Hiding In Plain Sight
Under some circumstances there may be reasons such that you don’t want to be noticed, or you don’t want to stand out while moving through an area, etc..
Instead, you want to hide in plain sight.
Here are a few thoughts how to do it…
Humans tend to notice anomalies, things (or people) that may appear to be ‘out of place’ for a given environment. Even though not specifically looking for it, people have a way of instinctively noticing things that are out of place.
A few things to consider if trying to ‘hide in plain sight’
Heighten your situational awareness.
Dress in clothes that are common to the area where you are, or where you plan to go.
Avoid bright colors. Neutral will blend in. Choose grey over black or white or red.
Additionally, pay attention to one’s shoes/footwear, and make certain they also blend in with what’s ‘normal’.
Avoid wearing high fashion or designer clothing if everyone around you are wearing t-shirts and jeans.
The opposite is also true. Wear what most others wear.
Walk in a relaxed way.
Do not wander around aimlessly.
Do not look like a tourist, gazing at the surroundings as though for the first time.
Run ONLY if you are in a emergency situation; otherwise you WILL look suspicious.
Keep your pace steady and calm.
Observe and be aware of your surroundings, but, keep your head level, eyes straight ahead.
Don’t keep your head down conspicuously.
Do not make eye contact when you want to look at a person; look at the face without making eye contact.
If you make eye contact by accident, quickly focus on something behind them, then slide your eyes off them to either side.
If you are near a crowd, move to it and stay with it.
You will seem less obvious in a group.
Avoid long open stretches; you will appear unusual if by yourself.
Know the area or plan ahead to take shortcuts.
Do not look uncomfortable; this will look suspicious.
Act like you are supposed to be there.
Always appear to be in a reasonably good mood without overdoing it.
Talk in local dialect.
Someone even said to “Walk in like you own the place!”
Obey traffic laws. Monitor all tail and brake lights on the car. Don’t give the police any reason to notice you.
A suggestion from another comment here on the blog:
Use alternate clothing items (hats, shirts, jackets) and swap them throughout the event.
Change that old green ballcap for a blue one after passing through a suspected surveillance area. Use blind spots in surveillance areas to change shirts or slip off a long sleeve shirt to reveal a t-shirt (or vice/versa).
Keep a couple of different old jackets around to change as needed.
Plan for several wardrobe swaps or changes after being in any video surveillance area. Keep it simple. Just change one or two items at a time.
And always use a different name for each visit to those fast food places that are now asking for your name to print out on the receipt. Never repeat the same name for the next restaurant.
Video and facial recognition data collection systems are everywhere now. Have a pair of non-prescription glasses (fake)to use when being videoed.
Shop at resale shops for old workshirts with a different name embroidered on them, and keep it handy for a quick swap and discard if needed. Just a few bucks at a garage sale can get you a ready made quick change and discard identity stashed in the car, gym, or at work for potential use when the time comes.
Add your own suggestions too!
Some good tips up there – thanks ! When walking into a crowded room, smoothly enter and then walk to wall fixture examine for a few moments. Don’t pause at actual entry. Then slowly walk off.
Keep your weapon(s) concealed.
I don’t think anyone would pay any attention to old guys like me or NRP in our work clothes. As previously stated – best to keep assets undercover. :)
HEY!!!! I’m not old, Like a fine wine or a GREAT cheese…I’m well aged… HAHAHA
well said ( me too )
Blending in is always a good idea. The cops are trained to profile. Obey traffic laws and learn how to handle a traffic stop if it should happen. There are plenty of examples on Youtube.
Never engage in “road rage”….this is a BAD idea. I speak from experience having previously lived in large populated areas and having to brandish my weapon on three separate occasion just to keep the peace (being followed). Always maintain a low profile if you want to survive the coming social and economic upheaval.
Do not use your finger and/or arm to point to something, no matter how innocuous, unless you are in a very private area. Use verbal commands and descriptions instead.
Saw a rather interesting documentary once. A man walks into a high end store, slouching, eyes and stance wary, and has security on his tail almost immediately. All the salespeople ignored him. In the next scene there is no difference except his demeanor. Same store, I assume the same sales people. He walks in, head up, walking “like he owns the place.” No sign of security and all the salespeople were right there, all smiles. The difference was interesting.
Some might say it was staged for the cameras, but I’ve seen the same thing in real life. Act like you belong where you are, you’ll be treated like you belong. Act nervous or uncertain you’ll be noticed, and not in a good way.
I hate shopping, hospitals, and airports, so I avoid them as much as possible. However, when I have to go to one, I always wearound a suit for that reason. Much better service from workers, plus I can conceal a weapon under jacket (not when flying though!)
Very true. I myself have been fooled when working hotel security years ago.
Just wondering about the cameras. I know when I’m signing that pad after swiping my card that I’m being recorded but where is the camera? Is it in the thing that I’m signing? In the cash register? In the ceiling? Having been a bit more paranoid than most people I’m generally more cautious in my day to day dealings with folks. Sometimes I think that I could have been a very good bank robber as it seems most people just don’t notice me. As a caveat when ever I buy a box of ammo I make it a point to pay in cash and wear a hat.
Look around inside. There will be a camera directly above or to one side of the cashier (cash register visible) and another set off to the side where the driver can be seen when the cashier is at the window. It will often be in a mirrored dome or otherwise visible. Next time you walk into a store that has a security monitor at the entrance (so you can see yourself walk in) calculate the angle and identify the camera location. Once you see it you’ll likely notice the same type in fast food kitchens.
Depending on how it’s set, if you park just a little to the rear of where they expect you might be out of range. The cameras will never be to the cashier’s right, always above, behind or to the left because to the right doesn’t show the cash register or the customer. They will always be high, not where they could be bumped or jarred in the normal course of business. They will usually be visible because if someone is planning trouble management wants him to know he’s being watched.
Most cameras at registers are overhead so that they can watch the whole area. Employee theft is a big deal and it also protects the store from people making wild claims. Where I used to work the employees were watched as much if not more than customers.
Accessories like watches,rings,ear rings get noticed as well.
No one has said it so I guess I will.
Not being the same race as what is predominant in a given area will get you noticed.
ALL PEOPLE racially profile.It’s human nature.Gender too. Being the only guy in a woman’s store will get you noticed as an example.
Some times it’s best to skirt certain areas even if it takes you longer to get to get to your destination.
I do wear watches, however, they are inexpensive ones that work for MR. I’m. Just not sartorially correct or splendid,The thugs I see in our area, probably wear better watches than mine, I might just have to jack the thugs instead….
I just moved to a small town in winter and my sister came to visit me from the big city and wanted to visit a bar with me for a drink. So the first place we went to looked plain and inconspicuous so we walked in the door. First thing I saw was a crowd of 20 men, with their eyes on me and my sister. We stood out like aliens from another planet…then I noticed on either side of the door where we stood in were two stark naked women dancing who also stopped to stare at us.
Now I don’t know how to “blend in” with this situation, I was aghast, so we turned around and walked out, then ran to our car, and left never so humiliated and embarrassed, and making sure no one was following us as we went to my home.
I took humor to my situation when I read Ken’s comments in how to blend in like:
Act like you are supposed to be there. (Sorry I couldn’t)
Wear what most others wear. (women wore nothing)
If you are near a crowd, move to it and stay with it. (no way)
Do not look uncomfortable; this will look suspicious. (ya think?)
Talk in local dialect. (woo-hoo, whistles, and yeowser!)
Do not look like a tourist, gazing at the surroundings as though for the first time. (sorry I turned as white as a ghost tourist!)
I think there are exceptions in situations like mine, but enjoyed the laugh. Couldn’t help it and spilled my soda.. I could have blended into a riot much better… One thing I didn’t do was check beforehand where I was going, but don’t discount surprises! ;-)
ha Ha, had to laugh at that one Stardust.
Stardust, ROFL!!! OMG, yes, definitely the exception in that case! Geez!
Stardust, this exact same thing happened to me and a girlfriend in the very distant past. I didn’t pay a bit of attention to the doorman-dude who said, “We don’t get many women here”…we just went inside.
Our eyes were almost instantly on the nekkid women on pedestals dancing. OMG! I was both embarrassed and pissed… And many of the guys there were looking at us! I pretended to be searching for someone. Most likely, the guys figured I/we were looking for our guy. LOL
Within 2 minutes, we were out-the-door. I had completely forgotten about that until I read your words. Thanks for the time-travel backwards to the more stupid/young phase of my life.
I, too, had a similar but not quite so extreme situation. After an indoor swim, I went into the sauna. A while later. A mother and two girls came in. They were naked and I was in my bathing suit. The little girls started to talk and point to a sign which was not in English. Apparently the sign said, “no clothing”. I muttered something in English and left.
Good thing it wasn’t a nude beach which is very common in Europe.
I have missed our Viking man. Where is he?
For some reason I particularly take notice of anyone wearing camo in public. And I didn’t see it mentioned above- avoid wearing caps and clothes with logos and words on them. Try not to provide a stimulus above the ambient in the perceptions of the minds around you.
Your not from the south most around here were some kind of hunting camo the ones that don’t stick out
I love your story. Life does have its giggles.
If everyone was naked it would be easy to blend. Except where would we put our gun?
I have several BDU tan camo shirts that I wear as yard work shirts. They have roomy pockets and are very comfortable. Unfortunately they draw some attention. I have even had people say thanks for your service to me , though the shirts have no military markings or patches on them.( I always tell them that I never served.) I think plain monochromatic , neutral colors are best. I’m in the NRA , but don’t put decals on my car, or wear the caps or shirts from them. I wore an NRA cap once and the kid behind the counter asked me what kind of gun he should buy !
When in a city move your eyes before you move your head so you don’t make a jerking motion.
Look in store front windows to see if your being followed or caught someones attention.
Walk down the middle of the sidewalk this way you have reaction time from someone trying to grab you from an alley or a Van.
Look for shadows from alley lights and from under cars from street lights.
Don’t touch your back pocket. Someone will think you are protecting valuables.
Don’t forget to yawn occasionally, humans (and animals) do this to show that they are relaxed and unstressed even in strange surroundings.
Not kidding, it works.
Looking homeless is a very good way to get most people to avoid noticing you. I hate to admit it but I go out of my way to avoid the corner they are begging on. I frequently donate to the shelters and never to the pan handlers. Way to many times I had them in the ER with a blood alcohol level that would kill most people. Unfortunately we couldn’t discharge them until there level was low enough to allow them to drive. Of course the LEOs do notice them as all to often they’re doing B&Es to support their habit of choice or just plain hungry. Carrying a folding shopping cart in the trunk along with some black plastic bags to put your stuff in and wearing some tattered and mismatched clothing will probably work if you have to walk home during a shtf scenario.
Since I am color blind to a lot of color, I favor dressing in neutral or “winter colors, that O can tell apart. Shirts are always one mounted color, I wear blue jeans a lot, and have always walked/acted like I own the place, when out in public. I always say please and thank you, yes ma’am, or yes sir, and look directly into people’s eyes when speaking WITH them.
I doubt most folks will remember WHAT I look like, or what I am wearing, they almost always remember I was polite or “nice”, and unremarkable….just the way I like itAs Americans, we are easily detected, even in Canada, because we DO, walk talk, and act “differently than any other population on Earth.”
I do pretty much the same. Walking into someplace like you own it shows confidence, eye contact and proper manners are a given and like you said people could not describe you other than there was a very polite person I met today.
Walking anywhere in a store, on the sidewalk, etc. Lets any bad guy know I’m not their target and to move on from my AO.
Adapt and Overcome.
I never did figure out what the difference was, but in Germany everyone assumed I was German until I opened my mouth.
TPS, you are correct. Generic Americans LOOK and act like generic Americans. I would suggest the following:
-If you have anything with a ‘hoodie’ on it, throw it away. Only thugs, drug addicts, and stupid punks wear hoodies. You WILL be watched.
-Have any ‘popular’ shoes? Get rid of them. Wear only shoes that no one wants.
-Have ‘ear buds’ stuck in your head? Throw them away. See the first entry.
-Walk around with your mouth open? Shut your mouth.
-Do not look around as you walk. Looking nervous means you are nervous.
-Do not wear a coat in summer. (Duh!)
-Do not walk around in short sleeves with a foot or two of snow on the ground.
-If the cell system is working, check your phone periodically. And look around while doing it. Preferably stop moving when you check it.
-Are you carrying a weapon. Don’t act like it. Have it secured and do not ‘check it’.
-Do you need to turn a corner and the street ‘looks’ empty? Don’t go there.
-Go into a store that is completely quiet? Leave.
-Have ‘that feeling’, like someone is watching? Stop. Turn around. Walk back towards where you came from. After a minute, stop. Turn around. Recognize anyone? Someone else turns around quickly? If so, go into a store.
-The same car headlights seem to be behind you for longer than you feel comfortable with? Turn into a parking lot. Be ready to ‘floor it’.
-Do not wear a hat or clothing that advertises ANYTHING that can be misconstrued as controversial.
Look around. How many people around you look ‘normal’? How many look odd? Take a hint at the normal ones. That’s what you want. I have always said that ‘fashion = target’. Blue jeans, plaid shirt, boots, and a John Deer ball cap, you cain’t get no more common than that.
“Have that feeling”. A nurse I used to work with referred to it as our spidey sense. If you feel something isn’t right it probably isn’t. Pay attention to it. It could save your life.
Slight correction to me….
Paying attention to your “spider senses”, WILL save your life'(not could, but that’s just me!)
Learn how to walk with a limp, it may bring attention to you initially but people will avoid looking at you and if they remember you at all they will just remember the limp.
A streetwise predator will size you up with a single glance and tell a lots about you. If you walk with a limp, you are telling the predators that you are the weak one in the herd. To human predators that’s like ringing the dinner bell. I agree with CYB, look them square in the eye and they know you won’t be easy prey.
To Bill Jenkins horse: Being the only guy in a womens store? yeah you are right. I got kicked out of Victoria’s Secret a while ago. I like to embarrass my wife in public places. She cannot take me anywhere.
I like to wear Dickies brand clothing when out in the working class part of town. Cheap and available plus you do not freak out if something gets spilled on them.
Stardust: That was a funny story. Perhaps the best way to blend in there would be to place a $1.00 bill on the rail and depart. It will probably get the crowd of men laughing. Ambulance drivers get lots of calls to Strip Clubs because the new girls sprain their ankles learning to walk in the sky-high heels and the drunk patrons will sometimes fight each other over the affections of the working girls. Good place to stay away from. Well NOW you know about the place.
That was a funny story. The patrons there should leave you two alone and not follow you home. The ladies who have problems with this are the naked ones dancing. They frequently have problems with creeps and stalkers following them after work where there is no security to help them. It is an occupational hazard and those who do that gig for years are tough, smart and good at setting limits. Off duty strippers are also experts at urban camoflage and blending in outside their job.
At least now you know of one place in town to not go to with your sister.
Final note about Strip Clubs is ambulances get lots of calls to those places because: 1. new girls will sprain their ankles learning to walk in the sky high heels they wear and 2. Horny, intoxicated males with low impulse control will get into fights with each other over the affections of their favorite dancer. Wearing an ambulance uniform and dragging a gurney, we obviously did not fit in. Still some drunk patron will offer to buy us a drink (no thank you) and one of the strippers will jokingly offer us a “freebie” knowing that we will get fired and cannot accept. Fun, Fun, Fun in the big city.
I call it –Urban Cammoflage– blend in.
Be aware, but do not be obvious about it.
I don’t agree with this one – “Do not make eye contact when you want to look at a person; look at the face without making eye contact.”
I always look everyone in the eye. It’s part of my situational awareness. Most people smile, some nod. But when I look someone in the eye I can tell if they are friendly, busy, angry, or looking for trouble.
In case you get grabbed by someone on the street, wear steel toed shoes or boots. They make them in a number of different styles as safety shoes for industry, that are not noticeable. A swift kick will give you a chance to get away from them, without injuring your foot but causing a painful wound to them.
Note on the steel toe boots.
That used in offense is considered a weapon in a lot of places, so long as you don’t go off first and are only protecting your self you should be ok.
Sorry about the double post.
My truck is very plain with minimal number of decals on the windows and no stupid bumper stickers to anger people or advertise hunting products, guns or ammo, archery gear or even fishing gear.
I wonder about the mentality of those that choose to paste a sticker on their car stating: “This car protected by Smith and Wesson.” almost an invitation for a brick through the window just to check for a $1000 pistol.
I have a list of all my clothes and change colors every year. I won’t wear the same winter hat, scarf, or mittens year after year. I avoid patterned clothing except for some tops and avoid orange and yellow and bright pink in public. Most of my outerwear is black or medium blue. All pants are black or navy blue.
I don’t have charities pick up old clothes any more. I put them into small bags and drop them off in charity bins. This way they don’t know where I live. I have gone through clothes at home and disposed of the ones that are too identifiable. A lot of druggies burglarize homes and if anyone gets through Fort Knox then they will only see plain clothes in very common colors. If anyone is stalking me I can be confused with thousands of other people. Any tshirt with a logo or travel destination has been removed from my home. One day a few years ago I was at a bus station with a Charleston canvas tote bag and this man came up to me requesting money. I bet I stood out like some rich tourist. I left the area immediately. He was well dressed in a $300 leather jacket. Now I blend in and I try to look like a lower middle to middle class person. My watch is a cheap Timex.
Another good tip is if you get caught run into a large group of people change as much as possible the blend in. If it’s a party start dancing, preferably start dancing with someone. so good luck and don’t get caught.
Also when changing clothes wear some undershirt so that when discarding the clothes your DNA doesn’t rub on it as much. definitely never use the same name twice or the same place twice if you have been caught in that area. Also be careful when making relations, one night stands for instance be careful and give them a fake name. And try to slip away before he or she wakes up leave no trace behind.
I launder any clothes right before I donate them to remove DNA. Also I do not donate purses, bags or wallets in case my fingerprints are still on them. What if a drug dealer bought them from a thrift store and the cops seize them full of cocaine? I have been. fingerprinted by the police so am on file. It was a job requirement. I simply do not want to be implicated in something I have no control over so these items are landfilled when they break.