Situational Awareness

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What is it?

Why do I need to know?

How just paying attention could help save your life

Situational awareness, the act of noticing what’s going on in your environment and accurately interpreting its significance, is crucial to personal safety. Keeping you and your family safe is easiest when you avoid trouble entirely. Distractions are a part of modern life though, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for or even when you should be looking for it, you might find yourself the target of a criminal assault that could’ve been avoided altogether.


Educate: Know when to pay closer attention.

Parking lots, stop lights, gas stations and even our own driveways are a necessary part of getting to the places we frequent most. Criminals know that these transitional spaces—fixed locations people are forced to pass through on their way to where they’re going—are where people are most likely to be distracted. Transitional spaces may seem harmless, but they’re the places we’re most likely to be randomly victimized.

Prepare: Train yourself to pay attention when you’re in transitional spaces.

Look for people loitering in these areas. People who move directly towards you, change direction to intercept you, or begin moving once they see you are a sign of potential danger. While these aren’t guarantees that someone is going to assault you, they can indicate that you’re likely to have an encounter with that person.


Protect: Engage in active avoidance.

Most criminals are opportunistic. The ones who strike at random rely on misdirection and surprise in order to close distance with and overwhelm their victims. Given the choice, most criminals will target someone completely unaware rather than someone paying close attention to their environment. The simple act of paying attention, coupled with knowing what to look for, can help protect you and your family from harm.

U.S. LawShield and our Independent Program Attorneys (IPAs) helping Educate. Prepare. Protect. since 2009


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