5 Phases of Violent Crime

Watch closely for these signs

Most violent crime takes place in stages. These 5 phases of violent crime is a process which evolves from just a thought, to the actual action. Real self-defense starts with trying to avoid a physical situation to begin with. Knowing this process will help to reduce your odds of being victimized by a violent criminal.

Marc MacYoung developed an internationally known system utilized by military, police, self-defense and firearms instructors, etc. The purpose of this system is to acknowledge the phases that occurs even before the attack takes place.

Using situational awareness is most effective for phases 1-3 and can help you to avoid trouble that’s coming your way. Altogether, there are 5 phases of violent crime.

Phase 1 – The Intent

The criminal is physically and mentally ready to cause harm. It’s important to be able to recognize potential psychological and verbal “clues” as your awareness should be sounding the alarms that something is not right.

Phase 2 – The Interview

This is one interview you do not want to pass. During this stage of the process, the criminal is trying to get a sense of whether you are a good target through verbal interactions. He’s getting a feel for whether you are too trusting or fearful. For instance, if he asks you where the nearest Starbucks is located, how do you react? He will know from your action and your body language whether or not you will be a target that doesn’t put up much resistance. By understanding the interview phase, your awareness training should be kicking into gear and alerting you of the potential danger lurking.

Phase 3 – The Positioning

The criminal recognizes his opportunity and is ready to act on it. There is no crime without opportunity. He is now getting himself into a position where he can attack effectively and quickly. Are you alone? Are you aware of your surroundings? Do you have a way to reach help? Do you have a way to escape? Are you able to get others attention if something happens? These are very important questions to think about when you’re training your mind to be aware.

The actual violence occurs in the next two phases of violent crime. However, they only happen because the criminal was successful with the first three stages. If he’s not able to set you up to begin with then the attack most likely will never take place.

Phase 4 – The Attack

You have been determined to be the ideal target and the attack begins. Your objective in any attack is survival and escape by utilizing  whatever verbal or physical self-defense tools you may have at the time.

Phase 5- The Reaction

This is the most dangerous phase of all. This phase is all about how the criminal feels about what he’s done as well as how he feels about your reaction. This is where a simple assault will escalate to a rape which then escalates to a murder.

Good self-defense training will provide you with the necessary tools that increase response options and will reduce the chances of a violent criminal viewing you as an easy target. Not being in the situation to begin with will always be the best defense plan.

Have you or someone you know been a victim of violence?



6 thoughts on “5 Phases of Violent Crime

  1. Very interesting. I’m particularly intrigued by ‘The Interview’ portion. I never thought of it in this way before but it makes complete sense! I definitely will keep this in mind if ever in a bad situation. In general I try to have a don’t mess with me type of look, but your example is good. A basic question such as where is the nearest Starbucks could be an opening. Very good post Tasha. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. This is a great article as always Tasha. Each step is so important. I really hope you will do a post going into depth on each one of these so I can learn how to be more prepared and avoid being a victim. I want to learn more from you!!! Great insight and a worthy read.

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