The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Tactics and Training

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old December 23, 2005, 12:42 AM   #26
Senior Member
Join Date: November 28, 2004
Location: Silicon Valley, Ca
Posts: 7,117
I recall a video from the late 70's that opened my eyes regarding what predatory types see in their victims.

After interviewing convicts some researchers put together a film, mostly of a public park area in a city with all sorts of people walking by. Viewers had about 7 seconds of visual time to watch up to about 6 people walk by, after which the film was stopped and prisoners were then asked which ones they thought would be easy victims and which would not.

Things that previous felons (with assault, robbery, rape convictions) picked out were;
  1. Walking with head down, not paying attention to surroundings.
  2. Hands in pockets while walking
  3. People with injuries - using a cane, limping, arm in a sling, etc.
  4. Obviously out of shape people
  5. Plodding stride or shuffling feet
  6. Elderly persons with unsteady walking gait
  7. Those carrying items in both hands/arms
  8. Women wearing high-heeled shoes (about 4" or taller)

Just as important were the ones they said they would NOT approach;
  1. Those with a strong healthy stride
  2. Alert people looking around and well ahead of their path
  3. People who made eye contact (especially repeatedly)
  4. Those that seemed to glide through crowded areas
  5. Women in low heel/flat shoes

From this profiling, it was obvious that thugs look for the unaware, weak, preoccupied or encumbered targets. They avoid potential targets that will challenge them with eye contact, who are aware of their surroundings and may be capable of a fight or flight (to friendlier areas).

This was done well before "shall-issue" became the norm. I've often wondered if some of the crime reduction effect of CCW is that folks with CCW's tend to be more alert or walk with more pride and caution than your average workaday Joe -- i.e. predator spotting Predatorius Supremium.
BillCA in CA (Unfortunately)
BillCA is offline  
Old December 23, 2005, 01:01 AM   #27
Senior Member
Join Date: March 21, 2005
Posts: 2,181
Awesome thread CC. It brings to light those things that make us uneasy when dealing with people through out our day to day chores. We pick up on these things for a reason...

I can't wait to learn from this thread.

While assessing how we "read" others... lets also consider how aware we are of our own signals/signs/language as we interact/react with/to our fellow citizens... not to hijack, of course, but it does play into this scenario.
Trip20 is offline  
Old December 23, 2005, 04:50 AM   #28
Sir William
Senior Member
Join Date: October 13, 2004
Posts: 3,261
There is far more to the art of kinesics. One thing is true though, animals give off warnings and invitations. Dogs are especially good at signalling with body language. It really comes down to four items. The first clue is the eyes. Dilated, pinpoint, contact, lack of contact, looking up, around, down or simply wide open staring. A sign of mental disturbance is the lack of blinking. Fixated stares indicate danger. The hands are the one thing to concentrate on. The hands reveal intent, mood, agitation, anxiety, physical tremors and they generally will be the bearer of the weapons or movements inside clothing that will precede a explosive device activation. Watch the hands. Hair and clothing choices are fair indicators. Well manicured and well dressed does not equal well behaved, think Ted Bundy. Look for anything out of the normal routine. A rabbit fur hat in August in Tucson is a good sign something is not normal. Years ago, a mental defective bought a set of Class As and walked around enjoying salutes. He was outed by the first person who noticed his cap device was incorrect. He was convincing otherwise. The final area of note is the set of the attacker. I have seen this and one can actually view the determined gait and predatory manner. The attackers entire demeanor and actions become focused on the single goal. They tune out everything else, begin their circling, head swings, eye movements to check for warning signs and then attack. It is well choreographed and escape routes are usualy preplanned. Smash and grab artists are amazing on video. There is nothing random about their art. Be alert.
Sir William is offline  
Old December 23, 2005, 11:37 AM   #29
Senior Member
Join Date: October 31, 2005
Posts: 1,231
A lot of good post, and great thread. My $.02 is you watch for eye movement and anything out of the norm. When I get on an elevator for example and there is a female already in the eleveator alone, and I don't know her, I automatically go to the opposite end of the elevator. Most people don't want to invade a strangers "personal space" unless they are up to no good. Unless your in a crowded area with many people, or outside of the US (some other cultures have different norms) normal people usually obey the few feet personal space bubble around each person. Pax stole my thunder with the BG checking for witnesses/police. If some stranger is looking over their shoulder before they talk to you, he may be up to no good. Yes it is correct the the BGs are looking for weak targets, people that look down when they walk or look away showing possible fear. If you make eye contact with the guy before he approaches you, your basically telling him, this person is not afraid of me, and he will be able to ID me in a lineup. On a city street for example, everyone has there own pace, and their own direction to go, and making movement in your direction, trying to intersect your path, or following your path from behind. If someone truly wants to just ask you something they should be "play the part", if someone is asking for directions they should look lost, if your not holding a cigarette why would someone ask you for a light???
Mikeyboy is offline  
Old December 23, 2005, 08:12 PM   #30
Senior Member
Join Date: May 28, 2005
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 292
6th sense or learned behavior?

Charlie, excellent observations. If you have ever worked with a really good polygraph examiner you probably noticed that even prior to hooking up the instrument, from the pre-test interview, they knew who was deceptive. It is a learned process.

Much of the same "signals" can be observed in "street encounters". Just as a good salesman will recognize the "buying signals" and go for the close, a careful and aware person will pick up on advance "warnings".

Most human behavior is consistent - when we tell a lie we all exhibit similar characteristics; when we are doing something that we know is wrong, we again exhibit much more of the same.

Good subject to study and there is lots of material available to aid in that effort.

Charlotte, NC
John28226 is offline  
Old December 24, 2005, 02:31 AM   #31
Chris Cullen
Join Date: December 22, 2005
Location: Bundaberg QLD Australia
Posts: 89
A few things I look out for - Might have been mentioned but I'll mention them again for good measure.

1. Shoulder shift - the right or left shoulder moves backwards in preparation for a strike or punch.
2. Hand over hand clasp - something I have noticed before watching peoples hands in a crowd before they are wanting to attack. They place their non-master hand over their master hand covering the knuckles. They squeeze the master hand to ensure that all fingers are tightly in place and won't sprain or break if striking the victim the wrong way.
3. The 1000 yard stare - When they basically look straight through you.
4. Chin tuck - a boxing move. Chin protects the front section of the neck from contact.
5. Facial Wipe - the contemplation of combat.
6. A constant observation of your firearm.

One point that I have learnt in the last few years is to not forget about the least obvious person. I have had encounters before of persons that have been sitting back, not saying or doing anything, and have actually been the most dangerous threat. Expect the unexpected.

My key rules:
1. Create distance
2. Know where your escape route is if you cannot handle the situation
3. Know your rig - Know where everything is on your duty belt.
4. (Cash in Transit in Armored vehicles) "If in doubt - don't get out"

Chris Cullen
Chris Cullen is offline  
Old December 26, 2005, 10:13 AM   #32
Join Date: June 17, 2004
Posts: 29
I ran across another post like this some time ago where several responders were health care pros that worked in mental institutions. They all agreed that immediately prior to an attack the attacker would not look directly at them but would instead turn his/her head away. Apparently the attacker thinks that will cause the victem to letdown their guard. They had several videos showing this.

Oct_97 is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:09 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2020 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.08489 seconds with 10 queries