BOOK REVIEW: ‘Avoid Prepare Defend’ armed with common sense strategies

Ulrich Faircloth’s Avoid Prepare Defend: 25 Essential Tips on How to Stay Safe From Crime (Self Defense Bros.) is, you might say, profound in its simplicity. He states the obvious and cites common sense, smart ideas when it comes the subject of personal safety. After all, in the matter of preserving life and limb, what’s handier than realizing what you already know?

For instance, how many of us go around complacent in the concept that crime is something read about in the paper, heard about on the radio, seen on television, claiming literally millions of people all the time but is something that happens to someone else?

First things first, Avoid Prepare Defend states, imagined immunity, in truth a form of denial, has to go. If it can happen to the next person, you’re not so special that it can’t happen to you. Realizing that goes a long way towards making sure it doesn’t.

Faithcloth strongly and quite sensibly underscores the importance of being aware of one’s surroundings. You do, after all, want to be mindful of what sort of neighborhood you may be walking through in just about any urban city.

You can find yourself, before you know it, having blithely walked through harmless surroundings, suddenly into a patch of bad terrain amid folk who may be on the lookout for those unaware. If they see you lost in thought listening to earphones, you are toast.

Anyone can slip in front of you, grab everything you have and be gone while you’re still wondering what happened. This can happen in broad daylight, but the odds of getting mugged, especially if you stroll around clueless to predators, increases at night.

What Faircloth calls “Personal Safety Tip #6” makes all the sense in the world, yet escapes so many of us. Drinking in public potentially does most of the bad guys’ work for them — particularity drinking to excess.  “Alcohol,” he notes, “is one of the greatest threats to personal safety, especially for young women in college. They tend to be the most vulnerable due to the college party environment and tendency [toward] a relatively carefree lifestyle. Being inebriated [suppresses sound judgment] and the ability to see warning signs.

It also significantly [impairs] your ability to fight back. There’s a reason news headlines about dormitory rape include an account of the victim overindulging or being slipped a drug in her drink.  Opportunistic sexual assault isn’t nearly as easy against a woman wide awake, fully possessing all faculties. In fact, she’s liable not to let herself get lured into such a situation, will see it coming and head the other way fast as feet can carry her.

Avoid Prepare Defend states, “Preparing for crime is essential. If you [can’t] avoid or prevent it, [prepare] to address it. That means a structured exit plan for escape” entailing active self-defense.

By that token, the author doesn’t advise or advocate vigilantism, taking the law in your hands. Faircloth cautions, “Always trusting your inner instincts or gut feeling and being aware of reaction time when engaging an assailant. An ounce of prevention…is worth a pound of regret.” There’s more, but those are the first essentials.

The message here is primarily directed to women. But be advised, the reality is men get mugged, too. Bottom line, it’s about walking out your door and getting back in one piece.


Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403. 


Go to purchase a copy of Avoid Prepare Defend: 25 Essential Tips on How to Stay Safe From Crime.