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Defend Thyself Personal Defense

Do You Have Any Spare Change?

by George Wehby   |  June 3rd, 2011 24

We are in hard economic times.  It is no shock that people will do desperate things to earn a buck.  Some people pan-handle, some get another part-time job and some take to robbery.  There are many ways to take money from someone.  The one that should alarm us the most is the armed and strong-arm robbery.  Armed is pretty self explanatory.  Strong-arm is a bit different.  It basically is the use of physical force or threat of physical force without the use of a weapon.  Well, they have a weapon, it is their body.  They are going to posture, shove, punch, kick, choke or a combination thereof to separate you from your money.

The problem with this form of crime from the bad guy’s perspective is distance.  They have to get close to you to commit this crime.  This is where they come up with creative ways to get close, such as asking for help, directions, money or questions like “What time is it?”  They use this opportunity to get you close and let your guard down, then they can strike.  It is my suggestion to avoid these situations through awareness and changing ones direction of travel, but sometimes it cannot be avoided.

Here are a few suggestions. Keep at least a double arms distance from them and portray a confident, prepared and aware demeanor.  If they try to close the gap, create the same distance by moving.  This usually gives them the clue you are not letting them approach you.  Sternly, but kindly tell them you cannot help, or whatever the question is and continue on your way.  If you must remain in the area, (such as a bus stop) try to reposition with a stationary object such as a trash can in between them and you.  This will give them an obstacle and you  a reactionary barrier.  The key is to deny them the close proximity to attack and for you to project a prepared posture.  In the end of the day, being rude is better than being hurt or killed.  Stay Safe!

  • Edward Bleistein

    Once in Baltimore Md. I was approched while walking back to the hotel by a panhandler who had spotted us walking in a touristly manner ( Hawaiian shirt and all )and asked for money for a new fan belt.

    I had spotted him and his 6 or so friends drinking in the shadows long before they seen me. He pleaded ,begged and attempted to insist . It didn't work , I became outraged and threaten them all with a beating . Crazy, lucky or just old Jarhead but now that I'am older , I always am aware of my surroundings.

  • LMLarsen

    This is one of the reasons I initially got a carry permit – the Wife and I were in the city for a nice dinner and an apparently homeless guy attempted to strongarm me.

    He was unsuccessful.

    But it convinced me to go ahead and file the paperwork.

  • robert38-55

    Good tips!!!!!!!!!! Thanks It never occured or dawned on me to give much though about this until now…. I can't count the times I have been approached by homeless, bums, or just plain ordnary strangers, who ask hey mister what time ya got or do ya know how to get to so and so etc. etc………… I will now be on the defensive and more alert for such actions…..I have been taught most of my life, and I am sure others have here too, that old bums, and homeless folks are quite harmless, maybe in the past, but now that you mentioned it, factor in the jobless rate, the state of the economy, etc. etc. that harmless grandpa looking bum, might just be out to do ya harm, and take every nickle you have on you at the time!!!!! And while we are on the subject it seems like to me if this is true, then Home Invasions must be on the rise also!!!!????

    • David

      A few months ago, I had a vacant apartment that had to be ready by the next day- no problem, I'll go in there and stay until it is finished.

      Coming out of the apartment, around 3 am, I met up with the downstairs neighbour, sitting on the front step and having a beer, (he works shifts, gets home late).

      He asked me if I had seen all the police cars- just down the street, couple of hours ago?

      Nope. Turns out there had been an armed home invasion, further down the street. Over a dozen police cars, a video camera crew, police dog, etc.

      Later on that morning, I called the people who are responsible for that complex, and they confirmed that there had been an armed invasion, but few other details.

      Naturally, I figured that it would appear in the newspapers or on the tv news? Nope- it was never mentioned.

      My question: How many other incidents like this, don't get reported? How come?

      • ncvol

        Answer: A lot of incidents don't get reported. There was a heavy police presence in my neighborhood including at least 8 patrol cars within a block, helicopter, etc. NOTHING IN THE MEDIA, whatsoever. I asked a police acquaintance about it and was informed that an officer made a traffic stop in an attempt to serve a warrant, and was fired on as he approached the vehicle. Fortunately, the officer wasn't hit and both the driver and passenger were apprehended after a foot chase.

    • Mike

      I'm hearing more and more reports of home invasions, to the point that they are rather common-place. If you factor in what's not reported, it adds up to a lot to be concerned about. I carry both outside my home and in. If someone tries to break in or use more devious methods to get into my home, I want to be prepared and not a report on the 6:00 news or another unreported police event.

  • robert38-55

    Another thought that just occurred to me….. I don't have a CCW permit, been meaning to get one… I do have keychain pepper spray/mace, I think I will start carrying it again!!!!!

    • ofoster

      pepper spray only works on the weak a crackhead would use it as breath freshener. get a ccw and train

      • Shooting Siren

        I agree that most maces don't work, but as I work in a federal building, it is sometimes my only option. Try Cold Steel Inferno if you must use mace. It's a combination of Mace and Pepper Spray. It comes out like silly string for aiming, but turns to liquid on contact so they can't wipe it away.

        • bang

          Try a can of wasp spray; it can shoot 30', and burns like a mother.

  • Big Chief

    Does anyone say "Hey Buddy Ya Got A Dime" anymore? No cup of coffee or phone-call for ten cents anymore!

    Yes, it is very prudent to be constantly aware of your surroundings and what appears to be innocent may not be.

    I've seen a lot of bums at stop lights with signs saying "I'll Work For Food" usually at Interstate exit/entrance stop lights. One day I think I go through a Micky Ds drive through and toss them a sack of burgers from the dollar menu! Then tell them I need my tires rotated so follow me to that truck stop parking lot across the street and I'll get out the lug-wrench and jack! I doubt they would leave their high traffic bum spot to lift a finger.

    • Joe C

      Big Chief: In Charlotte one afternoon, I was approached and asked for money to "get something to eat". Cheapskate that I am, I was carrying food with me so I wouldn't have to eat out. I pulled a sandwich from my backpack and offered it to him. He got angry and left. If I'd had a bottle of Thunderbird, I guess he would have been happy!

  • jbp-ohio

    Another idea I am prepared for by carrying my Surefire Backup light, is to put a bright light in their eyes. Most of the time I'm in a big box store parking lot is at night.

    My wife and I usually take our walks late when it is cooler, and it is usually getting dark on our way home, so I always have the Surefire handy.

  • lilwoody

    This is very important, to keep distance between you and any stranger that approaches you being too friendly or forceful. This is exactly why I carry a Cold Steel, Safe Keeper push knife on my left side along with my Barette 96, Tomcat, or S&W mod 38 on my right. In very close contact drawing a firearm first may not be the best way to get distance between you and a attacker. A very sharp, double edged push knife is in my book the best close edged weapon that can be weilded to get the distance and distraction to draw a pistol. It's very hard to have taken away from you and could be used to get the seperaton necessary for flight or to use more deadly force with minimal chance of grappling over your firearm.

    • Shooting Siren

      Cold Steel fans are never unarmed! I had an Urban Pal, but gave it to a friend who needed it more (I have another EDC).

  • Dick

    "Keep on walking" is what I always say in answer to anything like this.

    So far it has always worked.

  • ScottieG59

    As a younger and fitter guy, I felt better up close when I was approached when I was unarmed. Today, the accumulation of years in the Army left my back a wreck and I have to be armed to have a chance. I just do not have the power and speed I once had. I will not be able to withdrawal or flee; I have to stand my ground. I have my concealed carry and do my best to be friendly and aware.

    In the past, I used to carry an extra wallet with a few bucks and some fake credit cards. I never needed it and to be frank, I would gladly give up all my cash to avoid having to use deadly force. It has always been about personal protection.

  • "TAC" Tact

    In Houston it's common for panhandlers to stand on street corners at stop-lights and panhandle from cars stopped at the light. It has led to "groups" of people, sometimes legit but often NOT, doing the same and to lessen the "threat" they hold hand-printed signs claiming they're asking for donations for one cause or another. I'm absolutely dumbfounded at the number of people who I see, willingly, rolling down their car windows and "exposing" themselves to these potential threats. Oftentimes these "panhandlers" then become aggressive when the "donation" isn't enough. When will people learn?

  • Joe Abrahams

    I lived in N.Y.C. many years and have the right attitude. When people approach one tries to keep you busy and the other gets a screwdriver near your kidneys. This could happen in any big city. Do not be polite. Tell the first guy who approaches, STAY BACK, or its hospital time. They seem to understand this and you are left alone. Keep your passenger door locked or you will have an uninvited rider.

  • John

    just say the soup kitchen is around the corner.

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  • elk hunter

    Has anybody noticed this happening lately?
    I've been at gas stations and while pumping gas into my car, I've had men and women ask me for-not spare change-but if I had an extra $5 dollars or an extra $10 dollars so they could buy some gas for their car. i always answer that I just got layed off from the factory and I had to borrow money to buy gas. They usually frown and turn around and ask somebody else pumping gas.And I have seen them actually hand over a 10 dollar bill!
    But the best one so far was this past summer I was coming out of the grocery store and had to park a distance away, a woman talking on her CELL PHONE and smoking a CIGARETTE comes up to me and asks if Ihave an extra 5 dollars. I said no. and she spotted somebody else coming to their car and made a bee line for them.

  • Shooting Siren

    Thank you for posting this information. It never ceases to amaze me how naive some people can be. I have friends who will let anyone get close enough to touch because they "don't know better." I'm trying to help them understand how dangerous life can be. I'm not paranoid, just prepared. This article really hits close to home because just Friday I was in the drive thru and some man started to approach my car. Not 15 minutes before that someone was asking me for change at Walgreens. Last night my husband and I stood in our kitchen so I could actually feel what it would be like to be grabbed by some random person. Men, your wives might think its stupid or silly to talk or act thru that situation, but I promise she will thank you for it if she ever needs it.

  • jeff

    Come on guys, some of this is silly talk. Sure you need to be aware these days, but no more than yesterday, or even a decade or two ago. Of course panhandling is different, but haven't ya'll ever needed to talk to a stranger before? Or are you all the "manly" men who would never ask for directions? Don't care what the unexpected street festival is for? Don't care where the best food is in a different neighborhood?

    I tell you one thing, if I asked one of you guys for directions and you started barking at me to stay back, you're not being safe, you're being a jerk. And if you pull a knife, you'll probably walk away with a few nice holes in your chest. Pull your CCW and you'll be going to jail, and losing your permit to boot.

    Stay aware, sure, but don't be jerks. And in many areas where you don't fit in, acting hyperaware comes across as scared, and scared invites the attack more than anything else. Say your car breaks down in one of the bad parts of my town, you take off on foot, clearly not fitting into the neighborhood. You will get approached by thugs asking you for the time, or directions or whatever. Not to rob you, but to see if you're a cop, or looking to score some drugs. You go acting scared and hyper sensitive to that guy, it will piss him off, and he will rob you. That guy doesn't care if he lives, he's pissed off, and you've now got a fight to the death on your hands when a different attitude might well have gotten you a plate of barbecue and bottle of beer while the neighborhood car thief fixes your car for $20.

    Being armed and aware should allow you to relax. I was raised to think that an armed populace is a friendly populace, but ya'll sound like children scared to death to talk to strangers because your momma told you they are bad guys…

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