He (sometimes she) will want the safest means to strike so that he can make a clean get away.
One of the best ways to survive an armed robbery is to avoid being a target of an armed robber.
Strong-arm robberies can also occur without a weapon -- just the threat of physical violence or an actual beating followed by the demand for money.
Why would a criminal rob someone and not use a weapon? This happens when criminals want to avoid any "weapon enhancements" adding time to their prison sentence, should they be caught.
A great book on the subject of avoiding an armed robbery is Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life: A Former CIA Officer Reveals Safety and Survival Techniques to Keep You and Your Family Protected. With criminals targeting the suburbs at an increasing rate, this is a book for anyone interested in applying a few CIA inspired strategies to help keep you and your family safe.
Most robberies occur in major cities.
The times you may be robbed include getting off work and going to your car; stopping by a mall or grocery store in the evening hours; dining out on the weekend; going to a gym before or after work.
People who live in the city and walk to places like shopping, work, and school have increased odds of being robbed because they put themselves in more probable locations for robbery and for longer periods, giving criminals more opportunities to strike.
Choose a grocery store that has a brightly lit parking lot, plenty of other shoppers coming and going, and go out of your way to get a parking spot as close to the front doors of the store as possible.
Even better, decide to shop for groceries on Saturday mornings or Sunday afternoons during daylight hours rather than at night after work, especially if you walk to and from your house to a grocery store.
When you dine out on the weekend consider restaurants with free valet parking and / or parking lot attendants present. Avoid restaurants with limited parking if that means you may have to park 1 or 2 blocks away.
Time your exit from a restaurant or super-market so that you're leaving at the same time other diners or shoppers are leaving. This way you're not alone as you head out to your car.
That doesn't mean that you are completely protected though -- some robbers may be adept at a robbery that takes place in public, even during daylight. Never let your guard down. Eye everyone you see with a confident stare -- that confident stare can make you less of a target; criminals can see that you're alert and watchful and that can make them decide to pass on you as a target. Most criminals are looking for an easy target.
Then there are the brazen robberies; robberies that aren't normal but happen nonetheless. It could be a 70 year old woman in Phoenix, AZ. who exits a grocery store on a bright sunny day and is pushed to the ground while her purse is snatched -- in broad daylight, with multiple witnesses.
Or the reports of a man in New York City leaving a restaurant who has a Lincoln Town Car pull along side. He hops in the back, thinking it's a taxi cab -- it's not. Crooks drive him to Harlem and take his wallet and his I-phone. He escapes with his life, but not before crooks run up several thousand dollars in charges on his bank cards.
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Sometimes you may be tempted to do something heroic, like fight back -- but if a robber has a weapon he may be overly suspicious and a nervous finger might make him quick to the trigger. Any sudden movement could end with you being shot or stabbed.
A great way to respond to an armed crook demanding your money would be to very kindly and clearly say: "Ok, I'm giving you my money. I'll give you everything I have here. I will definitely cooperate with you." Then, before you reach for your wallet, say very clearly: "I am reaching for my wallet."
Keep in mind that some armed robbers are high on drugs like crack or methamphetamine. These drugs can make people overly paranoid and overly suspicious. The last thing you want to do is alarm a crook that has pulled a weapon on you, especially a gun. A nervous finger on the trigger can end with you being shot.
As you hand forward your wallet, take a slow, careful step back, like you're giving a steak to a dangerous bear.
Slow, careful, cautious body language tells a robber that you are cooperating and that you're not resisting or about to pull your own weapon.
As he takes your wallet, continue to walk backwards very slowly. Hopefully he takes off in the other direction.
If he's driving, and holding a gun on you, you may want to jump out at the best optimal time -- for example, when the car has stopped at a busy traffic light -- even if you risk being shot; even if he's threatening to shoot.
At this point he may suddenly be concerned about being pulled over for speeding, causing him to spend extra attention on the speedometer -- making him a little less attentive to you.
Take advantage of the distraction you've created to help create the scene for making your escape from the vehicle. At the first populated place you stop -- a red traffic light at a busy intersection is optimal -- you're going to make your escape. As soon as you commit to this you risk being shot but realize that if you can get out of the car even while being shot you have a chance of living through this.
Better to be shot and escape with your life than driven outside town and murdered, your body dumped in a ditch.
Distract the armed robber by saying nonchalantly... "Should I pull over for that cop?"
For a split-second he is going to scan the surroundings, looking for a police officer. The moment he looks, make a run for it.
Throw open your car door and leap for the rear of the car, diving to the ground. Get up and run, with your head ducked down, watching out for other cars so that you're not hit, looking to put obstacles between his sight of fire and yourself, should he decide to get out of the car and take aim and shoot (unlikely though; he'll be more concerned about escaping from the scene).
Keep in mind though: the Bible teaches "Blessed are the peacemakers". The most noble thing to do may be to simply hand over your money, which reduces the chances of being beaten or injured by a crook.
Fighting off a mugger who's not carrying a weapon is an unlikely scenario, though. A mugger not carrying a weapon is likely to choose a target that looks like someone who can't defend themselves; he might choose a woman, for example, or a young college student, or someone who looks white-collar or simply like they spend more time typing on a keyboard than they do at a gym.
If you're going to fight a mugger, take a couple steps back and go into a fight stance. Raise your fists and glare. Hold your pose like a professional fighter.
Speak loudly, with authority. Speak with a tone of voice that threatens violence and shows no fear. "You're not robbing me. You better back up now and go. You chose the wrong target. Get out of here, NOW." Repeat yourself again and again.
Begin to slowly circle your mugger. Bend your knees and drop your center of gravity, your fists still raised like a boxer -- this is a common stance of trained fighters. Look your mugger over like you're a professional fighter sizing up an opponent, looking for a weakness, preparing to strike.
What you're trying to do is "psyche-out" this robber. Your goal is to look fearless and to also look dangerous.
If you can put fear in your opponent, your opponent may decide that you're not worth the trouble and leave. At the same time, talking loudly with authority -- even shouting -- may catch the attention of other people nearby, and that in itself may scare off a crook.
Don't try to intimidate a crook who is threatening you with a gun or knife -- the potential for serious injury or death is to high. Your best move is to simply be as courteous and cooperative as possible.
Don't fight back unless you absolutely have to. It's better to hand over your belongings and avoid a beating than be beaten and left knocked out and bleeding on the street.
Apologize and run -- unless you can actually defend yourself. By that I mean: You can fight and you've got plenty of training behind you, which a lot more people do nowadays than in times past.
Finally, knowing a few submission moves (from Brazilian jiu jitsu) can help you win a fight when the other fighter has the upper hand. Unlike professional MMA that's fought in a ring though, your goal in a mugging isn't to make the other person tap out -- if you put a person in an arm bar, you can break their arm by following through with the move. The moment that arm snaps, this fight is over.
There are self-defense instructors that teach martial arts moves for twisting joints, such as hands, fingers, wrists, and arms, in order to make a person give up. Police will often use these moves to handcuff an offender who's resisting arrest.
It can take several years to become a well rounded fighter in each of these styles of fighting; if you focus on boxing though, and wrestling/submission wrestling, you can become a good street fighter in a few short months of continuous training and sparring in an MMA gym.
You might not win in a ring against a kickboxer, but out on the street you're not likely to be robbed by a kickboxer. Your boxing and wrestling, speed and power will likely give you an easy upper hand in a fight against a mugger (who's not carrying a weapon).
Why should women learn how to box? Once you've learned the basics to boxing, it's easy to avoid being punched and also circle out of range of an opponent, giving you an opportunity to turn and run.
If you learn a few self-defense strikes such as an open palm strike against a nose (which is not allowed in a boxing ring), these strikes will be easier to land if you've spent ample time learning how to box.
These are more reasons for spending time learning submission wrestling and striking on the ground. If you can learn how to escape and avoid being choked by another submission wrestler you will have an easier time in a street fight protecting yourself from being choked as well.
A cobra strike with your hand can blind your opponent for a minute or more as you deliver a couple fingers to an eye socket. (With your fingers pointed out and slightly bent, yet firm and unmoving, strike at your opponent's eyes multiple times; all it takes is one finger to an open eye to blind your opponent momentarily).
A punch to the Adam's apple can leave your opponent coughing and gasping for air.
Before you throw this strike, take a non-threatening, relaxed stance and say something to the effect of, "Hey, I don't want any trouble."
That's the exact moment you shoot your lead arm up from your waist (if you're right handed, that means you'll be using your left hand, like throwing a jab), in a straight line connecting your fist with your opponent's nose. His head should jolt backwards, if you've landed with full force, or even if he pulls his head back trying to avoid the strike -- that's when you step forward and throw a solid right, landing on the chin, hopefully with some knockout power behind it.
Turn around and run. No sense sticking around to find out if this guy's got a knife in his pocket he didn't tell you about.
If you see anyone at all that is acting suspicious, or is eyeing you as you walk to your vehicle, or is simply walking in your general direction, put your hand on your weapon. For men that may mean reaching inside your jacket. If you carry pepper spray or a taser, pull it out, let it be visible. Sometimes you may feel a bit paranoid -- but go with your gut -- especially in a major city, especially in a time that armed robberies are on the increase.
If you carry a gun, reach into your jacket or behind your back and look ready to brandish it -- that alone may scare off a robber. You look like you're armed and alert -- even if you haven't completely pulled your weapon yet.
Never pull your gun just because you're overly-alert to a possible robbery. That guy you see twenty yards away might be a plain-clothes cop and he might think that he's about to be robbed -- by you. Not a good idea; you might get shot. Plus you're likely breaking gun laws that clearly state that you can only pull a firearm when it's in self-defense and you are being threatened.
* In a time of lawlessness -- such as what may take place following a collapse of government -- gun laws may no longer exist. At a time like this, pulling a gun and keeping it visible (without pointing it at anyone) may be the right thing to do to deter would-be robbers from making any attempt on your life. That's also one reason why Western "gun slingers" from the 1800s wore visible fire-arms holstered to their side.
With the increased use of handheld devices like Iphones, Ipads, Kindles, and Androids, these have become a common item stolen in a robbery nowadays. Limit your use of these devices when in public places -- in fact you may want to completely avoid using these devices in public nowadays.
Most criminals aren't going to take the time to inspect your wallet before they run with it. Congratulations -- you've held on to your real wallet with real I.D., bank cards, and cash and given a completely bogus one to a crook, without any identifying information in it, such as a physical address or email address.
Women: As much as possible, don't carry a purse; if you do carry a purse, keep your money, bank cards, and I.D. in a smaller wallet, and keep these in a concealed pocket, carried on you. This way if your purse is snatched, you won't lose much.
Own two kinds of purses -- if you own a nice purse, use it only on special occasions, if you even need to at all. For regular activities that take you to the grocery store or a shopping mall or even a gym, use a purse that looks a bit worn; you can even choose to wear clothing that makes you look relatively poor. Lose the jewelry, except your wedding ring, and lose the high-heels -- not unless it's important that you look nice for an event; but on those days you do have to look nice be attentive and make smart choices because you are more likely to be a target of crooks; request escorts to your vehicle.
On those days you dress down and lose the jewelry, you might not make a fashion statement, but in an increasingly dangerous world and in a nation experiencing growing economic hardship, more people are likely to turn to armed robbery, and more armed robbers are going to be more willing to rob people, possibly even turning to violence in the process; by dressing down and carrying an old purse, you help avoid being robbed and possibly losing more than just your money and your bank cards.
Stay out of the bad parts of town. If you're not sure what they are, talk to the locals, including the police.
Look like you know where you're going -- don't look like you're lost.
Consider riding a bike when you can. It is harder to rob someone moving quickly than someone walking.
Avoid looking at maps, listening to head phones, or talking on a mobile phone while walking through the city, especially in areas in or near bad parts of town. The more distracted you seem, the more of a target you can make yourself.
Often an armed robbery can start with a simple question, as "Hi, do you have the time?" Or "Can you spare any change?" Or, "Do you have a light?"
Anytime a stranger comes up to you and asks a question as he approaches, or as you walk by, go on alert status.
If you're asked for the time, don't look down at your watch or fumble in your pocket for your cell phone, where the time is kept. Instead, look directly and confidently at this person, step backwards or detour widely around him, and without breaking eye contact you can bring your watch to eye level and then give the person the time.
What a robber is trying to do is create a momentary distraction; if he can distract you for a moment it shows this robber that you're not prepared for a robbery. However, by you stepping back and not breaking eye contact, while speaking assertively, you show this robber that you are prepared and have some street smarts.
Give the person the time and then continue on your way, keeping a watchful eye on them as you walk away.
In this instance a crook may be likely to let you go by, deciding for an easier target.
During the summer expect robberies to most often take place between the 8pm and 3am hours. With that in mind, should you really be shopping or going to the gym or running errands that late at night -- specifically when you live in a major city? Lower your chances of being robbed by planning your weekly errands with robberies in mind and when criminals are most likely to strike.
Avoid being jumped by someone hiding on a nearby porch or alley by walking near the road, while walking against traffic. (Robbers may also drive up in a car. If you're walking toward traffic, rather than with your back to traffic, they won't be able to take you by surprise, giving you a chance to make an escape).
Avoid taking public transit in the late evening and early morning hours; there are likely to be less or no other people around on public transit during those hours and you increase your chances of being mugged.
If you are mugged, pay close attention to features about the robber: Distinguishing marks, clothing, tattoos -- it may be someone that police are already on the look out for. Your police report is one more step toward bringing this guy to justice and keeping him off the streets for a long time to come.