What would you do Wednesday: A stranger steals your valuables?

Beth Alcazar presents a great mental training opportunity in this What Would You Do? along with a few responses for you to consider.

Check it out here:

What would you do?

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Let him go, You would be in the wrong if you go after him.


Beth gave the right answer. I can’t feel that I’m in danger once the guy is running away and I have no legal right at that point to pursue him.

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Just to play devils advocate, there is nothing wrong with following him while you hang on the phone with a police dispatcher at a discreet distance, monitoring the situation so that you don’t walk into a trap, but keep him in sight as long as you can. What if after he runs off from the immediate area, he places himself in a crowd walking at a normal pace so he doesn’t attract attention and you can observe him while the police arrive?


Beth is pretty right on here.

In most states you can use force but not deadly force to stop a non violent crime in progress.

You cannot in most states use deadly force to protect property.

As for following a criminal while talking to police you have to be very careful about that. Doing so cost nearly cost George Zimmerman his life, 1.2 million in legal fees plus he nearly ended up doing in life in prison all because as well intentioned as he was that night, it went very bad, very quickly.

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I would let him go, there is no threat to my life and I am not law enforcement. I cary to defend my life not my property.

If you chase him, run him down and he pulls a weapon, who is acting in self defense now? You would probably be viewed as the aggressor and end up in prison. No cell phone is worth that.

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While I was playing devil’s advocate, I agree, you do have to be careful about that, that is why I said discreetly and monitoring the situation. One key difference between this scenario and Zimmerman, is that the person you are carefully following actually committed a crime where in the Zimmerman case, Zimmerman reported a suspicious person walking through the neighborhood who had not committed a crime in Zimmerman’s presence. So, in our scenario while carefully following them, you know you aren’t going to engage. Zimmerman said in his statement Martin approached him, but we have other witness accounts stating Zimmerman approached Martin, asking him what he was doing in the neighborhood, potentially creating the situation that evolved. As Zimmerman was a part of the neighborhood watch and the police had documented previous accounts of him doing just that, it is believable that it might have happened the way witnesses reported it.


You might want to review that case. There were no other witnesses present.

Martin was on the phone with Jeanne? who’s story was completelycontradictory. She claimed that Martin was scared and fleeing and she also said that Martin told her he was going to confront Zimmerman.

Either way Zimmerman was attempting to discretely follow him as well and from all of the evidence Martin disappeared around a corner and then jumped him from an ambush position in the dark.

Point being when you attempt to follow a criminal you are putting yourself at a heightened risk of being forced into a physical and potentially deadly conflict so before the average self defender makes that decision they need to consider the possible consequences that could follow.


Exactly, and by playing devils advocate, people can think through the process and see what can potentially occur with said scenario.

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You’re taking my job by playing devil’s advocate, @Shepherd! LOL!! (Please feel free to continue to play devil’s advocate!)

I would probably do my darnedest to get some pictures of he suspect so that there was a good visual for the police.

One other thing to consider beyond the legal aspect is how are you going to be safe? Self-defense is all about staying alive and getting home to your family in once piece. Property can be replaced, life and limb cannot. (I know, technically limb can kind of be replaced, but you know what I mean.)


Hey I thought I was the devil(s) (advocate) here?!

Just kidding. If you’re aware of your surroundings you still may not see them before it’s too late, but there’s a good chance you can sweep their leg as they try to run. I have done this, twice in fact. Both times the guys were going for my (ex) girlfriends purses. They hit the floor and found my knee between their shoulder blades. Gave them the ultimatum, return the purse or I’d see how far i could curb stomp their face into the floor. Both of these situations happened before my CPL days so I didn’t have any type of weapons on me. People weren’t as quick to sue back then either, so that’s something to think about too.


One problem most people have these days is that they don’t seem to have the attention span or desire to consider the consequences of any of their actions.

Just hit the freeways around any major city for a few hours and you’ll see what I mean.

I equate self defense to “Defensive Driving For Life”. I was taught from a very early age to always keep my distance, to look ahead at least five cars or a half mile, to always be aware of what is happening behind me and to always leave myself an out.

This forces me to consider every possible scenario when I make a lane change, hit the brakes, speed up, and to always be looking ahead and behind for potential problems.

I also trained me from a very early age to play, “What If XYZ happens”, and to plan constantly for those scenarios.

If you are aware of all the possibilities and keep a plan of action available no matter what happens you won’t freeze up in an emergency or find yourself killed or injured while trying to decide what to do.

Warrior Expert theory teaches us that recognition is what separates the experts from the rest. The expert recognizes threats and already has thought through and probably practiced extensively for how to deal with them.

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Unfortunately, that is so very true these days. A lot of people don’t think there will be consequences for their actions until it’s too late and their actions have incredibly dire consequences for themselves or an innocent person.

I’ve gotten a lot more defensive in my driving since I started riding a motorcycle. I have never been complacent, but it’s amazing how much the motorcycle has upped my situational awareness game.

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