This is how crime actually happens…

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Here’s the thing – Shit doesn’t come out of nowhere. Someone has to eat food, digest it, and crap out what the body doesn’t want. There’s a process, and shit is the end result of that long process. In a similar vein, crimes do not “just happen” – there’s a process. And understanding that process is the key to avoiding crime. A person isn’t chosen to be the victim of a crime by pure chance. A mugger doesn’t suddenly decide to mug someone whilst half-way through putting toilet paper in his shopping cart. He doesn’t then go outside the shop and mug the first person he sees. What if this was a 7 foot bodybuilding monster who’s looking around himself and scanning people up and down, checking for threats? Would the mugger still go for him? No, crimes, victims, and attacks are carefully considered choices

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When a crime occurs, it’s the end result of a very specific process. So specific in fact that all crimes follow the process to some extent or another. In fact, most decision making follows this process, or something close to it. Every crime has 5 stages to it. The steps followed are:







First of all – I really hope Marc MacYoung doesn’t mind me using the terminology he does. Second of all, let’s go through them one by one.



Someone has to want to commit a crime before he’ll actually commit a crime. Yes, he may not want to commit a crime, but he does want the benefits of what the crime will bring him. So basically he wants to commit the crime. You don’t want to have to go the effort of actually baking a cake, but you want the cake. So you’ll go through the “hassle” of baking in order to get the cake you want (and don’t argue with me, store bought cakes suck in comparison to a good homemade cake). Well, where baking a cake is hard work for you, robbing/raping/killing someone is risky for the Bad Guy.

In other words, the BG has to have the INTENT to commit a crime, before he’ll do so – these things don’t happen by accident. And just like when you decide that you want a cake, and by golly you’re going to make a cake, your focus changes. You were doing a Sudoku, now you’re hunting for ingredients. A BG might have been scratching his butt and playing with his pancake making cell phone, but once the decision has been made, he no longer walks around self-absorbed like everyone else. Now his attention is focused outwards, scanning the people around him for a good victim. P.S. That was your first hint on spotting a BG.

(The exception to this is a true mental case who doesn’t have a solid connection with reality or something else really wrong inside the head. They might genuinely give no indication of what’s coming, and then lash out at you. Fortunately this means it’s unplanned and unlikely to be an actual crime, vs randomly hitting someone because you aren’t in control of your own mind.)



Earlier I said the BG will look for a good victim. Why not just “victim”? One overriding, hugely forgotten reason – Bad Guys are normal people, they want to get home in one piece at the end of the day too. BG’s may have an immoral source of income (or pleasure/entertainment/mental anguish outlet), but they also want to enjoy the fruits of their actions, without ending up in hospital. A “good” victim is someone who won’t pull a weapon on you, who is so unaware that they won’t be able to fight back in time anyway. So a BG won’t select a victim at random, he’ll choose one carefully. He’ll go somewhere where there’s a high chance of finding his type of victim, and he’ll search until he finds someone suitable. A mugger will hang out in parking lots by shops looking for unaware people with shit worth stealing; a child molester will hang around parks or coach kids’ sports; a rapist or torturer with a specific “type” will be found where his preferred type of victim can be found in large(er) quantities.

So how does a BG know if someone will make a good victim? He’ll look, and compare what he sees against his checklist for an ideal candidate. An interview for a job is where the employer gets a chance to check you out and decide if you meet the criteria on his checklist for ideal employee. A criminal Interview is where a BG checks you out and sees if you meet the criteria for “good victim”. He interviews you for the job of “victim”. 2 of the major criteria for being a victim are:

  1. Are you aware (do you look around and behind you when appropriate; can he see that you are aware of passing by potential ambush sites)? I.e. can he ambush you? Even if that means walking right up to you while pretending to look at his phone.
  2. And will you fight back effectively (Are you confident? Do you carry yourself fluently; do you value yourself?)? Are you an idiot that will argue? Are you easily intimidated? Or do you value yourself so much that you will not hesitate to fight tooth and nail to stop him?

P.S. number 2 – In case you forgot, a BG needs to look at his victim to judge them. So the guy who’s looking at the people around him, and who zeroes in on you – that’s just skyrocketed his chances of being a BG.



So we know that a BG needs to look at you. Once he’s decided to mug you he might pretend to look elsewhere, but basically he’ll look at you. Once he’s looked at you and picked you for a victim he needs to mug you. Seeing as this is difficult to do from across the street (that bank account hacking stuff), he’ll need to get close to you. And not just ask you directions close, close enough to show you the knife without others seeing. Or close enough to grab your handbag. Or stick his hand in your wallet. In other words, closer than a normal person would come. P.S. number 3 – that’s the next hint to spotting BG’s.

There are 2 primary ways a BG can get close to you:

  1. BG walks up to you
  2. You walk up to BG

Every different way a BG can use to get close to you is a variation on one of these. The BG might hide around a corner until you get close. He may lean against a wall while he friend is doing the same thing a couple paces further down (i.e. to trap you between them). Or the BG may just walk up to you and ask you something. Or he might follow behind you till you get to your car or somewhere suitable (i.e. away from help). Either you go to him, or he comes to you.

Some common embellishments on these themes are when you suddenly find yourself in a very disadvantaged position. You’ve walked past one guy (who probably tried not to look at you too much) when somebody else steps in front of you. Now you’re surrounded – 1 guy in front to stop your walking, and his friend who stepped away from the wall and is not behind you. Or your walking past a car, and the guy who was looking at everyone (and you especially) walks up to you so you find yourself backed against a car, and thus surrounded by a single person. P.S. Hint number 4 – when someone who looked at you in an analytical manner (clue 1) comes too close to you (clue 2) and you find yourself awkwardly surrounded due to other people or objects (clue 3) there’s a decent chance you’re about to find out that you’re already a victim.

So why is this part of the crime process called positioning? Because the BG will position himself to be able to do what he needs to without getting caught; and he will position you to minimise your chance of fighting back. This is how he stays safe. This is why crimes tend to take place in Fringe Areas, and why you tend to get overwhelmed by numbers, violence, or both.



If the BG has decided that he can safely attack you and get away with it, and has successfully manoeuvred into a good position to attack you, then unless something or someone magically intervenes, you’re going to be attacked. The actual attack that happens is going to be carried out in order to overwhelm you. This will probably involve immediate, overwhelming violence. This may take the form of threatening you. You may be overwhelmed by the sheer surprise of it all. You may be shown a knife and have mean things whispered in your ear. Or you may get a very emotional feeling outburst, complete with shouting and intimidating posturing. Whatever happens, the BG will try and overwhelm you so that you can’t effectively stop him from getting what he wants. Remember, he wants to get home safely, so giving you a fair chance at stopping him isn’t on the agenda.



This is post-attack stuff. How you and BG each react to the experience. This covers the immediate aftermath to however long it takes you both to come to “get over it”. Unfortunately my psychology isn’t as up to scratch as I’d like it to be, so I’m going to refrain from going into detail here. I have opinions on this, and they mostly revolve on the Tony Robbins/James Altucher/Elliott Hulse idea of how your actuality and your expectations interact to create your reality.

In the future articles I’m going to go over a couple examples, to put this stuff into context and try figure out how all this stuff integrates. I hope you’ll join me.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Danneskjold – a good question. Actually quite an important one. If we wait for the BG to hit first there’s a much better chance that we’ll lose, so pre-empitive hitting rocks (and gives you much better options, and the chance to end it at a lower level). So consider the following (keeping in mind this isn’t exactly a complete answer)

    First off, (shameless plug) – I’ve written a post on this

    There are 2 aspects to this question: When CAN you hit him pre-emptively; and when SHOULD you hit him pre-emptively (which is possibly more what you’re looking for).

    You can hit him any time that you can articulate why you needed to do so. It’ll help you when dealing with the cops if you actually did need to hit him (vs. trying to bullshit your way out of trouble because you just felt punching him.) So basically when he has the means to attack you, the ability to attack you (many people every day have both), when he has the INTENT to him you, and if you’ve made a good faith effort to get out of the situation (including apologising).

    That’s the CAN hit him. Simple, not easy until you practice your articulation skills frequently. ABILITY and MEANS are generally going to be easier to articulate, but the INTENT is more difficult. The good news is once you know how to spot the BG’s INTENT, that pretty much covers the next point.

    SHOULD hit him
    So when should you hit him? When you see the INTENT develop. Plenty of people could hit you, but they don’t. You need to spot the person who IS going to hit you. This is where scripts come into it. If the guy asking you for directions stays far away (or doesn’t keep coming closer after you’ve backed away), then he’s staying on the “I’m a Good Guy” script. If he does something off the Good Guy script (like trying to come closer than social norms) then you decide if you have to kill him, and if not work your way down the list to find the appropriate response.

    Anybody comes close in a fringe area, you mentally hit them before they get close. Then if he/they break script (GG’s don’t scope your waistline for weapons or check around for witnesses) then you should either hit him, or be about to. I highly recommend Shadow Dancing from the moment you spot someone coming close in a Fringe Area. That, combined with the potential BG seeing you about to hit him, makes a powerful argument for leaving you alone.

    Extra credit reading:
    Fringe Areas (Marc MacYoung)
    Shadow Dancing (me)
    Shadow Dancing (Marc MacYoung)
    Rory Miller’s Conflict Communcations explains scripts incredibly well, but lacks specifics (Miller is a fan of letting people come to their own answers – something I mostly applaud)
    Marc MacYoung’s In the Name of Self Defense however gives much more concrete examples of scripts going right and scripts going wrong. Best book in the world for learning about when to hit someone.

    Hope that helped. Give me a shout if you want to know anything else.

    P.S. If you ever hit someone pre-emptively, try not you use the word from your question, “attack”, when describing what you did to the BG.

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