UNDERSTANDING HOW THE CRIMINAL
PICKS A VICTIM
COEBURN VA POLICE DEPARTMENT
BASED ON AN ARTICLE FROM XAVIER THOUGHTS -A NURSE WITH A GUN @
CREATED BY H. STALLARD 12/07
Recognizing the Criminal Threat
To recognize threats, one has to understand
how the criminal mind works.
A criminal is, by his nature, a predator.
Criminals see the world as having two types of
Like other beasts, it is a matter of survival for
the criminal to prey on those weaker than
And once prey is identified, an attack from a
hungry predator is almost assured.
A potential victim can avoid an attack in
A person can avoid being seen by the predator.
Be somewhere else. Life is full of choices. One may
chose to walk where predators lurk, whether in the
streets of a metropolis or in the grasses of Africa, but
if a person walks though the grasses of Tsavo, they
should be prepared for lions. When such a jaunt is
unavoidable, awareness must be increased.
THE PERFECT PREY
The perfect prey is unaware of what is going
on around them.
They are self absorbed and inner focused.
They never see the predator approaching until
it’s too late.
To Avoid the Attack
A person can see the predator first and avoid
To see the predator first…
you must be able to identify him.
By understanding the criminal's thought processes,
one better understands the criminal and can identify
those actions that are leading to an attack.
Once the criminal is identified, most attacks can be
avoided simply by removing oneself from the victim
selection process (victimization).
There are three steps to victimization.
This is when the criminal decides to commit a crime.
He likely has not selected a victim yet.
The criminal lies in wait, like a lion in the grass,
waiting for suitable prey.
The criminal, once he has observed a potential victim, will send
out some test runs to determine if the person is indeed
These tests may be asking for a match, the time, or
change. The initial tests all have one thing in
common. They violate boundaries, and determine if
the selected person will allow their space and
generosity to be violated.
Once the criminal determines that he can move into
the personal space of the prey, he engages the prey
and positions himself for the attack.
Once the predator engages the prey, a request
for change quickly becomes a demand for a
dollar, then a twenty, then a blow to the head
as soon as the victim refuses.
These criminals work like sharks, first brushing
their victim, then bumping it, and finally going
after the victim is a swirl of blood and gore as
others also jump in.
The final indicator of an impending attack is positioning. Once
positioning commences, the victim has been selected, and an
attack is imminent unless immediate action is taken.
Positioning is recognizable by escape routes being cut off. In
the case of multiple predators, attackers will both surround
and approach from vulnerable angles.
Once it occurs, the only choice the victim has is to either
fight for their life or pray for the predator's generosity.
If the predator moves into position, he has already
decided that his victim is prey. He will attack.
The only thing that will stop the attack is the sudden
realization he has made a fatal error and chosen a
THE UNARMED CITIZEN
Becoming an armed citizen is a very personal
For those who choose not to go armed, a
special mindset is needed to help avoid
First you must realize that you and you alone
are ultimately responsible for your own safety.
The way you perceive a potential threat and
your reaction to it will help determine if you
survive or not.
REMOVING ONESELF FROM THE VICTIMIZATION
Avoid areas and situations where you might be seen
as prey. Stay out of the grassland of Africa.
If you must go in these areas, don’t behave as prey.
Stay alert. Be aware of everything around you. The
criminal is looking for someone who is preoccupied
Remove yourself from the selection process by not
looking or acting like prey.
IF YOU ARE APPROACHED
Make eye contact. Let them know you are
aware of them.
Don’t let them engage you in their tests. Walk
When you walk away, keep your attention on
them Don’t give them a chance to attack you
from behind because you are unaware of what
they are doing.
THE ARMED CITIZEN
“When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I
am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking
to be left alone.”
“ I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but
because it enables me to be unafraid.”
“It doesn't limit the actions of those who
would interact with me through reason,
only the actions of those who would do so by
Marko Kloos Why the Gun is Civilization
The criminal knows exactly what to expect from
The criminal fears the armed citizen more than
they do the police.
The armed citizen is the wild card that the
criminal never knows how to predict, or when
it might appear.
The armed citizen is viewed by the criminal
jackal as being the lioness he does not want to
In Virginia, the use of deadly force is justified
when your life or the life of someone else is in
immediate and imminent danger.
You must be able to prove that it was actually
in danger and not that you just thought it was.
Deadly force is that force which is intended to
cause or that carries a substantial risk of
causing death or serious bodily injury.
Armed Citizen pictures courtesy of and with
permission from Oleg Volk @
• COEBURN POLICE DEPARTMENT
• 114 FRONT STREET
• CHIEF SCOTT BROOKS