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To equal robbery with murder is to reduce murder to robbery,
to confound in common minds the gradations of iniquity,
and incite the commission of a greater crime to
prevent the detection of a less

Criminal Violence

On this page:
Actual Attack vs. Threat | Take The Deal

As we stated in the Kinds of Violence hub, most types of violence are illegal -- especially when they actively become physical. However, that doesn't necessarily mean they are 'criminal' in intent.

By criminal, we mean 'for profit.'

This is just one of the reasons we break Peyton's original model down into more than just two kinds. As territorial and behavior correcting violence are both rooted in someone trying to control his/her environment, we find a distinction between criminal and predatorial violence (although they are related).

While both are 'predatory' in nature, we feel their goals are different enough to warrant distinction.

While all violence is predicated in the person wanting something (and believing that it can be achieved through using violence), what makes criminal violence unique is that it's goal is demonstrable profit or gain.

A bully cannot spend the boost in his self-esteem he gets from threatening you. A rapist can't make his car payment with the sense of power he gets from sexually assaulting someone. A parent can't pay the rent by the abuse of his/her child. However, robbers and muggers can purchase things with the profits of their crimes.

This changes the dynamics of how this kind of violence occurs and what you can do to be safe.

Actual Attack vs. Threat
As we also said on the main page, predatorial violence is specifically targeted AT YOU!

Whereas, criminal violence -- while you might die from it -- isn't specifically oriented on you, but rather getting something from you. In that sense, any damage you take is just a byproduct, even if it is fatal.

While many people have a hard time grasping the concept that -- to a robber -- their lives are give the same value as a fly (to be snuffed out if it becomes bothersome) that is exactly what the violent criminal has come prepared to do.

This creates a specialized and interesting dynamic.

First, let's look at the definition of robbery as given by the US department of Justice: The taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody or control from a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.

Notice two key phrases in that definition
   1) threat of force and
   2) by putting the victim in fear.

It is an interesting fact, of the different kinds of violence, 'criminal' is the least likely to become physically violent. Most criminal violence is executed using the threat of violence and fear, not actually pulling the trigger.

That means although someone intent on criminal violence has come to the situation prepared to deliver lethal force, you are usually given a choice, comply or die. (Or with modern triage saving so many lives in the ER, suffer grievous bodily injury). Usually, when that gun is stuck in your face you are told to give up the desired item (cash, car or jewelry) the implicit 'deal' is if you immediately comply, you will not be hurt.

In this regard, criminal violence shares certain aspects with territorial and behavior correcting violence, namely; acceptable action on your part will prevent the violence from happening. Also threat display is a huge factor.

 Unlike the other two, however, the danger of the wrong choice is amply displayed right from the start. There is NO escalation to extreme violence. With criminal violence, compliance or extreme violence are the only choices.

Giving him what he wants is also what distinguishes Criminal from predatorial violence. With Criminal violence, the danger goes away once the goal is achieved. With predatorial violence your victimization is the goal.

Take The Deal
Although there are individuals who have decided that the best way to prevent you from identifying them is by walking up and shooting you and rifling your pockets while you lay there screaming, they are very rare. Most criminal 'violence' gets by on the threat of extreme violence to get you to comply.

The problem is many people do not have enough experience with physical violence to realize the danger. In fact, the greatest threat most people face in civilized society face is emotional. In a very real sense, their 'sensors' are more oriented on emotional threats than physical danger. Unexpectedly facing physical danger catches them totally off guard. Most of them  'freeze' when they find themselves looking at a gun or knife, this allows the criminal to take what he wants from an unresisting victim.

Another consideration is that you may not be the target of the criminal violence, but just there when it happens. For example you are in a bank or store when the robbers burst in. Their goal is not to get money from you, but the establishment. However, if the robbery goes sideways, you can be caught in the crossfire.

Unfortunately there are any number of people who attempt to deal with the threat of lethal force in the same way as they do an emotional threat. That is to say they become emotional and argumentative. Still others decide to resist, but are incapable of effective action. In both of these cases, these people almost always end up in the hospital Emergency Room -- sometimes the morgue.

The simple fact is, if you are caught flat footed by a robber, your safest course of action is to give him what he wants. As long as you take the deal you should be safe. HOWEVER, if the person attempts to move you to a secondary location or decides to attack anyway, this is no longer criminal violence, but predatorial. In those circumstances, the responses towards predatorial violence  are your best chances.

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