What’s the safest seat in a restaurant?

coffee shop

Where would you sit in this coffee shop? I always sit where I can see the door. Let’s examine that.

Greg Ellifritz has been a police officer since 1995 and spent 13 years as the full-time tactical training officer for his central Ohio police department. He was responsible for developing all of the in-service training for his 55-officer police department. More of his impressive credentials here.

Here’s where he would sit and not sit in the coffee shop above.

When I am choosing seats in a restaurant, he writes, I use the following selection criteria:

1) I prefer tables to booths.  Tables are easier to maneuver around.  Tables can also be overturned and used for cover/concealment.  It’s much harder to do that in a booth.

2) I want a clear view of the front door to see any potential threats enter.

3) I want a view of the cash register (if there is one).  If there are any problems, they will occur at the cash register.

4) I want a table that is close to the kitchen/alternate exit.

5) I prefer an area where there isn’t a lot of foot traffic moving behind me

Here’s what Ellifritz sees in the diagram.

There’s too much foot traffic heading to the bathrooms for tables a, bi and c. I don’t want to have to physically check out people as they move behind me to use the toilets.

Criminals call the seats with their backs in a corner where they can see every other seat in the venue the “cop seats.” That’s where cops sit. The criminals know this and will take out the “cops” at the first opportunity. Sometimes the best seat in a venue is also the worst seat.

I suggest occupying seats 1 or 2 at tables D, E, or F as the best seats in this layout. You can see the front door. You can see the cash register. You are close to the emergency exits, but you don’t have constant bathroom traffic moving behind you to evaluate.

An alternate plan:

waitress

~ Singultus

What to do if you’re being followed

followed

Derrick Krane has taught psychology and criminology for over 20 years at six colleges. He is a licensed clinician who provides psychotherapy to criminal offenders and victims of violent crimes and sexually based offense. He is the author of over 250 scholarly articles on various topics in criminology, psychology, neuroscience, addiction and politics.

Here is part of his article on protecting yourself from followers:

On foot

  • Change direction abruptly to determine if you are being followed.
  • Do not make an obvious fear display. A fear display will encourage aggression. That being said, run if you have to.
  • Be advised that if you confront them, you may be deemed an aggressor or at least a participant instead of a victim. This will depend on the jurisdiction you are in and to what degree liberals have gutted self-defense laws.
  • Get into a crowded well-lit place with many witnesses.
  • Get somewhere with cameras. Look directly into the camera.
  • Draw attention. Yell loudly that you are being followed and point the follower out to the crowd. Embarrass the shit out of them, expose them for the creepy weirdo they are, and get multiple witnesses.
  • Call 911 and ask bystanders to call 911. Select specific persons and make eye contact. Directly state call 911, there is someone after me. This detail is important. If you just yell somebody call 911, the bystander effect can occur, and most people will wait for someone else to call 911. It is about distribution of responsibility and hesitation. Make specific people responsible.

In a Vehicle

  • On a city street, drive in a circle by making four consecutive right turns. On a highway, get off the next exit, then back on the highway. Someone following you vs. coincidentally driving in the same direction will become apparent.
  • Having determined you are being followed, DO NOT go to your home a friend’s home, or your workplace. You do not want to lead them to any of these places.
  • Do not let yourself get boxed in. Do not go into a cul-de-sac/dead end or parking lot, or anywhere else where you will not have an escape route.
  • Know where you are going. Become intimately familiar with the area you work, attend school or live in. This can give you a major advantage over someone from outside the area.
  • Do Not Escalate. If you are being followed closely by an angry individual, don’t do things that will de-stabilize the situation further. This included brake-checking, throwing things at the other car, and displaying your middle finger. Once again, you are also becoming a participant, and putting yourself in a compromised legal position.
  • DO NOT get out of the vehicle and confront them. You may not know their intentions, how far they are willing to take things, of if they are armed. Depending on the jurisdiction, if you get out of your vehicle to confront them or engage, you could put yourself in a very weak legal position by becoming a participant instead of a victim.

1) Identify them. Phone camera/dash cam/backup cam on and start documenting. Note as much information as possible. Note the make, model, and color of the car, and a description of the driver and any passengers, any identifying marks on the vehicle, and of course the license plate number.

3) Lose them. but don’t put yourself and others in danger with reckless maneuvers or excessive speed.

  • Make an abrupt (but safe) turn without using directionals.
  • Get up to an optimum safe speed to pull away from them and gain some distance.
  • Run red lights (treat the red light like a stop sign, don’t just blow through an intersection). A cop sees you and pulls you over? Perfect. You need a cop right now. Your pursuer will have to relinquish the pursuit, or really escalate things in front of a police officer.

2) Get assistance

  • On a city street, draw attention. Lay on your horn and flash your lights. Stalkers/weirdos tend to dislike attention.
  • Lead your pursuer through intersections with traffic cams to get them recorded.
  • On a city street, tell a driver in the lane next to you are being followed and to call 911.
  • Drive to a police station or call 911.

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean you’re not being followed.

~ Scheherazade