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Learn to THINK like a bodyguard.

Just as a professional bodyguard ensures they fully understand the risks and threats faced by their client in order to protect them against a threat, so we as civilians need to begin by acknowledging the elevated risk we face living in South Africa, given our crime rate. We need to understand the nature of the risk and equip ourselves accordingly. Thinking or hoping that "it will never happen to me" is not helpful in increasing your chances of survival in terms of a violent encounter.

For a bodyguard, intelligence is the foundation, the cornerstone of protection. Without essential information the bodyguard is ill-prepared to counter any threat. In civilian terms, take a moment to consider the industry in which you work and potential risks, the environment in which you live, the nature, frequency, routes and times of travel, the school your child attends and the lift schedule, the sports activities you or your family participate in. Consider the layout of your home and driveway. Remember that criminals often hide in plain sight. The more aspects you take into consideration, the higher the level of protection that you can provide for yourself and your family.

Become a hard target - situationally aware, ready to fight back, ready to cause damage to an attacker. Be proactive in terms of your security measures. Think in terms of attack and counter-attack so that you can develop a tactical mindset that cannot only predict an attack, but that can also provide the counter-measures. Ask yourself:

* How would I attack if I were the criminal? * Where would be the best place to attack? *What time of day would I or my family be most vulnerable? and then consider how you would best defend or set up strong security measures.

Make an effort to learn self-defence, first aid and become proficient with a firearm, even if you choose not to carry one.

Trust your gut. If you are unhappy about a situation, you are probably right. In that case, be mentally flexible and ready to change your plans in an instant. You may have heard the military slogan "Adapt and overcome." Adapting to a situation with speed can increase your chance of survival. Always have an escape route.

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