Let’s say you’re running an open house and the living room is crowded with people who you assume to be potential and viable buyers!
Some if not most of those people are not going to make an offer on the house, while the potentially interested party or party’s lurk somewhere in the middle.
What verbal or visual cues do you use to help determine who is a sightseer and who is actually an interested prospect?
For any readers who are real estate agents this is likely a too common occurrence and it is one that will definitely be addressed at a future time.
*For the purposes of this article, however, the situational awareness of which we speak is of the type one needs when in the parking lot of a mall at 9 PM when it’s dark and you may be alone.
What do you look and listen for in the event that something or someone comes into the picture and situationally it just doesn’t feel right?
Situational Awareness: A Short Story
I was headed to meet a friend at a movie at a local casino. I went into the parking garage up to the 4th level. As I made the turn into the level, I noticed a guy walking to his car, which was parked somewhat near the elevators. So I pulled around so I could take his space. His car didn’t move and I didn’t see any backup or brake lights so I figured he wasn’t actually leaving. As I drove past the car – a dark green 4 dr sedan, older model Toyota – I noticed that there were actually 2 men in the car. I didn’t think much about it and figured that they were waiting for a friend. I drove past them and parked a little ways down.
As I left my car and began walking towards the elevators (which are in an area that is kind of concealed from the rest of the garage) the passenger got out of the car, while the driver remained behind the wheel, and fell in behind me moving towards the same elevators. So, I slowed my pace a bit and so did the guy. On entering the waiting area I went straight ahead to a garbage can pretending to throw something away, which also allowed me to turn sideways so I could see him.
He pushed the call button and when the elevator arrived he said, “After you,” and let me go in first. Now I’m starting to feel very uneasy, so I casually, almost absentmindedly, pulled out my tactical pen that I bought at your workshop and used it to push the button for my floor, in an obvious way for him to see it. I then backed up and just started tapping my pen on my hand in time to the elevator music.
The guy starts some small talk asking if I was going to the movies and I said yes, and he said, “So am I.” We exited the elevator together and continued some more small talk as we walked down the hallway towards the theaters – but when we got there I went to the right towards the ticket line and he turned left and went away from the theaters. Hmmm.
Now, like I said, maybe it wasn’t anything and then again maybe it was someone looking to get someone alone in the elevator. In any case, I think the fact that I was in condition yellow, aware of my surrounding and the potential situation, made eye contact, reveled that I was prepared to defend myself, and kept my eyes on him kept it just a casual encounter.
Just how fine of a line is there between paranoia and common sense situational awareness?
One can always be attuned to their surroundings, particularly in this day and age, without being over-the-top.
Lessons Learned from the Short Story Above
1. One of the biggest pre-incident indicators is when a person matches your pacing. In the note above, Jared says, “So, I slowed my pace a bit and so did the guy.” If this ever happens to you, you better move from condition yellow into condition orange and be prepared to defend yourself.
2. Criminals work in teams. Often, one criminal’s job is to rob someone in the elevator and then to quickly rush to the other criminal in the getaway car. This is why you need to practice defending yourself against multiple attackers. You should practice this with your gun (HAS Note: Only with proper permits and where allowable by law!), tactical pen, and other self-defense tools you use.
3. Give the potential criminal eye contact and let them know you are “onto them.” Don’t be afraid to look them straight in the eye even if it’s awkward. This will let the criminal know you won’t be an easy victim and they’ll be more likely to move on to someone else.
Jared summed it up best when he said, “In any case, I think the fact that I was in condition yellow, aware of my surrounding and the potential situation, made eye contact, revealed that I was prepared to defend myself, and kept my eyes on him kept it just a casual encounter.
Remember to stay alert and never, ever think to yourself, “it will never happen to me.” (Source)