The Automatic Scan Technique For Your Personal Security


Very few people that I notice while out in public, do the ‘automatic scan’ while they’re out and about while walking here and there. They are often focused on one thing – and it’s not related to their personal security.

It might be their smart-phone, it might be their conversation with a companion, they might be staring straight ahead, or they might be looking down while walking forward. Their mind is elsewhere. They are in their own bubble as they move about.

The problem with that is – while many people do live and function in a fairly safe environment, one never knows when their (false) notion of security might be shattered…

After you have learned the automatic scan technique, it will become a natural part of your subconscious, and will compliment your own situational awareness and personal security.

The automatic scan is about focusing and paying attention to the things around you as you move about. It’s about looking beyond your 6-foot bubble of ‘comfort zone’. It’s about a periodic scan of your environment.

One simple analogy is this… When people are in their car driving in traffic, some of them only focus on the car in front of them. The better way is to keep an eye on the cars in front of the car that’s in front of you (while you are still obviously aware of the car in front of you). This way you will better anticipate braking, etc. Similarly while out and about in public (or anywhere) it is better to be aware of more than just what is in front of you.

The automatic scan technique sounds simple enough, but the trick is to get in the subconscious habit of occasionally scanning your environment. It takes repeated conscious effort at first, and it may take awhile to regularly remember to do it, but after awhile it will become more natural and will not require conscious remembrance to do it.

You might ask, “What am I looking for?”

Answer: You are simply gauging your environment. Your subconscious (sixth sense) may alert you to something out of the ordinary, or you may even see something that is quite obviously out of the ordinary. You will also be recognized as difficult prey to any lurking predator.

While doing the automatic scan, depending on your level of concern, you might be making conscious mental notes of things or people that might look suspicious, alternate routes, exits, obstructions, etc.

When you’re out in public, you should always be in condition ‘yellow’ (relaxed alert).

An interesting aspect to the automatic scan is that after you’ve engrained the technique into your psyche, you will begin to ‘see’ (on occasion) another world (another level) which you’ve not really noticed so much before.

Be safe.

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  1. As part of this you should also be listening for things that don’t seem right. Like walking down the street and listening to the footsteps of a person several feet behind you. Suddenly their pace picks up to match your pace. When I started walking several years ago in an attempt to get healthier I decided to get headphones to listen to music to alleviate the boredom. I found myself constantly looking over my shoulder because I could no longer hear what was going on around me. I didn’t like it so the headphones came off.

  2. A point well taken, Ken. When I took flying lessons, I was taught this “scan” is part of flying an airplane. A stiff neck or a headache will ground you. When flying commercial I always looked for the nearest and next to nearest exists before take off, and made a plan of evacuation in case the plane crashed. As I looked at the other passengers, they were oblivious to the instructions before take off.

    Our primitive ancestors survived to produce us because most of them were aware of their surroundings, as with wild animals because danger lurked around every corner. In todays world, these reflexes to a reaction of our environment have been relaxed because we have been in safer environments. Although some bad instances have created a panic, it is because many do not know how to handle the situations, didn’t see them coming, and there was no forethought in how to handle them. Using your senses, especially sight, comes with insight and preparedness in your thought processes.

  3. exercises to help sharpen the scan, STOP, who is behind you? man/woman, how tall, age, hair color, clothing that sticks out or identifies them. Same with driving, check who is to your right, left. behind, in front. Approaching an alley, step to the outside of the sidewalk and look for lurkers, listen!! What do you hear? Where are the shadows that someone might conceal themselves in? Where is your closest ‘safe’ spot? Where are all of the exits? When dining, can you see the door? how about the bathrooms? Are people stationary or moving about? When in doubt put keys in fist with a key sticking out between your fingers (good weapon) or better yet have a knife or weapon handy. Stay safe Sisters!

  4. Living out in the country, I have learned that my awareness is not half as good as the wildlife around me.

    When the birds that normally feed in my yard all take flight, the white tail deer run off in more abandon than usual, when the squirrel runs up high in the tree and lays down on a branch, when my rabbits all have their ears up and directed the same, etc I know that I need to check my surroundings.

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