Situational awareness is the under-appreciated and in fact sometimes unappreciated element of personal security. Of all the things a person can do to keep themselves safe the most important and in fact most fundamental is to be aware of their surroundings and what is happening in their environment. This in conjunction with a basic understanding and ability to recognize potential threats if infinitesimally more important that any hard skill like shooting, martial arts/combatives or anything else.
Despite that awareness usually gets the short shrift. Discussions of personal security often give it only cursory mention or refer to it as “common sense” and don’t take the time to emphasize how important it really is and how to best utilize and develop awareness. Look at how many books, DVDs and training seminars there are on combat shooting, physical self defense skills and the like and how much is available on the market dealing with awareness.
Security is often looked at as a purely functional skillset when in fact the most important aspects are mental. While I hesitate to throw out an unscientific percentage — I think it is safe to say that a large number of personal crimes ranging from petty crimes like pickpocketing and purse snatching to violent confrontational crime like armed robbery and carjacking could have been avoided or at least mitigated if the victim was more aware in the moments leading up to the event.
In our multi-tasking world with an ever-increasing amount of distractions this issue of focused situational awareness has never been more important.
We’ll endeavor to go into this in greater detail in the near future and outline levels of awareness, how to improve this skillset and so forth.