Awareness is required before applying any personal safety or self-defense tactics, techniques, and procedures. There are no absolute or foolproof techniques and security hardware that can guarantee personal safety and security. We live in a changing world and safe conditions can never be completely defined or guaranteed.

Personal security cannot be delegated to others.
Personal safety is your responsibility!

Effective personal security must be dynamic or fluid, in that awareness of danger must be constantly assessed. Security is never static, simply because the diverse risks which confront us are always changing. Similar to weather changes involving fluctuations which can result in potential dangers, so do criminals change their locations and motives that also fluctuate in potential situational dangerousness.

Tough Target Attitude

Awareness is an attitude toward life that allows us to maintain a “tough target” disposition. Someone who is a Tough Target has a continuous awareness of their vulnerabilities and always battles complacency of safety. The person who is a Tough Target does NOT have the belief of denial that “it will not happen to me, or at least not today.”

The Tough Target is aware of their environment and those who are around them. Awareness is an overall attitude toward daily living and potential danger. Awareness is not buying a protective personal safety gadget or weapon. The Tough Target has an attitude of awareness that is attuned to suspicious behavior.

Delta Defense

Only through awareness can the catchy acronyms and safety lists below be applied. The anti-terrorism doctrine applies the four “D’s” include:

  • DETECT the threat
  • DETER the threat
  • DENY access to the threat
  • DELAY the attack if possible


The acronym S A F E crafted by Deborah Griffin (1974) describes four steps to personal safety:

  1. S for Secure – security at home in the form of deadbolt locks, good communication with neighbors, and security in a car and on the streets.
  2. A for Avoid – avoid danger spots like public transportation stops at night parking garages, and elevators.
  3. F for Flee – run when possible into brightly lit areas.
  4. E for Engage, the last resort. Remain calm, breathe deeply. Observe anything that might help later in prosecution. If physical action is to be taken for self-defense, it must be an all-out effort.


Model Mugging applies the Four Steps to Self-defense summarized by the acronym P A R R, developed by Robert Koga which are Prepare, Anticipate, Recognize, and Respond. The first step, preparation, requires Awareness of what to prepare for to develop defensive strategies.

Increase Awareness through Technology

Technology can improve personal safety in first recognizing a threat, taking action, and/or summoning intervention. Once a potential threat has been identified, a number of protective crime prevention measures can be taken. Some protective measures may be enhanced with technological support that may involve physical, mechanical, and or electronic devices to thwart offenders.

Developing physical obstacles may delay offenders or stop criminals, altogether such as applying barriers, fences, and walls. Mechanical measures may include locks, gates, which can be blended with electronic measures such as alarm systems, automatic lighting, and video observation systems. Detecting the presence of criminals with alarm systems can provide warning to limit the damage a criminal can cause through foreknowledge of the threat or applying a sophisticated method to seek rapid intervention.

It is best to use technology as a layering of defenses rather than relying on it as a sole defense. Always accept the reality that a criminal may bypass your layered defenses and still catch you by surprise. In those instances when a criminal has bypassed your defensive layers, having the fighting experience for similar scenarios is the last layer of defense. Model Mugging self-defense training classes offer such experiences based on research and martial science.

Proactive Crime Prevention

Awareness allows a person to use more proactive crime prevention measures. Proactive crime prevention increases risks to criminals who use situational or flexible techniques and tactics not only to stop criminal behavior, but to have them arrested and confined. Proactive crime prevention is approached through four general strategies:

  1. Reducing the reward in the perception of the criminal.
  2. Removing excuses of a criminal’s purpose for approaching you or your property.
  3. Increasing the effort required to commit the crime.
  4. Increasing the risk to the potential offender that he might be harmed and/or apprehended.


Awareness is the accumulation of everything you have learned up to this point in your life, and the best way to improve awareness is by adding new information to your understanding of criminal techniques, tactics, and prior effective methods. Awareness is a conscious state of mind and living, but it is impossible to prepare for all possible scenarios. Through awareness, the better conditioned you are mentally to identify potential danger, the more effective you will be able to move to safety when threatened. As criminals improvise their methods it is important to re-evaluate the emotional and physical relationship in criminal behavior.

In the Five Principles of Self-Defense ©, Model Mugging has separated the Principle of Awareness into two parts (1) the foundation of fighting strategies described and (2) the crime prevention strategies. Building a fortress to guard or taking a self-defense class against crime can never make anyone invincible, and nothing can guarantee that you will be successful in avoiding every potential criminal or dangerous encounter. Proper self-defense training can accelerate the attitude of awareness and the Tough Target attitude.

Awareness is the foundation of personal safety and self-defense.


Other Information regarding Awareness for Crime Prevention:

Suspicious Behavior

Observing Suspicious Behavior

Reporting a Crime


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Crimes Within Relationships

Protecting Children

Personal Safety

Home Safety

Vehicle Safety

Travel Safety

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