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Staying safe begins with paying attention to one's intuition

All human beings have a built-in defensive tool they tend to ignore. When you walk down the street or enter a building, don’t overlook your intuition. “Predators sense when people are not paying attention,” said former police officer, crime broadcast journalist and author Doug M. Cummings. “Most predators are looking to see if heads are up.”

Doug Cummings talks to businessmen about personal safety
Sue Masaracchia-Roberts

“Like in any sport, there is a ready position” said Cummings, “a position where you are better able to respond to what an opponent is doing.” He added that sensory awareness is having a feeling about something not being quite right when it is still off on the horizon. He advised the audience to “look up – like you are looking for friends in the crowds. Focus on the people around you and keep your alert level up. You need to operate with a 360 degree mindset.”

He describes this mindset as establishing an awareness everything around you, recording it in your head. For example, registering how many people are behind a counter in a store, checking exit locations, and thinking about what could happen as well as what you would do.

“Train your head to stay in the moment,” said Cummings, “to keep yourself safe but not paranoid. It’s like defensive driving. Always look for ways to beat traffic and leave yourself an out. It’s the same idea.”

As an example, he explains that he always keeps his coat near him when he is out and never leaves anything in his pockets -- although he keeps his keys at hand, which allows them to serve as a potential weapon if necessary.

He seemed displeased with the newly established conceal carry law in Illinois, saying, “The moment you talk about weapons, you are talking about the end of the road. You miss the warning signs. Defense always starts the moment you walk out the door.”

Cummings tweets @dougcummings3. His novels -- Easy Evil, Every Secret Crime and DEADER BY THE LAKE: A Reno McCarthy Thriller -- can be found on Amazon at

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