Situational Awareness is our front line to Personal Safety and Security

The term “360 World” is used to remind us of an element of awareness of our surroundings that most of us either tend to forget or in many cases have never thought about.

Our world is not linear. It does not just go on in front of, to the sides of and behind us. It is spherical and as the military reminds its troops to look “Up down and all around” we should too!


When convenient, criminals often prefer to do their surveillance from the high ground, also known as the “surveillance perch” not unlike a bird of prey. Natural field of vision above our heads is very restricted, requiring us to make a conscious effort to tilt our heads back to open this area of vision.

Criminals know that most of us never make this effort. This makes it easier for them to remain undetected while doing surveillance to identify an easy target.

Example- Looking Up:

A woman walking through a mall cognizant of her “360 world” takes a moment to visually scan the upper balconies. She sees someone, whose body language does not sit well with her, gazing down upon her. Having identified this potential threat, she will be sure to keep an eye out for that individual during her shopping day and she will be very cognizant of isolated areas, perhaps asking a security guard to walk her to her vehicle in the underground garage or dark parking lot when it is time to leave. The person who remained “heads down” during his or her shopping day might only see this person for the first time when it is too late to do anything about it!

Example- Looking Down:

Consider how frequently criminals have hidden at the bottom of a sunken stairwell on a city street only to emerge and rob or attack an unsuspecting person as they walk by because the victim has failed to scan downwards. Low light conditions and poorly lit sunken stairwells make the criminals job even easier. If you see a counter sunken stairwell ahead, its dark and perhaps a street light nearby is out, give it a wider berth. If you get a “bad vibe” about this situation, simply cross the street or go back. Always obey your instincts.


As you move through your environment, ask yourself where you might do surveillance from if you were looking to victimize yourself! Ask yourself where you think you would be least likely to be spotted. This will often be a convenient a perch above you and sometimes from a difficult to see area below.

Remembering to look “Up down and all around” makes you more difficult to surprise and enhances your personal safety and security.

Situational Awareness:

Am I being followed: What is the Rule of Three? (65 second video)

Related: Vehicle-Ramming Attacks: 3 Things to Consider.