Criminals often seek ‘soft targets’ when striking the public

Reporter: Rich Kolko
Published: Updated:

Just when you think you’re safe, you are not. With all the attention focused on sporting events, concerts and airports, people with a mission to kill will want to hit you when you never expect it.

A food festival in California. A Walmart in Texas. A bar in Ohio. All of them are what law enforcement considers to be a soft target.

For years, federal, state and local governments have worked together to harden targets such as stadiums, schools and government buildings. That is why you will see security everywhere, metal detectors and surveillance cameras.

However, there is still a vulnerability at the so-called, soft targets. Soft targets are those places without those additional security measures. These can include malls, restaurants and parks.

“Any place where the public has readily access and so do criminals,” said David Grossi, a police tactics expert. “They know they’re not going to encounter an armed security force.”

LINK: Identifying, Assessing, and Managing the Threat of Targeted Attacks

If you find yourself in this situation, remember these three words in this order: Run, hide, fight.

Being on guard and knowing where to run helps, too. Moreover, always, if you see something, say something.

Addressing fear

These mass shootings make us ask the question: will we be safe going to the grocery store? If not, what should we do to protect ourselves?

We asked people in Collier County if they felt safe shopping after the mass shooting last weekend. We received mixed results.

“I do feel safe,” David Berger said. “I am a Vietnam veteran, so I keep my eyes out, so to speak.”

“You know,” Pat Rahalewicz said, “it’s scary, but we can’t live our life in fear.”

“I do feel safe for the most part,” Elaine Kettle said. “I have to say though, every time I go in a store, it’s on my mind.”

LINK: Active shooter resources from the FBI

Rich Kolko, WINK News safety and security specialist, said the reality is these kinds of shootings are rare. However, you should always be prepared.

“People are nervous, understandably,” said Kolko, a former FBI Agent. “But the chance of being involved in an active shooter scenario are minimal, but that doesn’t lessen the importance of being prepared and there are things you can do.”

DOCUMENT: Active Shooter Study: Quick Reference Guide

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