The Basic Ideas

1. Be Aware of what’s happening around you — all the time. We use color codes describing the various “awareness” or threat levels. White mode means you’re sleeping and utterly unaware of what’s happening around you. Most people are in white mode all day, texting while they walk to their car, car doors unlocked while they drive, failing to look in the back seat before getting in, not noticing somebody hanging around the parking lot — the list goes on. You’re an easy target and the bad guys spot it right away. If you look like food — you’ll get eaten.

Condition Yellow simply means you’re aware of your surroundings constantly. You look at things and see them. “Why is that guy looking at me? Why is that person hanging around the parking lot. Did I look in my car window before I got in? Are my car keys in my hand as I approach my car?”

You can be in Condition Yellow every waking moment. It’s easy, it becomes a habit. You’re not paranoid, you’re simply safer. You’re expecting something to go wrong, so are making plans to avoid it, and if it happens, you’re hopefully informed enough to manage it to save yourself. Watch, look — and listen to your gut. If something looks bad or wrong or unusual — it is. Trust your “spidey” sense on things.

People get killed, robbed, raped, beaten and more simply because they were unaware of what was going on around them and didn’t accept the reality of it. The single thing I heard most often during my police career from victims was: “I couldn’t believe it was happening to me.” Believe it, because it does happen to nice people like you — all the time.