I’ve found, in my brief experiences with threats, that doing something the criminal isn’t expecting can end the threat. There have been two times when I was an intended victim. The first was in a mall. I sensed something was wrong, stopped walking, turned around an tried to look a mugger in the eye. He wouldn’t look at me and since we were right by a down escalator, he took it. The second, I drove out of a fast food drive through and some guys followed me several miles. All the time they were giving me this gangsta pissed off look and saying “What’s up, man?” I turned into a shopping center parking lot and got out of the car to deal with them. They drove off. I’ve heard of people throwing keys away when someone demanded them. I had a great aunt who stood her ground when a kid had come in her yard and hit her over the shoulder with a stick. The kid and his buddies bailed.
None of this is foolproof. Everything I’ve mentioned could have gone very badly. What’s common to them is that we all became instantly aware, something criminals would rather you didn’t do, and did something they weren’t thinking we would do. Robber, mugger-type crooks come to the setting with baggage. They’re cowards, they’re afraid, they usually aren’t looking for a prolonged encounter. They want to hit and git. They’re looking for a mark…someone unaware of his or her surroundings, someone they can quickly intimidate.
Fear is deeply connected our thinking. The longer we have or take to think about the threat, the greater the fear and the greater our chances of acting in fear…complying…giving them what they want.
Again I’ve presented examples of how I and others have been able to end a threat. Thugs are not all the same. Situations like these can become dangerous and/or deadly quickly. The best thing is to be aware of your surroundings and remove yourself from the place so that you can avoid the encounter entirely.