Do you know where you’re at risk?

After today’s post you’re going to know where you’re in danger, and why that place, so that you can know when to be ready, and when you can relax.

You don’t have to be alert all the time as some people say. You’re not going to get hijacked while sleeping in bed. Or while driving in the fast lane, going 20 over the speed limit. But you are at risk when stopped at a traffic light. And at your driveway.

You’re not going to be caught up in a store robbery if you’re not in a store. Or a bank robbery if you’re not in a bank. And you won’t be a victim of a home invasion if you’re at the movies.

Most crimes have certain places that they occur (Fringe Areas), and unless you’re in that place, then you can relax.

The key is to know when you’re in one of the areas where you can’t relax. So, like all smart ideas in life, today you’re going to make a list.

Listing your Fringe Areas

If most crime happens in Fringe Areas (which just makes sense), then what makes a Fringe Area?

Criminals like Fringe Areas because those places

– have minimal witnesses (they are fairly isolated, but they can’t be completely isolated*** or else there would be no victims either)

– provide a self-renewing victim pool (i.e. are transitory, lots of people walk through them). This is usually on the edges of some type of human activity.

– help is not close at hand (i.e. while there may be other people around, there’s something making them unsure about or incapable of about helping, physically or mentally)

– you are likely thinking of something else (Fringe Areas are mostly places you go through, i.e. to do something on the other side, so you’re probably thinking about that, not paying attention).

So using these characteristics we can mentally go through our lives and identify the places where we’re at risk.


Personal list

As an example, I shop at the mall. With kids. So I:

  • walk through the parking lot;
  • go to the bathroom (because children, that’s why);
  • end up in weird places like staff-only storerooms (because children), but those are unlikely to be Fringe Areas because mostly people don’t actually go there, so there’s no victim pool.


Make a list/table

Homework time. Make a list of everywhere you regularly go that meets the criteria of a Fringe Area. Here’s a sample from my list.

Chore Fringe Area Why
Shopping Parking lot Lots of potential victims; nobody hangs around for any length of time (i.e. no help/witnesses); any witnesses likely to be far away (barrier to help); I’m distracted (groceries, kids); I have reduced capability (juggling keys and kids)
Shopping Bathroom Self-renewing victim pool; isolation; victim’s mind is pre-occupied (my kid needs to pee, but not stick a hand down the toilet);
Driving Gate at home Isolation; victim distracted; BG knows I’m going to come home at some point, so victim will come to him/them

You may notice that I listed mine by chore. Well I’m an adult now, with kids, so a large portion of my life could be defined as “chores”. There was a time I went to parties and did things commonly described as “fun”. So for those of you who still do “fun”, an example Fringe Area might be going off with an attractive stranger to a quiet room at a party. While not a transitional area, it does provide isolation from help, and a closed door is a very big mental barrier to giving someone help (Are those happy, or unhappy moans? Should I open the door and check if she’s OK? But what if I “interrupt” something?).

As per Marc MacYoung: “Many a young woman has been raped at a party, but, because she is in another room with the door closed, nobody hears her cries for help. Many assaults happen in stairways for the same reason.”


Now what

So now that you know where to pay attention, what exactly are you paying attention to? There are several Bad Guy indicators, but try starting off with behaviour that everyone else isn’t doing.

Does everyone else in the parking lot look at you (more than just a glance)?

Does everyone else in the parking lot walk up to you?

Does everyone else in the parking lot look at you when you walk out the doors, nudge their friend, then “coincidentally” start walking in the exact same direction as you?

Does everyone else in the parking lot suddenly appear behind you and ask you a question?

Does everyone else in the bathroom offer to help you with your kid while you finish washing your hands?

Does everyone else near the shop exit talk to you while standing near the trolley your kid’s sitting in?

When you’ve gone off to a quiet room with a guy from the party, is it normal that he starts getting aggressive and freaking you out? (If it is, then you really need a lifestyle change.)


This “what’s normal” applies to lots of other things too. E.g. does your kid only get very introverted and withdrawn and almost scared around a certain person? Does everybody makes slightly “off” or inappropriate jokes about/with your kid? Does everybody (who isn’t you) tickle your child so much?

*** Exceptions – opportunistic crimes (e.g. a stranger rape) can happen in almost complete isolation. The Bad Guy didn’t expect to commit a crime, you guys just happened to cross paths in the middle of the night while walking to your dorm room – but this violates the 4 x Stupids rule, so you wouldn’t do that)

4 thoughts on “Do you know where you’re at risk?”

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