Safety Tip of the Week: BE A HARD TARGET

What do the people in the following scenarios have in common?  A mother exits a store looking at her latest purchase.  A sister stands in the parking lot rummaging through her purse in search of her car keys.  A friend walks, jogs or runs with headphones.  A niece is busy texting her friends.

Each of these people are unaware of their surroundings.  To a predator, they might as well have “Easy Target” written on their foreheads.

Criminals fear two things: being caught and being hurt.  Which is why they look for an easy target in the first place.  Unfortunately, it only takes a predator seconds to zero in on an easy target.  Fortunately, you are not an easy target.  You are a Hard Target because…

  • You are aware of your surroundings.
  • You walk with your head up and with a purpose.
  • You look confident.
  • You pay attention to the people around you.
  • You make eye contact letting people know you see them, but you don’t stare so as not to challenge them.
  • You wear headphones only while exercising at the gym.
  • You have your keys in hand when going to your car.

Feel free to share other ways you can be a Hard Target in the comments section.

Stay Safe!

~KM Fawcett

20 responses to “Safety Tip of the Week: BE A HARD TARGET

  1. It’s funny. I always did this naturally. Even when I had kids. My keys are alway accessible. I always know what’s going on around me.

  2. GREAT blog! I was almost mugged in a parking lot one day. . . and didn’t have my keys in my hand! Luckily there were people by my car which deterred the attackers. I was LUCKY! Knowing these tips is invaluable.

  3. Very good tips, ladies!
    I often see women walking in a fog through the streets and/or parking lots…especially hospitals, where their minds are obviously on something else. Worse yet, standing anywhere, counting money for all the world to see!
    Might as well paint bulls-eyes on their foreheads!

    I used to put my keys between my fingers when I walked through a parking lot, but having to hold onto kids’ hands put an end to that. But the keys are in my pocket or in my hand now. Kids know what to do with their keys, too!

    Best wishes for a wonderfully informative website!

  4. Great list and well worth practicing. One other hint I can think of is that if you have multiple keys on that keychain, have the door key between your thumb and forefinger so that you can slide it into the key into the door.

    Then place a key between the forefinger and the middle finger as well as one between the middle finger and the ring finger. This can be used to scratch the attacker, punch the attacker in the eyes or go for the throat.

    Also, if need be, kicking someone in the knee could be more effective if attacked than kicking the attacker in the groin.

    Dennis Clarkston
    AKA Clark Stone

  5. Chris – Awesome. Keep projecting yourself as a hard target.

    Kathleen – Thank you for sharing your story. As scary as it was, I’m glad to hear it was an ALMOST mugging. Keep stopping back for more safety tips.

    Irene – Don’t put your keys between your fingers! If you hit someone like that, you’ll injure yourself. Hold a key in your fist with the tip sticking out the side so you can strike with it that way. If your keys are on a lanyard, you can swing it at your attacker, hitting them with the mass of keys. Or keep your finger over your panic button so you can press the alarm and scare off the attacker.

    Stay Safe everyone!

  6. Dennis – I hold my keys in my fist, sticking up just like an ice-cream cone. That way I can strike in front of me AND over my shoulder if grabbed from behind.

  7. Dennis – Thanks for your suggestions. I’d advise against putting the keys between your fingers, though, as you’ll hurt yourself. (See above reply). But a good kick to the knee can take even a big guy down.

  8. Great tips, ladies! I keep my keys in an easy-access outer pocket of my purse so that I can easily grab them on my way to the car, without digging. My keychain only has house and car key, so I can find the right one fast.

    Looking forward to more helpful info!

  9. I wait until a bunch of other people walk out of a venue or store
    together, and I walk with them. They wonder why I’m talking to myself, but anyone watching assumes I’m with the group.

  10. I always have my keys out and now I keep my finger on the red alarm button of the remote. Once when I couldn’t find my car (TOO much shopping!) I used it as a locator and, though I was embarrassed at the time, it amazed me at the heads turning throughout the parking lot–it really attracted attention! I believe the jolting sound would give a predator pause.

  11. Gwen – Good idea about only having keys easily accessible and only having two on them.

    Ninja Jim – Walking out with a group is a good idea.

    J. Hali – No need to feel embarrassed. It was a better idea than walking up and down the rows of cars distracted looking for where you parked. You’re right, attention is exactly what a predator doesn’t want.

  12. More notes on safety. If possible, go out in pairs or groups.

    Do not discount the feeling of something is wrong. On version of an old saying is “Just because I am paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get me.” If you come out of the mall and it is dark and you feel uncomfortable with the situation, find a security guard and see if they can escort you to your vehicle.

    Also, park under a light if possible. Those who want to attack others prefer darkness so they would not be seen.

    Dennis Clarkston
    AKA Clark Stone

    • Under the light is a good idea. Also if you have a choice do not park beside a van, SUV, or double cab truck. You are hidden from others view.

  13. Dennis has a good point. Too often we ignore our primitive survival instincts when they warn us something is wrong. Never feel like you are “bothering” the security guard. It is his job to keep you safe.

  14. Great comments everyone.

    The one item I might add to the Hard Target list is if you’re holding your cell phone in your hand you’re not being distracted by texting. However, as Melinda once mentioned, it can be a good defensive tool. Having it in your hand can give you a little extra oomph if you have to club somebody.

  15. Once you get to your car get in and lock the door. Then dig in your purse, arrange the inside of the car like you want, put your makeup on or what ever. Then start the car, then put it in gear, then put on your seat belt. Once you put on your seat belt you lose 90% of your movablity in defending yourself.

    One of the times that finds someone the most vunerable is when you are strapping a child into a car seat. If someone is making you feel uneasy in the parking lot don’t put the child in the car seat. Put the baby beside you in the front seat with the doors locked then drive to a lighted, populated area where it is safe to put the child in the car seat. Yes it is against the law in all states to ride with a child not in a car seat but I know an officer would understand. The child’s safety is the utmost concern. You will be in a better position to defend the child.

    Just some thoughts

    • Interesting Linde. I never thought about that one before. I think another option could be to climb into the back seat with the child, lock the doors, and then strap him/her into the car seat. This would probably be an easier task in a mini van though.

      • Good idea, Kathy. Also, never sit in your car digging in your purse, etc. Get in, lock the doors and drive away. Sitting in your car for any length of time makes you a target.

  16. Pingback: Safety Tip of the Week: Sometimes You Can’t be a Good Samaritan « Attacking the Page

  17. Pingback: Safety Tip of the Week: Learn to Defend Yourself « Attacking the Page

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