy looking to attack.
The criminals’ main strategy: ambush. If a victim doesn’t see a bad guy or guys coming there’s less chance that the target will be able to mount resistance. Speed, surprise and violence of action. What works for you for self-defense works for them in an attack.
So criminals look for locations where they can surprise their victims. Alleys. Corners. Parking lots. Locations with places to hide: behind dumpsters and cars, around corners, etc. Places where escape is difficult.
By the same token, criminals are naturally averse to times and locations where there are people who might come to the aid of their victims. Hence the theft above: a nighttime attack on a relatively deserted street without pedestrians.
When you put yourself in the mindset of a criminal and find yourself in a time and place where a criminal attack could occur, turn on your bad guy radar. And think. What would I do if I was attacked here? What are my options? Run/cycle faster, place an object between myself and my attacker? Get ready to draw my firearm (e.g., make sure my gun is available and my gun hand is free)?
You’re a good guy. You wouldn’t attack an innocent person for any reason. But you live in a world where people do just that. Remember that fact, but don’t forget that your imagination can save your life.