By Master Peter Deeley
Having performed much security work during the late night and early morning hours, I am driven now by experience and and instinct to determine whether an environment is safe or unsafe. Much your safety depends on good habits modified with unpredictability. A few good rules go a long way to keeping you alert and out of harms way, and an unpredictable schedule and venue heightens safety. And yet! I see experienced security officers have forgotten basic safety, or have become indolent in their duties. Not only should you follow a few imparted techniques but be prepared to invent and develop some of your own.
Before Leaving Your Building
At an earlier time, while it is still light, move your vehicle closer to the exit from your the building.
Before leaving your office or place of business in the dark go to the video camera screens and wind them back fifteen to thirty minutes. Review the tapes looking for suspicious activity or suspicious people. Call the police if you spot suspicious activity.
Call a friend or relative before you leave and give them an estimated time of arrival. Leave a voice mail message if you did not speak to them, and call another person if possible.
Leave with another person, or have someone “watch you” as you lock up and leave.
Use the peep hole if you have one.
Exiting the Building
Turn the lights out before you set the alarm. Use a keying light to set the code, then walk to the exit. It is important to let your eyes adjust to the dark; this enables you to see potential threats. Where possible, turn out all light that might silhouette your form in the doorway. Exit, close the door, and facing out from the building, peruse the scenary for suspicious persons or vehicles. When you are sure no one is approaching, lock the door. If somebody was approaching before you locked the door you are able to get back inside for safety. The alarm may go off. Let it!!!
Many businesses have glass display fronts where the light stays on all night for security measures. Persons leaving these types of businesses will be silhouetted and an easy target. Coordinate with other businesses and vendors to leave the complex together. One day your neighboring business owner is watching you leave from your business, you in turn watch them from the safety of your vehicle; and on another day it may be the other way around.
Walking to Your Car
Carry a large flashlight. This is good for lighting up a potential threat, and for deflecting blows to your body and head.
I am always amazed at how much we carry about with us. Yes, that does include myself. Instead of loading up with all your luggage and hauling it like pack mules to your transport; move it in smaller segments while other employees are about watching you. When you finally leave the building, have your hands free.
Use reflections in the windows of the store or office to keep a view of the scenery behind you when you lock the door. Even install a mirror on the door or windows to give a clear view behind you. Also use the glass on automobiles to give an added view of your surroundings.
In most cases you should go directly to your vehicle and enter quickly; check your surroundings. But on the way to your car, if should you see a suspicious person moving towards you, without making it obvious, change course and see whether they are still moving towards you. If so, place your keys between your fingers, ready for use. Fake answering your phone; be ready to dial “911” ( 999 as is the emergency number in other places); head back to the place of business and get inside.
At this point I would like to discuss weapons. I am not going into any details about firearms, I will leave that to the experts in firearms. If you have the legal permits to carry and you are sufficiently trained, confident in the use of firearms, then your best judgment should be used in the use of a firearm. However, not everyone is able to carry a firearm; so any weapon carried will be a modified object, a non-lethal defensive weapon such as pepper spray, CN or CS gas, a taser or a stun-gun. Any of these non-lethal weapons need training to be effective. It’s too late to figure out what you are going to do after you are attacked. It is my belief that most people carry their weapons to show a possible attacker and thus deter them from aggression. It doesn’t always work! Go to the experts and learn to use them, practice and have a clear working scenario in your mind about how you will react with your choice of non-lethal weapon.
One thing to bear in mind; an attacker in nearly all cases does not want to get hurt; which is the same for the rest of us. If you have been targeted by an aggressor and you have shown your legal weapon of choice, but the aggressor still advances toward you; then the aggressor is confident that he will be able to take your weapon away from you. It is essential that you learn not to let your attacker get your weapon. Training is vital to survival! The other lesson here is: do not show your non-lethal weapon of choice, keep it hidden and use it only when you have to!
Once you have used your non-lethal weapon, get to safety. Go to your car, back to your place of work, or run and hide. Then call for law enforcement.
Knives! I am an expert in using a knife for defense. However, I only carry a knife as a tool, for utility, not as a weapon!!! The use of a knife as a defensive weapon requires a LOT of training and it is a lethal weapon, no matter the use. Because of the training needed, and the complex laws surrounding the use of edged weapons, I do not recommend using them for defense in every day life. The use of a knife in defense very often goes against the victim in a court of law.
Leaving work, or any other premise, in the dark has more risk due to both the ease of concealment and less people around to render aid or witness the attack. Each work place or building has its differences; be prepared to have a routine based around your own and your co-workers’ safety, vary your movements enough to eliminate predictability and modify learnt security measures to fit your surroundings.