Are you aware of your surroundings?
As many of us are aware of the news coming out of the media recently (bomb scares, shootings, international terrorism, domestic terrorism, etc), have made people on edge.
What some of us don't consider as civilians, is the people who are around us. As many of us involved in Law Enforcement, security, the military will tell you that is it easy to overlook the person who might "just blend in". You ask yourself "What am I looking for specifically?"
It is tough for a person to just pick someone out of a crowd and think that they are capable of doing the unthinkable. Truth be told, it can happen anytime, anywhere, and it can be anyone. Without really diving into a person's history for motive, what a person's mental status is, or what they're future intentions are; it is virtually impossible to be proactive instead of being reactive. A person will not commit a crime as smoothly as we see it on television. Most times they are nervous, have extreme amounts of energy, etc.
But there is something that you can do as a citizen to protect yourself. It all stems from vigilance! Is that particular person standing alone in a corner "scoping" out a store, person, or otherwise? Is this person seem angry, or withdrawn from engaging with other people in society? If you do encounter said person, is there attack posture? Clinched fists? A thousand yard stare?
Being vigilant can just be as simple as turning your head and seeing something that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up! Should you see such activity whether your shopping, at an appointment, out in the general public; proper and timely notification can be key.
Notify a security officer who is on duty with a description of the person, and the activity of the person that is making you suspicious. If no security is present at your location, please do not approach this person yourself. Many times do Law Enforcement dispatch centers receive calls like this. Identify first that the person is committing a crime or a crime is imminent.
Anyone who is about to commit a crime will definitely tell you before they will do so through non verbal body language. How nervous do they appear? Are they spending too much time in one particular area of a store or shopping center? Do their jackets or attire appear bloated or lumpy?