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A criminal needs just 7 seconds to choose their potential victim. During this period of time, they assess the person walking in their direction and all of the possible risks. Not every person will become a victim. Let’s figure out what the difference is between people criminals prefer to stay away from and those who become their target.
Bright Side would like to share with you the things that criminals pay attention to in the first place, and what you should do in order to avoid becoming their target.
A study was conducted in the 1980s in order to figure out how criminals chose their victims. American psychologists videotaped one of New York City’s bustling streets for 3 days. Then they showed these videotapes to criminals convicted of assault against people who were unknown to them. They asked the criminals to point out who they would choose to be their target on a scale of 1 to 10. It turns out that criminals can perceive nonverbal cues coming from people and choose those they can easily control. So, what type of behavior would compromise your safety?
1. Fast gait
A rapid walk is a sign of a nervous person. This person is worried about something and inattentive to those around them. Thus, they can become an easy target. It’s better to walk at an average tempo or walk just a little faster than other people in the pedestrian flow. But, you need to be concentrated, aware, and calm.
2. Stride length
Usually people limp when they are trying to be careful. They might have a blister on their foot or another type of injury. In this case, they are vulnerable and can’t withstand an attack.
3. Ataxic gait
Wiggling from side to side, bouncing, or losing balance makes your gait look insecure. The movements of your arms and legs should be synchronized, while your gait should be smooth. You should step on your heel first and then on your toes.
4. Sluggish movements
When a person moves slowly or shuffles their feet, it’s a sign that their energy is close to zero. It’s easy to assault this type of person because they can’t fight back.
Criminals perceive slouching as submission. A crooked back reveals a shy and weak person. While a straight back, square shoulders, and chin up will make a criminal stay away from you.
6. Busy hands
Pickpockets admit that women whose hands are busy with bags or a phone are the easiest targets. If you keep your hands in your pockets while walking, you’re giving a criminal a time advantage 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. The potential victim shouldn’t see their attacker. So, you can protect yourself by looking directly into other people’s eyes and making them understand that you saw them.
A person who doesn’t hear the sounds around them loses their grip on reality. It will be easy for a criminal to attack you from behind and remain unnoticed. To avoid this, adjust the volume on your headphones to make sure that you hear everything that’s happening around you.
According to researchers, criminals are mostly afraid of being injured or getting caught. 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 that we can fight back.
If you know how to behave when assaulted tell us in the comments below. Maybe your experience can become really helpful for others.
Illustrated by Marat Nugumanov for BrightSide.me