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Never let the enemy pick the battle site.
                  George S. Patton


This is the criminal putting himself in a place where he can successfully attack you. A criminal (or even a violent person) doesn't want to fight you; he wants to overwhelm you. To do this, he has to put himself in a position where he can do it quickly and effectively. Positioning is the final proof. Someone trying to position himself to attack removes all doubt that the situation is innocent.

A key point of positioning is "fringe areas." You will seldom, if ever, be robbed or raped in the middle of a crowd. A fringe area is where you are close to people, but out of range of immediate help. You won't be mugged in the mall, but will be in the parking lot or bathrooms. ATMs, parking lots, stairwells, public bathrooms and sidewalks should be considered potential danger areas. Even a separate room in a crowded house can constitute a fringe area, as many women who were raped at parties can attest. Being alone with someone in a fringe area is a major part of the opportunity element of the triangle.

     ? Closing – The most basic form of positioning is simply walking up to the victim. The closer a criminal gets, the greater his ability to overwhelm and control. Five feet is the closest you should allow someone you don't trust to approach in a fringe area – whether you know him or not. If the person insists on coming closer after you have warned him away, he has clearly announced that his intentions are not good.

     ? Cornering/trapping - This is the second most basic form of positioning and the most common. He approaches you from a direction that traps you between himself and a large object, like a car or wall. This also entails his putting himself between you and an exit.

     ? Surprise – This is your classic jump-out-of-the-bushes type of position. The criminal puts himself in a place were you don't see him (or if you do, it is at the last minute). From this position, he can easily step out and attack. Once you know these locations, this kind of positioning is easy to foil

     ? Pincer – Professional criminals often work in packs, so you will not face just one. The most common maneuver for two criminals is the pincer. One criminal circles around while the other distracts you. You should always be aware of individuals splitting up when they approach you. Another trap is when two characters face each other in a narrow walkway in such a way that you must pass between them. A third trick is to spread out along a way, when you pass one he starts following you, while the other waits down the way.

     ? Surrounding – This is the most common ploy of a pack (three or more). Again, one will distract you while the others surround. They can swarm around you, but most often they will casually drift. A serious danger sign is when a group is spaced out along the wall in a walkway. When you are at midpoint, it is simple for the wings to fold in.

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