It only takes 7 seconds for a criminal to choose their potential victim. During this time they assess the person walking in their direction and all of the possible risks. In the 1980s a study was conducted in order to figure out how criminals chose their victims. To do this, American psychologists videotaped one of New York City’s bustling streets for 3 days. They then showed the videotapes to criminals convicted of assault against people who were unknown to them and asked the criminals who they would choose to be their target on a scale of 1 to 10. Below, we will take a look at what the difference is between people criminals prefer to stay away from and those who become their target.
1. Fast Gait
Walking quickly is a sign of a nervous person. It indicates that the person is worried about something and inattentive to those around them. This makes them an easy target. It is better to walk at an average tempo or walk just a little faster than other pedestrians, while staying concentrated, aware and calm.
2. Stride length
People tend to limp when they are trying to be careful. They might have a blister, or an injury, causing them to be more cautious. This makes them vulnerable and unable to withstand an attack.
3. Ataxic gait
When you wiggle from side to side, bounce, or lose balance, it makes you look insecure. The movements of your arms and legs should be synchronized, and your gait should be smooth. Step on your heel first, then on your toes.
4. Sluggish movements
A person who moves slowly or shuffles their feet is a sign that their energy is close to zero. This type of person is an easy target because they are unable to fight back.
Slouching is perceived to be a form of submission for criminals. A crooked back, for instance, reveals a person who is shy or weak. While a straight back with square shoulders and chin up will make a criminal stay away.
6. Busy hands
Pickpockets admit that women whose hands are busy with bags or a phone are easy targets. Keeping your hands in your pockets while walking, will give a criminal a time advantage. This is because the first seconds of an assault are the most important.
7. Lack of eye contact
The element of surprise is key for a criminal, as the potential victim shouldn’t see their attacker. A great way to protect yourself is to look directly into other people’s eyes and make them understand that you saw them.
A person who cannot hear the sounds around them loses their grip on reality, making it easy for a criminal to attack you from behind and remain unnoticed. Avoid this by adjusting the volume on your headphones, making sure that you can still hear everything that is happening around you.
Be prepared: Criminals are mostly afraid of being injured or getting caught, so they do their best to avoid attention and noise. The best thing we can do to protect ourselves is to make them believe that we are not easy targets, and if required, we can fight back.