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Overcoming Fear | 5 Actions to Take When You Are About to Become a Victim of Crime

Any time that you are approached aggressively by a potential attacker, you will most likely become quickly scared and have an adrenaline rush because of the “fight or flight” reaction caused by fear.  The most important thing that you can do in the face of danger is to keep a level head and stay calm. 

When you remain calm, you are more likely to be able to carefully evaluate the situation and your options, and you will be more likely to make a safe escape or remain unharmed.  When you panic and become visibly upset, you are more vulnerable to become a victim.  Here are five tips that can help you keep a level head when you are in a position of possibly becoming a crime victim:

  1. Collect Details
    Look around and make every attempt to collect as many details as possible.  Be extremely vigilant.  Observe where you are, who is there, what is happening.  Be sure to attend to details such as your potential attacker’s face, body size and shape, voice and clothing.  These details may prove to be very important.  Although you are scared and nervous, your senses will be heightened and you will be able to notice many things that you might not normally be aware of.

  2. Remember to breathe. 
    During times of increased stress and fear, your brain needs plenty of oxygen to think clearly.  Concentrate on breathing deeply and as normally as possible to prevent hyperventilating and additional panicking.  Proper breathing will also help keep your pulse rate and blood pressure down, which will serve to improve your ability to think clearly and plan your strategy for handling the situation and getting yourself to safety.

  3. Continue to assess the situation EVERY moment. 
    Conditions will constantly change, and you never know when your opportunity to escape or get help may come.  When you are able to remain calm, you will be better able to monitor these changes.

  4. Distract your attacker.
    Make every attempt to deter or distract the assailant, in any way you can think of.  Engaging in verbal negotiation may be helpful in this type of situation.  Attempts at making conversation, feigning illness and other distracting measures may buy you time and build in an opportunity to get away when the attacker’s attention is diverted.

  5. Thoughtfully use your self defense device.
    If you are carrying any type of self defense weapon or personal protection item, such as pepper spray or a stun gun, it is best to remain as calm as possible when you are ready to use these items to protect yourself.  You want to be sure that your use is accurate and effective, and will gain you an opportunity to escape. 

When you are able to keep a level and clear head during times of potential danger, you are far more capable of protecting yourself or removing yourself from a bad situation.  Becoming overly or visibly upset may only encourage your attacker.  While you may be feeling extremely scared and panicking on the inside, appearing calm and confident will dramatically improve your chances of avoiding becoming a victim of a crime.