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June 07, 2018

Understanding Body Language & Pre-Attack Indicators



One of the most effective ways to avoid becoming a victim is to spot an attack before it happens. Whether you’re being approached in a parking lot or walking through a crowd, being attuned to the body language of those around you is a powerful tool. Along with personal protection weapons, a knowledge of body language takes away the assailant’s advantage of surprise. Here are some ways to identify pre-attack indicators based on body language:

1. Rapid Blinking

The average blink rate for a person is about 20 times per minute, and the average time to maintain eye contact with another person is 3 seconds. Changes to this can indicate that a person is experiencing stress or adrenaline. While there are lots of reasons for a person to experience stress in public (they don’t like crowds, they are looking for their child in a sea of people, etc.), when combined with other red flags, it may spell trouble. If someone starts blinking fast and maintaining longer than normal eye contact, aggression could follow. 

2. Quick, Shallow Breathing

Breathing also changes as someone gets ready to attack. Specifically, if you hear the person behind you switch to rapid and shallow breaths, it might be time to reach for one of our keychain weapons, such as our keychain pepper spray, as you walk away. Rapid breathing is an unconscious reaction, so even if an attacker can mask other body language, their breathing can be a giveaway. 

3. Fidgeting

As an attacker gets ready to strike, they are also likely to exhibit some fidgeting and signs of agitation. Look for swaying, clenching of the jaw, and erratic movements. If a person goes from being calm and standing in one place to suddenly pacing and fidgeting with their hat – their nerves could indicate that they’re considering an attack.

4. Targeted Scanning

Someone who is contemplating an attack will scan their target. They want to see how vulnerable you are, what if any risks they face when attacking you, and if they can catch you off guard. Be on the lookout for scanning behavior. An attacker will not only scan your bag or the other area they plan to target, but they may also continue to look around to make sure it’s safe to proceed. If you find someone continuing to look toward you and scanning the area surrounding you – remove yourself from the situation. 

5. Slowed Responses 

Multi-tasking isn’t easy for a would-be attacker. Try as they might to act normally as they assess a situation for targets, they are likely to become obviously distracted because their mind is occupied with their impending crime. When the mind is concentrated on a high-stress task, it’s hard to concentrate on anything else. The attacker is contemplating the odds of success and looking for security guards, so if they’re asked if they need help, they are likely to fumble for a response. If someone is unable to provide quick or natural responses to questions and appears to be distracted by scanning the crowd, they may be scouting a target. 

Being aware of your surroundings and knowing how to spot red flag body language is a critical way to stay safe whether you’re alone or in a crowd. Along with home protection tools such as security systems and on-the-go gear like a mini taser or keychain weapon, spotting pre-attack behavior could save your life. If you still have questions about how to choose the right self-defense equipment, further learning material like self-defense dvds, or protective gear, contact The Home Security Superstore today to learn more.

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