Friday, February 27, 2015

Who's Watching You?: Paying Attention and Sureillance

When I was a young Boy Scout I liked playing certain games. Basketball, capture the flag, and Kim’s game. I love Boy Scouting. I loved it as a boy and love it as an adult leader. I’ve been involved with Scouting in one capacity or another since 1972. I’ve learned so much from it. I love the tradition and history behind this great movement. You may recognize the first 2 games I mentioned, but maybe not the 3rd. Kim’s game.
This game was taken by Baden Powell (the founder of the Boy Scout movement) from Rudyard Kipling's book for boy's "Kim". This is the story of the orphan son of an Irish soldier in India who grew up among the native boys and was later trained for government intelligence work. The training began by showing Kim a tray of precious stones and gems for a minute's observation, then covering it, and asking Kim how many stones and what kind they were.
At first Kim could remember only a few, but soon, by practice, he was able not only to say exactly how many, but to describe the stones. Then he practiced with other articles, and ultimately was able to glance to see all sorts of details of items that were of value in tracing and dealing with criminals.
In its commonly used form, 24 articles of different kinds -- a key, a pocket knife, a CD, a coin, a marble, a comb etc. -- are placed on a table and covered with a cloth. The player steps up to the table, the cloth is removed for exactly one minute; the player looks, endeavoring to remember as many as possible, and the player writes down as many as they can remember.
As with Kim, the purpose of this is to develop the faculty for observation and memory.
If you’re like me you are probably the one that sits in the “gunfighter” seat at a restaurant. (Back to the wall, near an exit, good view of the front door.) Your family probably doesn’t do this as often as you would like. I try to emphasize safety and security and I am often met with lots of eye-rolling. I don’t really have a problem with that, but if you experience certain things, you tend to be more cautious. I’ve had training and experiences that drive me to be careful.
This why I play Kim’s game with them once in a while. This helps them to develop and keep a sense of awareness and observation. In other words, situational awareness.

All abductions and home invasions occur after criminals conduct some sort of surveillance. You need to be aware that someone is watching you or your family and home.

Types of Surveillance
Static observer
Static in vehicle
Mobile in vehicle
Covert – as located in a building

Knowing What To Look For
Vehicle(s): Is it strategically placed, is it out of character for the neighborhood?
Mobile: Are you being followed from set points by regular vehicles or regular occupants?
Frequency: How often have you seen the same vehicle / occupants / individual?

Surveillance Indicators
Regularity – Are they (or the vehicle) there regularly and in recent past?
Recurrence – Are the same person(s) being seen repeatedly? Either on foot, static or in differing /same vehicles?
Body Language – Does the body language raise your awareness?
Role – Is the role they are acting out (workmen / painters etc) match the scene?
Location / Area – Have they selected a choke point / narrow route point to ensure good observation?

Designing a surveillance detection route is nothing more than taking a direction home or to work or school that will help to determine if you are being watched or followed. Normally you won’t be dealing with a trained “team”, but maybe 2 criminals who are not trained in surveillance. You can use this little bit of training to your advantage to detect even the best trained surveillance team. This training is explained in military language so interpret into civilian language.

Surveillance Detection
Time - Surveillance is detected over time. Driving 50 mph for 10 miles on a straight road does not allow the participant to detect surveillance.
Environment - In order to “draw” out a surveillance team. The “Target” must change environments; shopping, industrial, recreational, residential, etc. A change in environment must be logical, create a reason for changing areas.
Distance - The key of using distance in conjunction with time is multiple sightings over time and
distance. The distance can vary and may be driven by time available for planning and the area of operation.
Direction - Changes in direction will force the surveillance to commit and does not allow them to anticipate your route. Remember, the surveillance team will usually know the area better than you.
Route Planning - When designing the route, remember it must be believable, it should flow. The surveillance team will believe that you are doing errands or doing area familiarization. When designing travel routes, motorcade routes - the team must consider using multiple routes and plans to avoid setting a predictable routine.
Choke points – These may be used to draw out surveillance when confirming status. Caution - the use of a choke point is risky. Bridges, tunnels, one way streets are avenues that allow you to channel.
Surveillance and confirm your status.- Choke points should be avoided when you have
confirmed your status as free of surveillance.
Reverses - Natural areas or actions along the route that allows a face to face with the surveillance.
U-turns - are an excellent choice of a reverse. The U-turn could be in location where the local traffic
permits turns and in areas where the route logically dictates a reverse
Probes - Routes used to find surveillance. If intelligence or past sightings indicate possible surveillance in an area, probe (Surveillance Detection Routes (SDR’s) can be used to ‘flush” out the surveillance.
The Route - An effective SDR will have a start point, timed segments, stops and an end point. The route should not follow a general direction, i.e. north or south. A route will change directions at logical turns.
Stops - Stops should be logical, credible and vary in duration. Well thought out stops will force the surveillance to react and provides an opportunity to gather information about the team. Descriptions of team members, vehicles, license plates, etc
Turns - Non-alerting turns must be incorporated into the route in order to force the surveillance to react. The turns must be logical - continue to tell the story. When incorporating turns, think about right hand turns. Right hand turns will allow you to get a look at vehicles behind you and not be alerting.

Using these ideas will keep you more safe and secure. There is always something to be said for situational awareness and taking note of what is going on around you.

Semper Paratus
Check 6