The Crime Prevention Triangle

Posted by Kevin Estela on Jun 26th 2024

Spend enough time around the survival industry and you’re likely to hear about the rule of 3s. Typically this relates to time as in 3 hours without adequate shelter exposed to the elements or 3 days without water but there are many other rules of 3 beyond the minutes and weeks found in this most used explanation. There are rules of 3 for cordage (length, strength, and flexibility), shelter (inside, over, and under), fire (heat, air, and fuel), and even crime. You might be thinking, “How does crime relate to survival?” Protection is a survival concept and it exists in the backcountry and at home. In the wild, we primarily focus on protection from the cold and perhaps 4 legged critters if we’re in dangerous game country. At home, we need protection from those who wish to deprive us of our possessions, from those who wish to commit acts of violence on our loved ones, and from a different type of predator. Surrounded by 4 walls or out in the field, protection from threats follows the same rule of three. What follows is what we can do to understand crime prevention boiled down to three simple questions. If all three answers are yes, you have reason to be concerned.

Do They Have Desire?

If a criminal desires to do harm, no law will stop them. If a criminal believes he/she will get away, the desire to commit the crime will be elevated. Think of how frequently people speed on a highway. They are more inclined to do so if they have gotten away with it in the past and less likely if they see a trooper running radar from behind a billboard. Desire is impossible to legislate away. When penalties for crimes are reduced to a metaphorical slap on the wrist like we’re seeing out of the big cities, criminals will weigh the odds of getting caught and getting convicted. If criminal minds are truly set on action, we can take steps to make their job harder or less enticing. This doesn’t mean we should post “Protected by the 2nd Amendment” signs on our front door but rather make aspects of our lives blend in with the rest. Gear left in the open in a vehicle is only protected by a glass suggestion (not to break it). Looking like a local when traveling is better than appearing as a tourist. Step into the mind of a criminal and ask, “If I were to…, would I…” By filtering your thoughts like a criminal, you can potentially understand if something could happen.

Do They Have Opportunities?

There’s a sports expression, “You miss every shot you don’t take”. You also miss every shot you aren’t allowed to take and you definitely don’t take shots when you never step foot on the playing field. If there is an opportunity to commit crime, consider a criminal will take it. If you leave your blinds open at night, someone could be watching or recording. If you walk through a dark park after the bar closes, someone could be waiting to take your wallet. If you volunteer your information willingly online in open forums, you volunteer yourself as a victim as well. Opportunities are everywhere but we can eliminate them or reduce them and in turn lower our exposure to crime. In fact, the only factor we can truly control to prevent crime is reducing the opportunities we present. We can request to have our house image blurred on street view and be mindful of the interior photos of our homes we may inadvertently share. We can avoid demonstrating possession of wealth, posting photos of our gear on social media, or looking like a have in an area of have-nots. We can also avoid letting people who are of unsatisfactory character into our inner circle. Think about it, there are many crimes committed each year where the victim and the perpetrator know one another. Criminal opportunities can also be considered in terms of attempted activity and successful activity. Consider how you have your firearms stored at home. A safe is good. A safe bolted to the wall is better. Multiple safes, or decentralized firearm storage, bolted down is better yet as all of your belongings wouldn’t be taken in one go. Keep in mind, no safe will stop a criminal forever but they will slow them down and reduce the likelihood of them successfully taking them from your property.

Do They Have Ability?

Even in the most secure places, criminals find a way to commit crime. Prisons aren’t where you will find convicts committing crime against one another with firearms but there are still plenty of stabbings with makeshift shivs and broken bones and bloody fists. A criminal can use a computer to wreak havoc on your family from across the globe. When you think about it, there is no shortage of training available to criminals that is widely disseminated on the internet, in books, and in their circles. Keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with learning the same skills as a criminal. In fact, if you aren’t training, you should remember there is someone on the wrong side of the law who is. As you plateau, they level up. The best way to counter the criminal’s ability is to be more able than they are. If they primarily carry a pistol, be better than them in terms of accuracy, maximum effective range, speed, and presentation. If they strengthen their bodies in prison 30 minutes a day, you better train for 31 minutes or more. You have all the opportunity to train but will you? In the words of the late Jeff Cooper, “...and on that day, only you will know your true commitment to training.” What is at stake if you don’t?

Much like the rules of three that exist in the wilderness survival community, if you remove one attribute, you compromise it. A person who has the desire and opportunity to commit crime but no ability is not as much of a threat. A person who has the desire and ability to harm you but no opportunity is not as much of a threat either. Someone who has the opportunity and ability to harm you but no desire might even be someone you want to train with and keep in your group. If they have the same value set and common worldview, they should be brought even closer. Keep in mind, at any moment, a person with 2 of the 3 attributes may develop or acquire the third and this puts your safety in a different position. As you navigate the world looking to safeguard yourself, there are many questions that clutter your thought process. Those questions may be good questions but never forget to address these three as they are a great general guide to prevent crime.

A special thanks to all of those in uniform who serve and protect their communities and especially those who make up Bristol, CT’s finest.