Nearly 20 million crimes were committed in the United States in 2018! Most of these offenses were perpetrated against everyday citizens like you and me. Folks who live in nice areas and are not surrounded by crime riddled ghettos or communities. These crimes ranged from homicide and rape, all the way to larceny and automobile thefts.
One of the most alarming statistics however, is one out of six females is sexually assaulted in the U.S every 58 seconds! To make matters worse, females between the ages of 17-24, are four times more likely to be assaulted according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). In reality, RAINN admits this second number may be much higher, considering a majority of sexual assaults on college campuses go unreported because of guilt associated with alcohol induced events and/or date rapes. Simply stated, we are in danger in our everyday lives with our most vulnerable (young females) facing the greatest threats! Now, what can we do about it?
First of all, we must understand and be convinced that it’s the threat of being attacked or assaulted that we must be concerned with, and not necessarily the risk or probability that it will occur. What does that mean? If we think we are not at risk because of our location, environment or past experiences, then we generally will let our guard down and simply not be prepared to “expect the unexpected”. In other words, we will find ourselves not vigilant and easy prey for that assailant or criminal (threat) that is looking for that “lamb” to attack! When can this happen? See if these examples “ring a bell”. When you are sitting in the comfort of your home and someone, unexpected, knocks at your door and you routinely open it like you have done a thousand times before without knowing who is on the other side. Or you are working in your back yard on a Saturday morning and you leave the garage door open or the front door unlocked, inviting anyone to come inside undetected. Or perhaps you pull into that gas station, like you have done many times before, and someone approaches you claiming you dropped a ten dollar bill when you just used your credit card to pay at the pump. Or lastly, what about that college coed who finds herself dizzy or “drunk” after just one drink that some guy just gave her moments earlier while out partying on a Friday night? What are the intentions of these 4 people as I just described in these scenarios? Are they a threat? Or do you consider this low risk because it has never happened to you before?
As you can see, we are threatened every day of our lives, whether we are at home, work or play! The key to staying safe is merely how you respond when you see something “not quite right”, or if your intuition is giving you some kind of anxiety warnings. We know at The Vigilance Group that we can not control the motives of a terrorist, sexual predator or some drug crazed person looking for his next score. But what we can control is the opportunity for that person (criminal) to do something to us! In order to deny or mitigate these threats, we must think through these various scenarios and use “skillful observation & response” to deny these opportunities. Staying vigilant is really a mindset!
You must think about whom, what and where you are before you allow yourself to become completely relaxed. Never assume you are safe until you have taken a minute or two to analyze your surroundings and to consider how you would respond if the unthinkable was to occur. As a soldier or law enforcement officer, we spend our professional lives thinking how we will fight the next fight. As a civilian (mom, businessman, college student, teen, etc) we must consider what is abnormal or unusual, and know that we have a choice in how we respond to that particular situation. In summary, if you don’t remember anything else from this article at least remember this: keep your doors locked; there is safety in numbers; you do not have to stop and respond to strangers; and you can always turn around and go back to where there is security or other people. It really is that simple…..Vigilance does reduce Vulnerabilities!