We are all too familiar with the common distractions criminals use to gain the confidence of a child. "I have some candy for you in my car." "I lost my puppy, can you help me find it?" "Your mom asked me to come pick you up for her." Ask most any adult and they know exactly what the criminal is doing with these tactics. He is using words that seem non-threatening to close the physical distance between himself and the child in order to make physical contact.
So what are these tactics that criminals use on adults? They most often come in the form of an innocuous question, such as:
- What time is it?
- Can you tell me how to get to....?
- Do you have a cigarette / lighter?
These questions work miracles for those with bad intentions, because they simultaneously accomplish not one, but two goals.
1) They play on our strong natural desires to be kind to others, which causes us to lower our guard.
2) They distract us as we look at our watch, pull out our phone, or dig for a lighter.
By using these techniques, the criminal can easily move right next to our personal bubble. They have given the appearance that they are non-threatening. At the same time, while we are distracted, they can easily cover ground to make physical contact. Take the example of the following incident that occurred only a few days ago:
The best way to prepare for such a situation is to create these scenarios ahead of time. Come up with the answer that you would like to give. Find a way to be firm in your answer, and keep moving. If at all possible, rehearse these situations with a friend or spouse. Try it both ways, and see just how easy it is to distract somebody with such questions. Make up your mind to invest time in your personal safety!