Chris Sutton, the founder of Cobra-Defense, is a veteran law enforcement officer. In nearly a decade of active service in the streets, he had fought, arrested, and interviewed hundreds of violent criminals.
This insight into the minds and actions of “bad guys” reveals some common themes regarding how they choose their victims. That information is central to this Police Officer checklist of how to reduce the odds of being attacked.
While most offices have an “Office Safety Protocol” we call this the Agent Safety Protocol (ASP). The ASP will put you in control of your personal safety.
ASP-Preparation Setting the Appointment.
When you set the appointment on the phone, make it clear, “My partner and I will meet you there…” This statement plants the seed that there will be more than one person present. That is not good news for a potential bad guy.
Arrive on site early to:
1. Open the windows.
2. Unlock all of the exit doors.
3. Open the lock box.
4. Wait in your car with the doors locked. The danger here is that your car confines you into a small space, but in some cases the weather dictates you take shelter. Waiting in the car is still much safer than waiting in the property.
5. Send a text to alert your office where you are and all of the info you have on the prospect.
6. Keep your head up and aware of your surroundings.
When the prospect arrives:
1. Watch for anything suspicious such as a man wearing a long coat on a hot summer day. That could be to conceal a weapon. If it feels bad, trust that feeling and depart asap.
2. Once the prospect clears your profiling, exit the car but stay well out of arms reach. The odds of an attack are reduced outside the property rather than inside, but keeping a distance makes it even more difficult to jump you.
3. Hold your phone up and say, “I’m sorry, but my boss is really strict on safety. Would you please move over to your license plate so I can send in a photo?” Quickly take the shots and send them in. Bad guys will probably object, which is your cue to return to your car and exit. Law-abiding citizens will have no problem with it at all.
4. Ask for a photo ID. Take the ID from arms’ length and the step back a few steps to take a photo of it to send to your office. Ideally, move to the other side of your car, so there is a barrier between the two of you while you take the photo.
Remember, do not trust or accept anything other than a photo ID. Anyone can go to vistaprint.com and in five minutes for $10, create a professional looking business card complete with a fake name, address, and a phone number. It’s a common practice for criminals to give false information to mislead and get you to soften your defenses.
5. Because the lockbox is open, and the door already unlocked say, “I like for clients to enter the home alone as though you were coming home from work. Go ahead. You lead the way.” Give them about 10-seconds of lead time, but not so much that you lose sight of him.
6. Once you enter the property, keep the prospect in your 10 and 2 range of vision at all times.
7. Position yourself close to a quick exit as much as you can. However, if your back is to the exit, the bad guy may have a partner that surprises you. Be aware.
8. Remind him that your partner is on the way. Again, this statement is a huge deterrent.
The key to making this work is to use it consistently. Studies show that it takes 21 – 30 days to develop a new habit. Stick to the Agent Safety Protocol for a few weeks, and like most everything in this business, it will become natural to you.
After all, it’s your ASP on the line.