by Doug Davis Founder / President Numismatic Crime Information Center and Bryan Davis / Forensic Investigator Numismatic Crime Information Center
January 15, 2015 – Numismatic crime continues to escalate and the chance of a dealer or collector becoming a victim is very real in today’s society. It is important to realize that not everyone is a law abiding citizen. There are individuals and organized groups who have no regard for your life, your family’s life or your possessions. In most cases you are nothing more than an inconvenient obstacle to obtaining what they want.
In nature predators, seek out easy targets – the weak and the sick ones. Similar to the animal kingdom, human predators also seek out targets of opportunity especially those who are unaware and oblivious to what is going on around them. For this reason it is necessary for dealers and collectors to develop a ‘Tactical Mindset’ to reduce the chances of becoming a numismatic crime victim.
All of us at the end of the day want to just go home, relax and tend to our own business, and not be bothered by anyone. Unfortunately there is always a small element that preys on others for personal gain and will rob, steal or even kill to achieve that goal. It is imperative for collectors and dealers to take on a state of mind that can help you stay alert to potential threats at all times and be able to intelligently react should you be faced with one.
A tactical mindset is constantly being aware of your surroundings, eliminating tunnel vision, complacency and always being alert to any potential danger at any time of the day. Developing a tactical mindset means you train and practice certain tactics that will ensure survival for you and your loved ones in a dangerous situation. In everyday society, the ‘tactical arena’ in which we live, work and play, is dynamic and changes with varying levels of complexity. The intentions and behavior of other people we come into contact with are not easily predictable. Therefore it requires individuals to learn how to read body language, listen to verbal cues and understand sensory perceived motives and intentions which allows a person to anticipate or overcome a potential threat within his/her immediate environment.
The major mistake of any dealer or collector is to think that he or she will never be a crime victim. In many cases the dealer or collector who becomes complacent becomes the target of a numismatic predator. Do you know who is around you when withdrawing money from an ATM machine? Do you look for suspicious vehicles following you after leaving your residence or business? Do you allow persons to get into your personal space? Do you text while walking? Do you walk down the street in a confident purposeful manner that portrays a force of presence which says ‘I am not a victim’? Being alert and non-complacent allows an individual to identify or anticipate an incident before it happens and provides an opportunity to act in a swift manner and ensure survival in a dangerous situation.
Having a tactical mindset is not leaving your vehicle unattended after a numismatic event. It is not immediately getting out of your vehicle when parking in open lots or garages without looking at your surroundings and identifying any suspicious persons or activities in the area. It is varying your daily routine and travel routes. It is not talking on a cell phone while walking down the street or getting into your vehicle. It is keeping your numismatic valuables in site while traveling at all times. It is remembering to set all alarms and lock all doors. It is sitting with your back to the wall when eating at a restaurant. It is knowing where exits signs are in buildings. It is scanning your surroundings at all times. This is what is meant by having a tactical mindset.
Personal safety countermeasures require thought and action. Always have a plan in mind, wherever you go. Visualize dangerous situations you might find yourself in and visualize your responses to those situations. Practice situational awareness and avoidance; know your escape routes; maintain physical boundaries and use verbal diffusion when appropriate. Your mindset, your attitude, and your tactics are crucial elements in stopping an attack. By staying situationally aware you remove the element of surprise from an enemy or the unknown.
The collector or dealer who develops and practices a tactical mindset is one step ahead of a numismatic predator. It is not living in fear but being prepared for the unthinkable as though it were the inevitable. Maintaining a state of heightened awareness eliminates complacency and reduces your chances of becoming a numismatic crime victim. A tactical mindset means being prepared and knowing you can protect yourself. Think safety, security and survival in all aspects of your life. Remember, if you feel something is unusual, out of the ordinary and just doesn’t feel right, go with your intuition. Your development of a tactical mindset means ‘you refuse to be a victim’.
The Numismatic Crime Information Center encourages dealers and collectors to sign-up for free e-mail crime alerts. The crime alerts provide current information on crimes targeting the numismatic community.
This text was first published in the NCIC newsletter of 3 December 2014. We re-publish it courtesy of the authors.