A couple of VERY good posts on staying aware and alert without busting a mental muscle.
The Cornered Cat: Alertness Tips
Sometimes it feels like you just have to walk and text. Maybe you and your friends are going to meet up with someone else, and you’re the designated message-sender. Or the group navigator. Whatever. So here’s what you want your friends to do: you want them to promise you, really promise you, that they won’t let you get surprised by anything while you’re paying attention to your phone. They’ll spot the other people and warn you those people are there.
Marc MacYoung: Fringe Areas
Fringe areas are places “in between.” And it is here that criminals usually operate. Fringe areas are usually places that you pass through on you way to and from the crowd. In the middle of the crowd, there are too many people for the criminal to operate safely. Too far from it, there is nobody for him to attack. At the fringes, there are enough people going through that the criminal can find victims, but not enough to effectively hinder him.
This is true in the smaller sense (parking lots, movie theaters, college campuses, office buildings, etc) as we make our way from one place of relative safety (a crowd) to another (our car, home, or other such place), and it’s true in the larger sense as well. I don’t go the really nasty areas of the West Side of Phoenix, but do I go to, say, Seventh Ave and McDowell?
Oh yeah. And it’s those areas where I need to more alert and aware of what’s going on than in my sleepy little suburb.
Phoenix gained a reputation as the kidnapping leader of North America a few years ago. While that may or may not true, does anyone really think that the drug gangs that currently infest our city are going to go away quietly? What happens when things get rough for them (and everyone else) and the drug gangs in the U.S. start to do what their louses-in-arms have done in Mexico City and turn to kidnapping as a means of increasing revenue (pdf link)?
It’s the fringes. It’s the in-between spaces where the predators are going to look for their prey. They’re not going to do it in their own den, because the people there don’t have the resources to pay. And they’re not going to go to places where they’ve never been, like my suburb. They’re going to go to places that are just familiar enough to be comfortable yet have the targets they’re looking for.
And man, I really, REALLY need to read more Marc MacYoung. His stuff just makes too much sense not to.