Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Describing An Attacker

Have you been attacked by someone that got away? Or do you know someone that has been? Well this is for you not only to read and learn from but to SHARE the knowledge with your friends and family.... 
If you or a loved-one was ever attacked and you needed to explain your attacker's physical features to the police, what would you tell them? Did you observe EVERYTHING about your attacker? Did you miss something? Identifying physical features on an attacker is key to finding them. 
Here are a few examples: 
  • Height, weight & sex 
  • Nationality 
  • Eye & Hair Color (and type of haircut/style) 
  • Scars or lines in and around face
  • Does he/she wear glasses? 
  • Facial Hair 
  • Piercings 
  • Image
I know it's a lot to think about when you're being attacked, but it's all very important! Try to stay relaxed and keep your mind clear when describing someone after the fact. Scan your memory for vivid pictures of the incident (as painful as it may be) and don't rush yourself, take time to remember EVERYTHING. 
Other things to think about: Did the person have an accent? Were they driving a vehicle, and if so what kind and color? And did you get the license plate number (even a partial)/state? Did they have a speech impediment? Did they say anything about where they they came from, where they want to take you or where they're going? Do they use any names? 
The easiest (and in my humble opinion, BEST) thing to do: SCRATCH THE CRAP OUT OF THEIR FACE. This way, three things happen... First, you now have their DNA under your nails. Second, they'll be in pain and concentrate on that instead of you. And third, now they'll have a big 'ol gash across their face that can be easily recognizable in public or in a lineup! 
Be aware! Stay safe! 

Attackers "Interview" Their Potential Victims

My company teaches a Self-Defense 101 course at Scottsdale Community College. We meet once a week, and last week was the first class of the semester. The first class is talking about curriculum, what to wear to class to participate in workouts, grading system, and just chatting about the bottom line of self-defense in any art or form: AWARENESS.
This week in class, a woman came in and said I saved her life. That phrase always makes me feel amazing, and gratified. That matters more to me than any money ever could. She's telling me I saved her life... that without my/our help from the previous class that she probably would have been kidnapped/raped/murdered... who knows!
She learned all of that from me saying that over 90% of crimes occur AFTER the potential victim has been interviewed. They'll ask you questions to see if you're an EASY TARGET. Do you act nervous? Are you stammering? Are you going somewhere alone or are you meeting someone? Will you tell a stranger your life story and "trust" this person that is about to rob or hurt you? And the questions can be ANYTHING from your name, to where you're going, if you're from that neighborhood, you look pretty where did you get your outfit, do you shop here often, etc. The criminal is trying to get a read off of you to see if you'll be an easy victim. If you are, they attack... and if they feel you'll put up a fight they will typically walk away.
1. BE AWARE! Don't let someone "sneak up" on you. In my humble opinion, 99.9% of all attacks are on unaware people, not from others sneaking up.
2. Ladies AND Gentlemen: TRUST YOUR INTUITION. If you feel like something isn't right, act on that. If someone approaches you a weird way or looks at you odd, or just looks/acts "off", go with that and get yourself out of the situation.
3. DRAW ATTENTION TO YOURSELF. If someone makes you uncomfortable, talk loud. YELL. Make other people look at you. You want this attention and your attacker does not and will back off. They don't want to get caught!
4. BE CONFIDENT. Go into any situation knowing that you CAN and WILL get out of it. Just like you trust your instinct/intuition that the person talking to you is bad, they too can sense that you're either fearful or that you're confident and not afraid. Show them what you've got! They're attempting to commit a crime, not you... THEY should (and usually will be) scared/nervous... Make them more so!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Home Invasions - Role Playing

This is another topic where I could have an entire blog site directly related to home invasions. A home invasion is different than a burglary, whereas a burglar typically breaks into a home with the intent to steal things and leave unseen, a criminal involved in a home invasion wants more. Maybe they want drugs, or they saw a beautiful woman lived in a home and they want to take advantage of her. Maybe they have past "issues" (not an excuse, by the way!) and their goal is to hurt/torture people.

I'd like to focus today on cases that involve home invasion of people ACTING as others.

For example, many will dress up as law enforcement officers to gain access to a house. Your trust police officers, right? So do I! As we should! The problem is people exploiting this trust, like in the article about 3 men dressed as police officers forcing their way into this a home. They even waited until they saw the men of the house leave so they could exploit the vulnerability of the women at home with their kids/grandkids.  **If there's a police officer at your front door, you have the right to contact the police yourself to verify they're the real deal. Talk through your closed door and communicate to them that you're calling 9-1-1 to verify their identities. If it's a real police officer, they'll have no problem with this and you'll have your answer shortly. If they're not real, chances are they'll take off (in which case you should still stay on the line with 911 and tell them what happened). 

Another example of "role playing" during home invasions is explained in this news article about two men dressing up as postal workers and busting through a 70 year-old man's front door. One of the "postal workers" even went as far as having balloons and a box in his hands. They pistol-whipped the old man when he opened the door to them. ** If there's a postal worker at your front door and you're NOT expecting him/her, tell them to leave it outside. If they insist you sign, tell them to leave it at the local post office or UPS/FedEx drop store and you'll pick it up there. If they STILL insist on entering your home, there's a problem and you should contact the police immediately. 

These are just a couple of recent instances, there are plenty of them... and A LOT where people don't dress up. Maybe they'll say your child is in trouble and you need to answer the door. This happened in AZ recently and the men didn't have the daughter, just heard her name after they'd been stalking the house for a while and went through the mail. You'd be amazed what people will do when they have their mind set to something... no matter how sick and twisted it is.

Stay safe! Never open your door to a stranger, you can ALWAYS communicate through the door. A half-inch of a cracked door gives a criminal a world of opportunity.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Online Safety

No amount of news stations, police officers, parents, teachers -- ANYONE -- can keep up with online safety issues and concerns. Most stalking starts online through Social Media venues. Bullying can also occur, and sadly does on regular occasion.

There are tons of places online stalking and harassment begins:
- Email
- Facebook
- Message Boards
- Blogs
- Chat sites
- Twitter
- Online gaming
- YouTube
... The list goes on and on! 74% of cyberbulling/stalking victims are female, and 56% of the time it's an ex of some sort. Anyone is capable of being a stalker, such as family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, even a random person you've never met!

Recently, Forbes has issues two articles that raise concern about online safety. The first was that An Estimated 83 Million Facebook Profiles Are Fake (which I personally think is an understatement and a low-ball number). The second recent article was: Middle School 'Mean Girls' Face Felony Charge for Fake Facebook Account. Here's one about a man that hacked email accounts by stalking people on their Social Media sites to gather information. And another about how a man lifted pictures off of kids' Facebook pages and put them on a porn site. This man created 130 fake Facebook profiles to harass his ex-girlfriend. It's amazing what people will do! I also recall a story from a few months ago (sorry I can't find the link anymore) from CNN that was about a man that was arrested after being charged with sexual assault and assaulting minors, after meeting them online and having somewhere in the 40+ range of fake profiles, pretending to be kids.

If you Google 'Facebook crimes' or anything of that nature, you'll get thousands of legitimate articles. Same for Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare, etc. Now I am a HUGE advocate of all of these sites, for both business and pleasure, but there's a right way to use them and a wrong way.

FIRST: Everyone in the world doesn't need to know your personal business. Keep it private. Change your settings online so only people you're friends with can see your posts.

Second: You don't need to have a million friends on your personal account. Having lots of friends is fun, but only friend those you KNOW. The guy that says he's 15 years old and goes to the school down the street could be a 62 year old creeper that stalks and does bad things to children (or adults).

Third: If you're unsure of someone, TRUST YOUR GUT. Tell someone about it, report them, etc.

Fourth: Everyone doesn't need to know where you are every second of the day. Checking into your 'home' or 'work/office' tells people exactly where you live, AND when you're away. Prime time for stalking and/or home invasion!

... I could go on for hours on what to do. Be smart and be SAFE. Trust your gut. Keep your private life just that --> PRIVATE! Like I said, I love being able to connect with friends and family online, but it's a double-edged sword. If you're smart about it, it stays fun!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Recent Colorado movie theater shooting

I know EVERYONE has an opinion on this topic... and I'm part of that everyone, so here goes nothing! ;)

First of all, let me express my condolences for those involved in the shooting, from those sustaining injuries, those lives lost, and the families and friends that are left after the carnage to mourn their loved ones. I cannot imagine what they feel like, just knowing how difficult it is for ME to read about what happened, watch videos and see pictures. Thoughts and prayers will forever be with those affected by this horrific event.

That being said, it also saddens me to see the responses from people regarding this event. The first thing most people have said is that if people were carrying guns in the theater that this would have been avoided. Let me ask those people this: ARE YOU INSANE?????

First of all, 20 other people with guns doesn't mean saving lives, it means taking more. I'm not against guns, have owned several in my life thus far. But 20 people shooting wildly into a dark theater wouldn't result in anything other than MORE lives lost and MORE injuries. So those of you who are blaming the "men" in the theater for not protecting everyone, get over your testosterone attack online, you weren't there. Also, James Holmes was wearing full body armor and deployed two smoke/tear gas bombs in the theater. Were all these people that should have had guns going to shoot into a bunch of smoke and at a man in body armor? C'mon. Think logically....

The genius Russell Pearce of Arizona stated, "I'm always ready to defend myself," and "Where were the men of Flight 93?" --- Haha, okay Mr. Pearce, where were you with your big bad guns blazing to save the day? Oh right, the same as everyone else, NOT EXPECTING A PSYCHO TO KILL PEOPLE IN A MOVIE THEATER.

There's nothing anyone could have done to stop the situation. It's a horrible event that should have never happened, resulting in many innocent lives lost and other forever injured/scarred. All we can do is pray for those involved and lives lost, and move on the best we can. Again, I'm not against people having guns, I'm just shocked at the response this event has received. We should be mourning lives lost, not blaming the people in the theater for not taking care of the situation. I will say this, always be aware of your surroundings.  If someone saw James Holmes rush out of the emergency door to the theater after "receiving a phone call" they should have reported it. In all situations, any odd/unusual behavior should be reported to someone. Trust your instinct and intuition, if you feel like something is wrong, chances are you're correct.

God Bless those involved in this tragedy, and may the nation move on with support and awareness from this horrific event.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Confessions of a Rapist

This is a touchy topic and I apologize for that. And I realize it's disgusting to think about, but it happens, and awareness is key. I read this today in an article:

"One of the most frightening sessions I had was with a rapist who walked me through the process, both cognitive and behavioral, of stalking and performing the act of the rape of his victim. He also said that if he ever had the opportunity to strike again he would do so without giving it a second thought. I met with him in prison while he was facing his second re-offense. He was very well-groomed and bright, almost like a Ted Bundy type. 
It was pure objectification, as his victims were simply a means to his end. He was very manipulative and plotting; he had complete objective, planning, and knowledge of his environment. He was to destroy his mother through the power and devastation he had over other women."
Gawker article here: http://gaw.kr/AwsjWA

This is a typical response from rapists. They have a plan. They don't see it as a crime. Just like this guy, they see it as payback for something (ie - Mommy issues growing up), or think it's ok to do because the person they raped "deserved it" (yeah right). I think that's a ridiculous excuse for a psycho, but that's just my very humble opinion.  There's not a stereotype for a rapist in the physical sense, they're all different. It could be the creepy guy on the corner in ripped clothes with dirt on his face, or it could be the guy in an Armani suit at the fancy restaurant you ate at last week. You never know. 

This isn't to scare people, it's to make you aware. Awareness is SO IMPORTANT. Rape is a felony, it's NEVER ACCEPTABLE. If you have been raped or know someone that has, it's important to go straight to the police. As much as you'll want to, don't shower. The police will be able to use any fluids you have on you to catch the person so they can't do that to you or ANYONE ever again. Recall facts about the criminal: height, weight, hair color, hair cut type, skin color, any scars or recognizable markings, eye color, clothing, voice, build, glasses, what their vehicle looks like, license plate -- ANYTHING you can to identify the person. 

If you are ever attacked: SCREAM, YELL, blow a whistle (I always have one on my key chain) and RUN! If they grab you: move around (attackers don't like victims that fight back and will often times leave if you try to), kick, hit, bite, scratch -- These things will give you their DNA under your nails or in your teeth (gross I know, sorry), making it easy for the police to identify them. 

Don't be a victim! Be aware! And know that these people, as dumbed-down as it sounds, ARE CRAZY! They're not going to spare your dignity or sometimes even your life so don't spare theirs!