Developed by Marc MacYoung, the 5 Stages of a Violent Crime are a world-known system used in training law enforcement, military and self defense instructors. Knowing how these stages unfold can make you alert and prepared to respond before you are attacked. The best self defense weapon is safety awareness and avoiding potentially dangerous situations in the first place.
A perpetrator goes through these 5 stages when committing a violent crime. The first 3 stages are the precursor to any violent crime and the place where you have the opportunity to avoid an attack. Once you have reached the 4th stage, you must employ your self defense training and use any self defense weapon that you may possess at that time.
If you are aware and alert, you will be assessing the attacker at the same time he is assessing you so you will be alert and ready to protect yourself.
1. The Intent- The intent is the stage where the criminal is mentally prepared to commit a violent act such as burglary, kidnapping or rape. They have made the conscious choice and set the intention for what they are about to do. By recognizing subtle ‘oddities’ in a person’s demeanor, speech and body language you can be alert and prepared for a potential attack.
2. The Interview- The interview stage is where the attacker ‘sizes up’ their potential victim. They may ask you for the time or for directions, to see how you respond. The attacker is looking to see if you allow them into your personal space, are friendly and welcoming, or if you are on guard and cautious. If your guard is down, you are more likely to be determined an easy target.
3. Positioning- In the positioning stage, an attacker looks for an opportunity for an easy attack. You should minimize this opportunity by being alert, carrying a self defense weapon such as pepper spray or a kubatan in plain sight. Other ways to prevent bad positioning are to stay in well lit areas and always have an easy escape to quickly seek help. Carrying your cell phone in your hand or pretending to be on the phone with someone will deter an attacker because they will think that you are in contact with someone who will know of the attack.
4. The Attack- At this point, the attacker has decided that you are a good target and has executed the act of an attack on you. This is the point when you should use whatever physical and verbal self defense tactics that you may have. Remember, you are not trying to take down your attacker- escape is the goal! If you happen to have a self protection device in your possession, use it as if your life depends on it. It does! Yell ‘FIRE’ to alert people in the area that help is needed and catch your attacker off guard, buying valuable seconds to escape.
5. The Reaction- This is the most dangerous, and often most violent stage in the cycle of a violent crime. In the reaction stage, this is how a criminal feels about himself after he has committed the violent crime. This is the stage when a simple robbery can easily turn into a kidnapping, rape or murder. Does the attacker get a thrill from the crime he has committed? Does he want to prolong the experience? Does he panic and want to cover up his actions? These are all common responses that may turn an attack into a deadly situation very quickly..
Remember, crime is a process and almost never random. You have the opportunity to recognize the warning signs in the first 3 stages and avoid an attack. Avoidance and escaping a potential attacker is always the #1 goal.