the Attack Cycle | This is how the Bad Guys do it

The attack cycle of a predator.
This how burglar's do it. Their attack cycle.

In the Intelligence community, it’s referred to as the Attack Cycle.

Look | Choose | Stalk | Close | Strike

It’s the bad guy’s blueprint.

Here’s where it matters to you and I (the good guy’s)… When you understand how it works, their nefarious script (the attack cycle) can be stopped dead in its tracks.

The following information is my summary of an article that I read in ShootingIllustrated titled “Bad Guy’s Blueprint” by Steve Tarani.

The concept fits with what we’ve talked about here on the blog when it comes to personal security.

The takeaway from this is to know that if you break ANY of the following steps in the attack cycle used by the bad guy, the attack will likely be foiled.

LOOK | Predators 1st Stalk their Prey

Logically, first, the ‘bad guy’s’ must look for their prey. The predator is looking for an easy target. Low hanging fruit, so to speak.

If you pass the test, he will move on to the next step.

How to avoid the Look phase?

Don’t be be there in the first place!

Don’t be in the environment where bad guy’s may be on the prowl.

A convenience store or gas station late at night. Bad areas known for crime. Pretty much anywhere late at night.

With that said, bad situations happen to good people in seemingly safe places, and during the day. Practice good situational awareness.

CHOOSE | The Victim is Chosen

So you’re in an environment with a ‘bad guy’. How or why might he choose you (or anyone) as their intended prey?

Maybe the target appears weak and/or unobservant. Most likely with their head down in their iPhone. An easy mark.

First he looked. Then he chose his intended victim (because the victim appeared as easy prey).

How NOT to be chosen as the intended victim?

Appear ‘aware’ and confident whenever you’re out and about.

Don’t do stupid things that may attract their attention. Like flashing a wad of cash. Headphones on. Walking while texting. A vulnerable unsecured purse. Engrossed in conversation oblivious of surroundings.

STALK | Observe, Decide, Plan the Strike

The bad guy has chosen. But now he will observe and decide if it’s worth the effort. Person ‘X’ is now being stalked and is under scrutiny as the potential victim.

Once it has been decided, the bad guy will figure out how to get close to you. Maybe he’ll use a verbal interaction trick. Or perhaps a sneak attack.

How to stop the stalk phase?

Don’t be an attractive victim. If you KNOW you’re in a bad environment, take a few seconds and look around. Anything that you do which appears situationally aware, will break the attack cycle. Even if you don’t see a threat! (But he might see you).

The important thing is, if and after you see a potential predator, know that you may be under scrutiny. Your own confident appearance and any actions that you take next which indicate awareness will reflect that you will not be easy prey.

CLOSE | Close the distance to Strike

It has been decided. Person ‘X’ is going to be the target. This step is the time between when the bad guy begins to close the distance and when he gets to the victim.

What if the bad guy is coming towards you?

If you are aware, and see a potential bad guy beginning to close the distance between you:

Look him directly in the eye for a moment. Non-confrontational. He sees you looking at him. The element of surprise is gone. This will probably break the attack cycle. There’s easier prey out there…

STRIKE | After 4 Steps, Attack Executed

If you have been chosen and failed to recognize the impending attack, it will be too late after the predator has taken his first 4 steps.

I don’t know where they came up with 4 steps. However I believe it may reference that their decision has been made with certainty and commitment to execute the attack. The wheels are in motion so to speak.

The point is, don’t let it get to this phase. Otherwise you fight or give up what the attacker is after.

Continue reading: Situational Awareness Tips
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