How to Watch Your Back: A Quick Reference Guide to Preventive Measures - Watch Your Back: How to Avoid the Most Dangerous Moments in Daily Life (2016)

Watch Your Back: How to Avoid the Most Dangerous Moments in Daily Life (2016)

Appendix A How to Watch Your Back: A Quick Reference Guide to Preventive Measures

Chapter 1: Understanding Preemptive Behavioral Response

Integrate safe actions that reduce vulnerability into your routine to the point at which they become habit:

✵ Lock doors

✵ Set alarms

✵ Look at surroundings before closing doors behind you

✵ Watch for who is watching you

Integrate tools and weapons into what you wear or take with you every day:

✵ Keys

✵ Communication device (cell phone)

✵ Small flashlight

✵ Small knife

✵ “Pepper” spray

✵ Access to a firearm

Chapter 2: What Everyone Can Learn From the Dangers of Selling Real Estate

Understand the inherent dangers of your job.

How well do you know your clientele?

How does your location or the locations you visit put you at risk?

When shopping for a home or business location:

Do any of the doors and windows display damage that would indicate a break-in?

If the property is vacant, is it secure enough to prevent squatters?

If your marketing includes a personal photograph does the image key on your professional image or is it overly glamorous or egocentric?

All first meetings should occur at the office.

All customers must sign in and be identified.

Confirm the identity of clientele before showing property at a remote location or demonstrating a vehicle for sale.

Does the person’s name come up in a simple “Google” search?

Can you access a criminal database?

Is the driver’s license or other ID genuine?

Be familiar with what a driver’s license from other states should look like.

Use a “blue” light to check for embedded holograms or words that were deleted.

Does the license or other ID appear to be poorly laminated?

Does the person match the description on the ID in the picture and in terms of height, weight, eye color or use of prescription lenses?

Sales agents that leave the premises with customers should be required to check in.

Every agent should have a buddy that will call them at a prearranged time.

All agents should use common language to indicate distress, such as referring to them by a wrong name or mentioning a color code.

Valid confirmed and recorded identification is required for all showings.

All showings should be of a prearranged duration.

Company vehicles or personal vehicles regularly used to show property or make sales calls should have tracking devices.

Don’t let a customer get between yourself and an exit.

When showing property the sales person should not enter walk-in closets, basements, garages, or any space that is not well lit. Ask the client if they would like to go inside and wait outside by the door.

Every sales person should be instructed to leave a client or any location any time they feel unsafe.

Do not consume alcohol or drugs (legal or otherwise) with a customer.

Do not accept previously opened water or soda bottles or cans from a customer.

Chapter 3: Fuel Stops—The Great Equalizer

Before choosing a pump, circle the station to see who is watching you.

If your arrival brings undue attention, leave.

Keep your windows rolled up.

Unlock only the driver’s side door.

Do not use a pump near or opposite to a car that is parked at the pump but not in the process of filling the tank.

Do not park near or opposite to a car that is parked inordinately distant from the pump. This is a method used for smash-and-grab and “sliders.”

When you finally park, wait five seconds.

Use this time to check all the mirrors and look for anyone that is watching you or beginning to approach.

When you first exit the car, stand between the open car door and the driver’s seat and look around before heading to the pump.

Check the credit card reader for a skimmer.

The credit card slot should be narrow and clean.

Look for damage to the outer plate surrounding the card reader.

Is there security tape or a seal surrounding the outer plate of the card reader?

Is the tape or seal broken?

Is the security tape or seal double-layered?

Do not use any pump that looks scratched, dented, or shows signs of pry marks.

Do not use a debit card at the pump that requires a Personal Identification (PIN) number. Small cameras can be used to collect PIN numbers.

Modern credit cards can be scanned without being touched. Do not allow anyone to pass near you as you are using a credit card.

Be prepared to answer three or more questions by the card reader.

Don’t get caught staring at the screen tuning out everything around you.

Keep your head on a swivel and casually look around after each prompt.

If you intend to walk around the car to inspect the tires, step away from the car and make wide turns at each corner.

Chapter 4: What Everyone Can Learn From Professional Drivers

How to avoid being a victim of smash-and-grab or “Jugging”:

Avoid making extra stops after banking or making large purchases.

If your errands include a long list of stops, prioritize so that you go directly home after visiting a bank or buying a “big ticket” item such as a computer or television set.

How to avoid being a victim of a driveway robbery:

Signaling and looking left and right are natural protocol before turning into your neighborhood.

Also check the rearview mirror to see if any car turns in with you.

If you do not recognize the car behind you as you enter the neighborhood or approach your residence, keep driving.

Do not brake suddenly or do anything to acknowledge the other driver.

Leave the neighborhood as though you forgot something at the store.

If they continue to follow, dial 911 and stay on the line with the operator.

Maintain the basic safety features of your vehicle.

Make sure the remote door-locking feature of your vehicle is operating.

Build the habit of locking the doors as soon as you enter.

Do not use the switch to unlock all the doors if you are the only person exiting the vehicle.

If your door locks can be programmed:

Continue to utilize the habit of locking the doors as soon as you enter.

Program the doors to lock when the vehicle is put into gear.

Avoid programming the doors to unlock when the vehicle is put into park.

Maintain the heat and air conditioning units so that the windows do not need to be left in the open position.

Be in control of where you park:

Wherever you go, the presence of anyone that makes you feel uncomfortable in any way is justification for you to leave.

Park with the front of the vehicle facing forward.

Backing out is not only slower but more dangerous.

Backing out limits visibility of both oncoming traffic or an approaching threat.

Always park beneath a light if it is night time or if there is the possibility you may not be returning to the car before dark.

Park as close as you can to the door of your destination as possible.

If you cannot park nearby to your destination try to park in view of or in line with the front door.

If you are visiting a restaurant, sit where you can see the vehicle.

Parking away from a group of cars will allow you to see around the vehicle as you approach.

Do not immediately exit the vehicle after coming to a stop.

Check the rearview, left side, and right side mirrors before opening the doors.

Do not pick up hitchhikers.

Do not open the door or open the window to speak with strangers.

Chapter 5: The Dangers of Drive-Up/Drive-Through Services

Consider the location of the stores and banks that you frequent.

Ask yourself:

Does it also sell liquor or cigarettes?

Is it adjacent to a business that sells liquor or cigarettes?

Drive through the parking area and take notice of who is in attendance.

Ask yourself:

Is anyone waiting around for no apparent reason?

Is anyone in the area dressed inappropriately such as covering their face or wearing heavy clothes on a warm day, sunglasses on a cloudy day, etc.?

Is there a car parked nearby with a driver inside waiting for no apparent reason?

What structures could be used to hide behind?

If you were playing hide and seek where would you hide?

When you park your car turn off the engine, lock the doors, and take your keys.

Do not leave a child unattended in the car.

When on line for service from inside your car, stay far enough behind the car in front of you so that you can see the rear wheels. This will allow you to maneuver out of line.

At the Bank:

Do not use an ATM for making a deposit or checking a balance.

No matter your purpose or intention, in the eyes of criminal your presence at the ATM will always signal a cash withdrawal.

When visiting a bank lobby:

Are the tellers behind bullet-resistant glass?

If not, the bank is more attractive to robbery than other banks that are more secure.

Do not use a walk-up ATM.

Before driving up to an ATM, circle the facility and look for anyone that is on foot or waiting inside a parked car.

If you are in line for the ATM, stay back from the car in front of you so that you can maneuver quickly out of line.

Have your card out and ready before reaching the ATM.

Pull in the side mirror so you can get as close as possible to the slots and keypad without damaging your car.

Look around.

Leaving your car in gear with a foot on the brake is a double-edged sword. If there are pedestrians in the area, leaving in a panic may result in hitting an innocent passerby.

Check the condition of the ATM. If it looks roughed up, a pirate card reader may have been installed.

If there is an inspection sticker that is too obvious or does not appear genuine, a pirate card reader may have been installed.

If the transaction does not go through for any reason, check your balance as soon as possible to see if your data has been compromised.

After you swipe your card, place it inside the car but do not take the time or attention to return it to your wallet or purse at this time.

Look around.

It’s natural to want to count the money dispensed by the machines but an ATM, especially one connected directly to a bank, are highly accurate and regulated. In the event of any irregularity the only people that can help are inside the bank or on the telephone so drive off as soon as you have the money and/or receipt in your hands.

Drive off in a direction that offers the least resistance. Choose a path that keeps you moving and allows you to exit to the street quickly.

If you are picking up a prescription at a drugstore that also sells all manner of dry goods, make sure to ask for a bag used for general merchandise. A white paper bag typically used to hold prescription drugs can attract the wrong attention.

If you are going to use a vending machine located on the exterior of a business exposed to the parking lot, choose only the busier hours to do so. No one should be standing or sitting around waiting.

Take someone with you to watch your back while you manipulate the machine and make your choices.

Remain vigilant and demonstrate body language bordering on arrogance that indicates awareness of your surroundings.

Chapter 6: How Safety Plays a Part in Choosing a Handgun for Personal Defense

Hand Positions for Safe Handling as per Design

Single-Action Revolver

Index finger of strong hand outside the trigger guard.

Strong hand thumb resting atop the hammer spur with hammer down.

Note: hammer in down position over a loaded chamber ONLY if the revolver is equipped with a firing pin safety, or transfer bar safety.

Never holster or otherwise carry a single-action revolver with the hammer back.

Double-Action Revolver

Index finger of strong hand outside the trigger guard riding against the exterior of the cylinder.

Strong hand thumb resting atop the hammer spur with hammer down.

Note: older models of double-action revolver that feature a “nose pin” (firing pin mounted directly on the hammer) should not be carried with a loaded chamber beneath the hammer.

Never holster or otherwise carry a double-action revolver with the hammer back.

If the double-action revolver operates with its hammer not visible but enclosed by the frame (sometimes called “hammerless”), be sure to ride the index finger alongside the exterior of the cylinder.

If the hammer is shrouded, place the strong hand thumb on the small but exposed portion of the hammer spur.

If the hammer spur has been reduced or removed altogether, place the strong hand thumb on the outer contour of hammer or the remnant of the hammer spur.

Double-Action Only and Traditional Double-Action (TDA) Semiautomatic Pistols

Index finger of strong hand outside the trigger guard, preferably above the trigger guard and alongside the frame.

Strong hand thumb resting atop the hammer spur with hammer down.

Monitor any movement of the hammer and slide.

Never holster or otherwise carry a TDA pistol with the hammer back unless a mechanical safety is applied.

If the gun is equipped with a mechanical decocker, always use it to lower the hammer before holstering or whenever the sights of the gun are off target.

If a gun requires manual decocking from single-action mode and does not have a working mechanical safety, this is a poor choice of weaponry in my opinion and should be disposed of.

If a gun requires manual decocking from single-action mode and does have a working manual safety, put the gun on safe at the conclusion of fire. Move to a position where a fired round will be safely blocked and absorbed without ricochet before attempting to lower the hammer manually.

Browning 1911 Action Semiautomatic Pistol

Index finger of strong hand outside the trigger guard, preferably above the trigger guard and alongside the frame.

Strong hand thumb rides beneath the platform of the thumb safety.

Upward pressure is applied to the underside of the thumb safety to prevent it from rotating downward to “off-safe” ready to fire.

Striker-Fired Semiautomatic Pistol

Index finger of strong hand outside the trigger guard, preferably above the trigger guard and alongside the frame.

Strong hand thumb resting atop the back of the slide.

Monitor for movement of the slide.

Chapter 7: Handgun Accuracy as a Component of Safety

Hand Position for More Accurate Shooting

A high grip on the handgun offers more control over every aspect of shooting.

Choose a gun that allows you to hold the grip with the least amount of distance from the top of the hand to the bore axis (the center of the barrel).

A high grip allows the trigger finger to move with less deviation.

The greater the angle at which the trigger finger drops to the face of the trigger, the easier it will be to press the finger in a straight line.


Only accurate shots on a verified threat will end aggression without putting others in danger.

Chapter 8: Safe Handling Practices in Awkward Situations

Never separate a gun from its holster outside of your home or automobile.


Should it become necessary to remove a gun from a holster in a bathroom (public or private), place the gun immediately in a shoulder bag, purse, or briefcase.

Hang the bag on the inside of the stall door or on the door handle on the interior side of the bathroom exit.

Do not place a bag or briefcase containing a gun in a shopping cart.

If you must leave a gun inside your vehicle temporarily:

Create a designated position inside your car for temporary concealed storage of your handgun.

Adapt a lockable compartment within reach of the driver’s seat.

Make sure any storage compartment is free of loose items that can travel inside the trigger guard.

Make sure any storage compartment is clean and free of small items that can enter into the action of the firearm.

Position the firearm so it is accessible via a secure finger-off-trigger pre-shooting grip.

When reholstering or rebagging while seated inside a vehicle:

Check to see if the holster or bag is clear before picking up the handgun.

Attain a safe grip with index finger outside the trigger guard.

Look the gun all the way into the holster, whether the holster is belt-mounted or inside a dedicated carry compartment.

When seated in a vehicle with a holstered gun, make sure your clothing does not bind or otherwise hinder a direct path to the gun.

Chapter 9: Commuting and the Road Rage Phenomena

Preemptive Behavioral Response to Aggressive Driving and Road Rage:

Allow plenty of time.

Take routes you are familiar with.

Identify possible trouble spots such as sudden merges and short exits.

Avoid U-turns and turning across traffic without the aid of a traffic light.

Choose the lane best suited to your speed.

Choose lanes that avoid merging traffic.

Do not speed or tailgate.

Use the horn only in an emergency.

In Response to Aggressive Driving and Road Rage:

Do not answer any provocation with provocative action of your own.

This includes aggressive maneuvers on your part or hand gestures.

Maintain a wait and watch mindset.

Think of it as an opportunity to practice your composure maintenance skills.

Look for an opportunity to separate.

Use your turn signal and move to the right.

Let them get in front of you.

It is always better to slow down than to get ahead.

Speeding up induces a chase or crash.

If the other person slows down, get on the phone, even if you are just pretending to call 911.

Call 911 and do not hang up no matter what happens, even if you have to put the phone down.

Don’t go where you were planning to go.

Find a safe place to go such as:

✵ Police station

✵ Fire station

✵ A well-lit parking lot with plenty of witnesses

Never stop your car.

Chapter 10: The Belligerent Fender Bender

In response to non-injury vehicle accident:

Stay in the car with doors locked.

Perform “self-check” for injury.

Move the car if your position is unsafe but do not exit the car.

From inside your car with doors locked, observe mood of the other parties.

Watch for telltale signs of aggression.

If the other parties are irate or belligerent:

Photograph or videotape their behavior.

Record their license plate number by photograph if possible.

Use cell phone to call 911 and do not hang up.

If not able to reach 911 operator, pretend you are on the phone with them.

Record the time, date, and place.

Leave the scene if necessary to maintain safety.

Do not brandish a firearm.

Only draw a firearm when you are trapped and in fear for your life.

Chapter 11: Extreme Preparation for Your Vehicle

Priorities for Increasing the Defensive Capabilities of Your Car or Truck:

Run-flat tires:

Ensures vehicle control despite tire damage due to road hazard or criminal attack.

Bullet-resistant glass:

Stops or significantly slows incoming projectiles in cases of flying debris caused by other vehicles, storm winds, or bullets from small arms fire.

Hard armor door panels:

Stops or significantly slows bullets from small arms fire.

Hard armor seats:

Stops or significantly slows bullets from small arms fire. Protects against being fired upon from inside the vehicle as in a carjacking or abduction. Provides cover for counterattack.

Hard armor operational components such as the radiator, battery, and fuses.

Strengthen bumpers and panes surrounding wheels and tires to keep the vehicle from being disabled and unable to escape.

Go Bag:

Supplies medical aid, escape tools, and weaponry.

Weapons locker:

A small locker in console or otherwise in reach of driver, or larger compartment in trunk area to secure weapons when not in the vehicle.

Chapter 12: Terrorist Attacks and the Active Shooter

Preparation for Active Shooter Events:

Know where all the exits are.

Designate alternative escape routes:


Thin walls.

Ventilation systems.

Recognize which furniture or other objects can be used to barricade.

Suggest additional furnishings, floor mounted plants, etc.

Improvise weapons:

Furnish desk with letter opener and heavy paperweight.

Keep a screwdriver and hammer in a desk drawer.

Keep an aerosol can of bug spray or oven cleaner.

Visualize an ambush-style plan of action based on halls and doorways.

During an Active Shooter Event:


Lock down and barricade.

Continue to look for escape route.

Consider breaking through walls, ceilings, or windows.

Report to 911.

Plan an offense for when your barricade is breached:

Use improvised weapons.

Designate tasks:

Who will strike, puncture, slash, etc.

Who will immobilize arms or legs.

Who will go for the active shooter’s weapon.

Once one active shooter is apprehended or subdued, prepare for the next active shooter.

Report to 911.

Escape or:

Refortify barricade and debrief.

Restock or reload weapons.

Provide honest feedback.

Analyze how the defense worked/didn’t work.

Reset and prepare offense for when your barricade is breached again.

Continue to look for escape route.

Report your progress to 911.

Avoid being a victim of the Active Shooter:

Do not patronize businesses that prohibit the private citizen from carrying a firearm.

Do not work in a facility that prohibits the private citizen from carrying a firearm.

Do not elect officials that promote legislation that prohibits the private citizen from carrying a firearm.

Join the NRA and state or local groups that support the right of private citizens to keep and bear arms.

Join local groups and initiatives that promote the legal right to keep and bear arms, especially in theatres, schools, shopping areas, and small businesses.

Support the incarceration of career criminals.

Work with national, state, or local groups that seek to refine and reduce the treatment of at-risk patients with psychotropic drugs.