It is a beautiful summer afternoon and you are walking through a parking lot on your way to a meeting. An unassuming well dressed older gentleman with a bandaged head and broken arm is standing at the back of a van with a large box. He kindly asks you for help to load the box into the back of the van. What do you do?
What you don’t know is this monster has placed a bandage on his head and built a steel reinforced cast on his arm. The bandage and cast are used to gain your sympathy and lower your guard. The steel reinforced cast is a weapon. His plan is to lure you to the back of the van. When you have placed both your hands on the box he will smash you on the head, knock you out and push you into the van. He will then tie you up, transport you to his facility, torture and kill you. This is the actual MO of a convicted abductor/murderer.
Avoiding abduction is something the average person does not really consider. When caught off guard most people’s reaction would be to help an older incapacitated gentlemen load a box into his van. But why is the box there in the first place? How did it get there? Why is the van parked in a manner so as the back of the van faces a wall? There are no other people around. There is mud covering the license plate of the van. The van is nondescript and white, the most common vehicle colour. The man is middle-aged and sort of nerdy. He has a cast on his arm, but the cast is pure white and looks brand new.
The clues are subtle. You have no training in situational awareness. Predators use well thought out tactics to outwit your common sense. They play on your vulnerabilities.
However, there are training methods available beyond “street-proofing” that one can utilize. Simply trusting your “gut feelings” is a start. Understanding situational awareness and its many implications is your next step and I direct you to chapter 7 “Situational Awareness” of “Modeling Human and Organizational Behavior: Application to Military Simulations”
Knowledge of situational awareness mixed with improvised weapons training and basic self-defense skills are things an individual can do to better prepare themselves for catastrophic events. Avoid abduction, don’t be a victim.