Situational Awareness


I’m an avid people watcher when out in public, like while shopping or anywhere else. I play a game with myself and my Wife I call “Who’s Carrying”. Basically looking for concealed carry firearms. Also it’s a shame how many people walk around in public, completely distracted. Parking Lot Safety also seems to be a far thought for most people. I always park strategically, away from the herd. Does anyone else practice Situational Awareness??? And how.

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I do often. Work related-ive mentioned in other threads that i work a gun counter (hate to sound like a broken record player here). Constantly people-watching and paying attention to the surrounding, particularly for straw purchases. Being observent in recognizing and remembering faces. Now this carries over into personal life. Example, grocery shopping. “Didnt i see you in aisle 3?” Other things i do besides face recognition: take different routes home and be aware to being followed. Parking lots, doors are always instantly locked. A look around the parking lot going in/out the car. I have my keys ready so no need to fumble around. Why walk into a trap?


Parking lots are a vulnerable location that most people don’t pay much attention to. For the past several years I have posted on Facebook warning people about the ease of becoming a crime victim in parking lots. I do this during the Christmas shopping season. It’s easy to remain safe with a little planning. Like you said, having your keys ready is a big part.

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I do the same, watching people, but I usually do it to see who’s ripe to becoming a victim. It’s usually most people. When parking, I usually park somewhat away from other vehicles so that there aren’t any to my right or left and always aim forward so that I can get in and drive off without having to back out. If it’s night time or going to be night time when I leave, I’ll park under a light if possible. When walking in a parking lot, I don’t walk right along the cars. If someone is looking to attack someone, waiting in between cars and coming out and being able to grab their victim would be ideal for them.

Anytime we go out to eat somewhere, I sit facing the entrance to the place, or the main avenue of travel. I don’t like to sit with my back towards it.

An important aspect of not becomong a victim is looking alert and aware. When I’m walking through a parking lot, am out in public etc. I always have my head up and walk with a purpose and sense of confidence. My head isn’t down looking at my phone, reading a list or anything like that. I generally know where everything is while food shopping or Home Depot, so I push my cart to that area, grab what I need and move to the next, head up, making eye contact, etc.

Some advice I always give my son when he’s playing sports goes for situational awareness as well. I’m sure most of you have heard it; “Head on a swivel”

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Oh yeah, growing up in NYC, a sense of situational awareness is basically instinctual, like flight or fight. Three important things I had to learn at an early age were how to fight, how to run fast, and to know when each was necessary. However, living in VA for a longtime and just a bit past 46, my senses aren’t what they once were. The very astute John Lovell once explained how everyone is kill-able, or capable of being a victim, just some of us less so simply due to awareness. Of course he talks about the OODA loop, and this is a good one. Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. This is a military & law enforcement concept, but can be very useful in civilian life as well. We just have to know the signs to look for. I recommend everyone get at least some basic knowledge of common predator like behaviors, and how to recognize them.

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I do it often but find myself feeling parinoid about it. I don’t look for people who I think might me carrying. I look for people who I think might be a threat. People who are over dressed, look nervous, look subdued from a depressant and so on. I don’t trust John Q Public. I’m nobody’s victim.

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I think another area where there is a lack of awareness or planning is in traffic, specifically when stopped. When I’m stopped at a traffic light, I’m not so close to the car in front of me where I can’t get out of the line if I have to. I always leave enough room so I can either go left or right and take off if I had to. Most people are tight up to the car in front of them that they couldn’t do that. Same goes for a drive thru. I generally don’t use those though.

As for walking on a sidewalk or when I go running, I’m always on the side of the street that goes against the flow of traffic so I can see traffic coming at me. If I come up to buildings that are close to the sidewalk without a front lawn or set back, I’m usually not tight against the building, so if anyone is waiting between them they can’t just grab at me.

People who don’t think like us say it’s paranoia. I tell them paranoia would be me living in fear, always thinking someone is between the buildings ready to grab me, which isn’t what I do. I tell them it’s second nature for me, and just as they walk casually without a care in the world, so do I, probably even more so because I know that I at least have a chance to see it coming if someone decides to pick me as a target.

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Exactly what I am talking about.

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As a truck driver you are taught to leave yourself an out so you can avoid a wreck or a broke down vehicle at a light/stop sign. I always have my head on a swivel watching for anything out of the ordinary around me especially when in traffic or anywhere while in public whether that is a shopping center or a truck stop.


As a former school bus driver, I’ve been trained on top of my existing situational awareness to look for everything and anything.

Exit strategy, things out of the ordinary, distracted persons. Distracted drivers, stupid drivers. Persons with intent trying to blend in, unexpected things or actions, etc, erc.

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If you carry or not, I think it at least helps prevent you from being a victim.
As a rule, I look for other CC and also for those that are out of place for the situation. I am always sitting in the back of a restaurant, usually facing the door. My wife knows this and actually makes sure that is the arrangement when we go out to eat. Never hurts to be aware!