Tag Archives: Surveillance

Analyzing a video

Another facebook post/comment tuned blog post, I thought many might benefit from this.

This is in a context of analyzing a video that shows some sort of violence, to study the incident and then later modify our training to adapt to similar situations. This also helps you perceive violence differently than others and your previous self.

When I analyze these videos, I first prefer to know the full story or at least as much as possible about the incident that took place because any analysis without the full story will be filled with my own biases and experiences which will affect the outcome of the analysis.

After I’ve known the story, I usually have the data, the blanks that are filled in the categories of;
1- What instigated the incident?
2- What happened before the actual incident?
3- Who was involved?
4- Why did it escalate to this point?
5- What was the location?
6- What time? (This is often not mentioned though)
7- Which country did it take place in? (Cultural aspect)
8- Ages of the individuals.
9- Backgrounds of the involved (It’s not always full, but enough to make a ballpark estimation).
10- What kind of violence was it?
11- What means were used to accomplish the job?
12- What were the legal and other repercussions of this for both?

After I’ve got the above data, I then look at the incident itself, first from the assailant’s perspective;
1- Pre-contact cues.
2- Verbal cues (If audio is available).
3- Means of violence utilized.
4- Levels of violence utilized
5- Body language of the assailant.

Then I see it from the victim’s perspective;
1- What were they paying attention to before the assault?
2- How long did it take for them to spot the threat?
3- What was their reaction?
4- How quick and efficiently did they react?
5- What were the external factors that would/did hinder them?

Then I finally look for the bystander’s reactions.
1- When did they arrive at the scene?
2- What did they see?
3- How did they react?
4- Did anyone help?
5- What did they say after?

Finally, I put it altogether in my notes and add the previously received full incident data and see where I would fit, what I would be capable of doing and whether it would work for me. Of course, I do this from both perspectives, strange I know, but I first see if I would be successful if I were the predator, then if I were the survivor/victim. Then I add in some additional external factors, remove some factors that don’t pertain to my situation depending on my own location and I come up with possible solutions to these kinds of problems.

Luckily, since I’ve adopted this approach, I’ve been able to, on a certain level, know and avoid certain violence prone areas, so, now I don’t have to use it a lot. Which I think might affect my training, because there is no more testing to what I do. A cruel paradox.

This was specific to me analyzing videos of violence. The principle of getting the core information first then, looking at the presented information, can be utilized for analysis of any video or anything that you analyze and study.

That’s it. Thanks for reading.

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Psychopaths and Sociopaths

A thought I’d like to share, it’s a little description of psychopaths and sociopaths and what their basic MO is like, I’ll keep this article brief.

So, to begin, Psychopaths use more of a direct approach by using emotional mimicry and give a false sense of security to their victims, gaining their trust and luring them in, this can be over a long period of time or just minutes, even seconds, depending on their motives, the kind of individual the victim is and the environment they’re in. They’re extremely good at detecting emotional vulnerability and are exceptional at mimicking the emotions of an average individual, even mirroring them perfectly to build rapport with their victims on an emotional and psychological level to get in their psyche and make them get their guard down, via distraction or manipulating the situation in their favor. The victim generally doesn’t detect a psychopath until the damage has been done, but signs can be identified in the interview process of threat identification. Psychopaths, in majority of cases, are asocial predators.

Sociopaths on the other hand, are quite different in their approach, they tend to take an indirect approach by using pseudo charms. cleverly used linguistic cues and micro gestures to influence the thoughts and behavior of their victims towards the direction that would help fulfill their agenda, they are unempathetic to their victims just as psychopaths are and they always look for any psychological vulnerabilities or insecurities in you that they can exploit, once found, they will use them to make you doubt yourself, make you question your self-worth, create weakness and make you lose your sense of self-confidence, self-esteem and will control your actions through their words. The victim of a sociopath, unlike a psychopath’s victim, usually doesn’t realize that they’re victims, even when showed evidence of it, due to them becoming completely dependent on their predator, sociopaths are exceptional liars and manipulators, they use others to do their work and are even protected by those they manipulate, they avoid physical violence themselves, but let others commit violent acts on their behalf. It’s quite hard to spot a sociopath, since they blend in really well, but if you do manage to identify them by detecting anomalies in their behavioral patterns, you can avoid being a victim and their words, like magic, won’t affect you, once the trick is revealed. Sociopaths, in many cases, are social predators.

Both have their M.O, but their end goal is the same, exploitation of their victim’s weaknesses to get what they want from them, whether it’s money, control, promotion, sex or life.

 

There’s much more detail to it, but these are their fundamental traits to look out for. Hope you found it useful, there’s another article I wrote, related to this topic on how a predator’s mindset works, check it out HERE. If you want to know how to lose a stalker, check out my article on How To Lose Tail. Thanks for reading.

Losing Tail Part – 2

Now continuing from Part-1, I’ll focus on the counter-measures to escape stalkers and certain surveillances as well (similar principles apply).

First, you gotta remember, your stalker is already a step ahead of you, since they know about you. But you on the other hand, have yet to identify them. So you can’t afford to fall behind in this chase or you’ll lose before you can take action.

What do I mean by “fall behind”? Well, for one, be observant (More on Observation below) rather than living in your own world where everyone ceases to exist besides your phone and pokemon apps. That’s a good place to start.

So! Let’s begin with the list now, mmkay?

 

Observation

Like I said, being observant of not only your surroundings but also the people in your surroundings is the first step in losing someone who is following you, without this you‘re never gonna know anything about anyone who‘s watching you, effectively making you lose the battle before it begins. Keep your eyes and ears open and your mind clear, keep calm, not paranoid, learn to notice the little details in your environment, study the normal behavior of people around you, so you can pick up the abnormal behavior with relative ease.

 

Identification

If you’re observant in your day-to-day life, you will be able to pick off odd behaviors from people. Why? It’s simple, while you have been observing people, your brain has been doing more than just observing them, it has been studying the behavioral patterns of average individuals who walk past you everyday. It has been picking up on subtle and obvious behaviors and physical cues that people who go about their businesses normally have. Your brain is familiar with how an individual acts when they’re not a threat. So, if you do come across a stalker, their behavioral pattern will stand out to you as odd and unnatural, which would make you aware of the presence of a possible threat. Now, another thing, whenever you want to turn around to look at your stalker, don’t. There have been many who recommend using a reflective surface to view the stalker, yes, that’s old school stuff, works many times, I don’t question it, but the thing is, we live in 2016, almost everyone have smart phones with HD cams on them, even on the front for “selfies” and stuff, so use ‘em, yeah? That way, you won’t have to try and find a (barely) reflective surface to try and find a stalker who’s probably really good at hiding and look even more unnatural than the stalker following you. But since everyone has their heads in their phones, you being one of them would look much more natural, just turn on the camera, turn it towards you, get it to your face level and look and/or take a picture to confirm the identity of the stalker and to show to the police later. Some also tell you to sit down and look at people, well, yeah, that can work, but again, it depends on the kind of stalker you’re dealing with. In certain cases, you’d just be giving the stalker the opportunity to close the distance between them and you, I mean you don’t know why they’re after you, do you now. You don’t want to leave anything to chance during the identification process (or any other process really). So, keep moving. Now in this day and age, there are CCTV cameras everywhere, well, use them, try walking past a camera or two to catch the stalker’s face, if they’re not wearing something that covers it or in some cases, they’re smart enough to not walk past it, but take another route. Anyway, it’s worth a shot, so you can tell the police about it and they can get to the location of the camera that captured the stalker in action and identify the perp for an arrest. Nothings off the table, especially if the situation demands it. Just assess the situation first and then act accordingly. Which requires a lot of psychological training and experience helps as well. Remember, doing it and reading about it are two very different things. Moving on…

 

Distraction

Next, after you have identified the threat, you have to formulate a strategy to lose the stalker. How do you lose them? Well, you make them take their focus off of you or at least make them focus on something else for a while. How do you do that? That depends on the situation you’re in at the time. Improvisational skills come in handy during this process. For example, if you see a police officer, walk up to them and ask for directions, but make sure the stalker isn’t within the hearing range of you, that way, all they’ll see is you talking to a police officer. Which will slow them down, create doubt in their minds about why you would spontaneously talk to an officer. Of course, you can just report the stalker by pointing directly at them and be like…“He did it!!! He’s the stalker!!!” But here’s the (sort of) down side to that. Doing that, would most likely alert the stalker, making them flee, if they‘re at a distance from you and the officer, they‘ll most likely escape successfully. Sure, you will be temporarily free, but they will be more prepared next time, and if the stalker is persistent, you can be sure, they‘ll be more careful so as to not be spotted and more alert of your “moves“ and observational capabilities. Once they know that you know, the element of surprise is not in your favor now. Next…

 

Confusion

Confusion is a part of distraction, the distraction should be enough of an attention grabber that it confuses the stalker. After their focus has been taken off you, putting it back on you would be hard especially if you’ve already started moving. You could either lose them in the crowd or at a corner or in a building or at a shop in a shopping mall, you can lose virtually anyone by cleverly timing it and using objects or people that block the stalker‘s view of their target (you).

 

Opportunity

The confusion is the part where your opportunity is created for you to escape. Before initiating your distraction and creating confusion for the stalker, you need to have an exit strategy prepared. A low profile, but effective exit strategy. Don’t start looking for an exit after the distraction and/or during the confusion or it will just backfire and chances are, you won’t be able escape, instead will return to the previous situation with the stalker still on you. This time they’ll be much more careful not to lose you, especially considering the fact that they almost did and now they know that you’re someone who knows about them, who knows what they’re doing and someone who cannot be underestimated. Remember, if you lose the element of surprise the first time, there usually is no second chance. Lightning doesn’t strike twice in one place, at least not always.

 

Action

Finally comes the action, now by action I don’t mean find the guy and stalk him back then “kick his ass” for stalking you. You’re not Jason Bourne for heaven’s sake! Nope. So stop trying to be. ‘Action’ is you getting home, calling the police, reporting the stalker, identify the stalker if you can, or at least give a rough description. Or you can also get to a police station directly, to report the stalker in person. Then get home immediately, possibly after checking that you’re not still being followed (yes, there have been cases where the victims were followed by the stalker from a police station, even after they were reported, some are that persistent/daring/stupid/desperate). Then take a taxi or other similar service like Uber or Ola (if you‘re in my country here) rather than a bus or train, wait for the car in the police station until it arrives or stay hidden in a public place (if you didn‘t go to the police station first).
If you’re in doubt of still being followed, (Remember I said doubt, not paranoid) then make sure you ask the driver to drive around your area for a minute or two, see if someone’s following your driving pattern before you get to your destination (house or office). Oh and please, don’t try and confront the stalker like, “Leave me alone you BASTARD!!! I’M NOT SCARED OF YOU!!!” No. Absolutely not. That’s a biiig NO! That’ll be you giving away the fact that you know about their existence. Remember, they shouldn’t know that you know about them till they’re caught or they‘ll escape or become more dangerous and aggressively make their move on you, their target.
Another thing, never try to lure them into a secluded place for what you think would be an “ambush”, even if you have called the police or your friend or someone, things can go real wrong real fast in a matter of seconds. Remember, you’re not Jason Bourne and THIS IS NOT A MOVIE. They might have accomplices, they may have set up an ambush for you instead. They could have weapons or toxic/acidic chemicals. They may want to kidnap you and take you to a second location, which would be an easy thing to do in a secluded place.
Try remaining in a public place where it’s not too crowded and not too secluded, you should see them coming and so should the individuals around you, if the stalker intends to stab you subtly, then over-crowded places with people distracted or excited or focused on something else, places like over-crowded clubs with low lighting, for example, could work to the stalker’s advantage, not yours. But places like a fairly crowded public park or a fairly crowded street in broad daylight could work in your favor of losing them or creating a distraction and confusion, for you to escape.

 

Final Thoughts

You can practice the above process in your daily life, especially the observational part. It helps a lot if you notice the little things around you. Plus, it’s good for the development of your cognitive abilities.
You see, the thing about stalking is often it’s more psychologically damaging than physically. It happens more commonly than most think. Sometimes, it’s subtle, sometimes, it’s painfully obvious. Whether it’s done officially or illegally, stalking/surveillance, if done enough, it can torment the target more than any other kind of physical torture.
Certain stalking methods can be excruciatingly painful for the target. Especially because they can’t report it, as either there is no physical evidence of it happening or all evidence, if any, is circumstantial. So, stalking is not a matter to be taken as a low-threat act. It’s actually one of the more effective ways to break, scare and manipulate a potential target. Training to avoid being a victim of stalking requires more psychological training than anything else. Train your mind to be strong and resilient and you won’t break down under pressure nor will you have to use your fists, you will come out on top, because you will learn to go toe-to-toe with your tormentor, that is, if you can’t stay ahead of them.

 

So, Finally! That’s it, this is the end of the ‘Losing Tail’ articles.

I hope you found the information useful. I tried my best to get the info packed in both of them. Any additional comments are welcome… and, as usual, Thanks for reading!

Losing Tail (Part – 1)

I was watching a video about stalkers today. You know, as we all do everyday and I remembered I wrote an article about the predator mindset, behavior etc. So I was just contemplating some things about stalkers and how they behave and what goes through their minds, etc. While doing that I would come up with some counter measures to escape a stalker. Actually there are different kinds of stalking and tailing, it could be a PI tailing the target or the target is under surveillance for some reason, or a bounty hunter is sent after the target, etc. etc. It can be on foot or in vehicle/s.

In this article, I’m just gonna write about counter-measures for a “generic” stalker rather than a PI or Bounty Hunter, etc. Why? Because I don’t want to give any ideas to potential criminals to escape, that’s why. I prefer helping the non-criminals understand these things.
So! Firstly, here’s what you need to know how the professional surveillance individuals prep to tail their subjects and some of their methods (not in too much detail of course, just some basics). Now, A guy obsessed with a woman or a woman obsessed with a guy are different kind of stalkers, they usually make their presence known and mostly don‘t care if their victims know about them, in fact some purposely want to be known.

That’s unlike a professional tail who will be a ghost, a gray man, they will never make themselves known, no identifying features on any part of the body, normal clothing, no identifying jewelry (rings, etc), common haircuts, no facial hair or common facial hair, no scars or unique behavior that would stand out, no excessive muscles, average height, etc. Nothing to draw attention to themselves from anyone which includes their targets. They are the most plain and average looking individuals you’ll ever see or not see. They blend in perfectly just about anywhere.

So here’s the thing, since I’ve started this, I’ll make this post a kind of two-in-one article from both perspectives, or more like a two part actually;
– Surveillance (Which is a sophisticated term for stalking)
– Counter-Surveillance (Which is a sophisticated term for identifying and escaping or catching a stalker or becoming a stalker of the stalker and then catching the stalker).

A civilian version of the topic, if you will.

So, in case if anyone asks, Why aren’t you merging the two? Well, that’s simple, it’s because I don’t want to and because I‘m not too lazy to write two different articles. So…yeah, don‘t sue me, I‘m poor 😦

Now bad jokes aside, let’s begin, shall we?

First let’s start with the different method types for surveillance.

There are different types of surveillance, and some of them are as follows;

  • The type where there are teams who are posted in different zones, as the subject moves from zone to zone, the teams get activated and they report the target’s activity in their zones. It’s very hard to detect, even for someone with training.
  • The type where the teams get rotated everyday. The individuals stalking you today, won’t be there tomorrow. Which makes it harder for the target to identify the stalker/s or even know about their existence.
  • The type where they monitor your net, phone, credit/debit card and banking activities a.k.a. Cyber Stalking.
  • The type where they are just vetting the target for kidnapping or something. It includes keeping a tab on the target’s routine of their daily activities, I.e. the time they leave the house, the time they get back, the routes they use, the time they walk the dog, etc. It can be and usually is done from a distance.
  • The type where they keep a very close and constant watch on the target, including planting microphones in the target’s house.

There are a few more, but right now I can only remember these.

However, the two main categories are;

  1. Stationary surveillance (stakeout) where operative/s stay in one place to monitor the target.
  2. Mobile surveillance (tailing or shadowing) where operative/s or teams move with the target/s (foot or vehicle/s).

 

Here’s a mini/condensed list of preparations that are made by surveillance operatives;

  1. Gathering intel about the target.
  2. Getting to know the routine.
  3. Getting to know their target’s contacts, friends and acquaintances.
  4. Noting down the details of the target’s car/bike – plates, make, model, color, etc.
  5. Locating entrances, exits and vantage points to gain further advantage.
  6. Recon – Getting to know the neighborhood structures they’re gonna be operating in.
  7. Knowing the environment and people so they know how to blend in and not raise suspicion.
  8. Plan routes based on the traveling intel of the target (if they’re going for a mobile surveillance).
  9. If they carry a weapon, they make sure that bulges don’t show. That might attract an unwanted third-party attention.
  10. They’re gray men, they do not attract any attention.

 

A mini list of things that are used/done;

  1. Clothes appropriate for where they’re gonna be, to blend in with the environment and with the people in it.
  2. Surveillance equipment (depends on who they’re tailing, the purpose and the kind of surveillance it is).
  3. A reliable car, that’s not too new and attention grabbing or so old and beat up that they earn the suspicions of the individuals in the neighborhood. They fill it up properly so as to not run out of gas while tailing (if conducting mobile surveillance).
  4. They usually will have a cover story ready in case someone questions their intentions for being in the area. They avoid being truthful even if they’re legally doing so, because that may alert their target, effectively wrecking their operation.

 

So you got an idea about how pro surveillance works? Good. Now, an average stalker just about never is that careful or goes through that much trouble to stalk their target. Depends on their reason for stalking though, but still, they’re usually amateurs who can get easily caught and even scared off in many cases. An average stalker is light years behind a pro, so they’re usually easily identified.

 

Notice:

  • Surveillance is illegal, at least for civilians. So unless and until it’s your job and are licensed and paid to do so, officially, don’t do it. Remember the definition I wrote above? Yeah. It’s stalking. Regardless of the ‘term’ used.
  • There’s much more to surveillance than I mentioned above, but I don’t wanna include a lot of it here, because as I wrote earlier, I don’t wanna give any ideas to the wrong kind of people. Internet has already a lot of dangerous stuff to offer, I don’t think I’d like to contribute to that. I just wrote these things, to show you things from the perspective from a ‘pro stalker‘. An “advanced” stalker. Think of it this way, if you can identify a professional, you will be able to identify an amateur, an obvious stalker with relative ease. Which would give you an upper hand and more options to deal with them. So, win-win. Make sense? Good.

 

Anyway, if this doesn’t interest you, then you can directly move on to Part – 2.