Last week I was entering an HEB Supermarket to get something to eat. Just outside the door the manager was arguing with a customer about stealing. I did the same thing I advise others to do, just keep going. I went into the store and asked the group of workers what was going on. The guy had got an entire shopping cart full of stuff, and then stopped in front of the door to make himself a coke at the soda machine there. The dead giveaway was he left the cart sticking out the door while he made the drink. Obviously this guy was a real criminal genius.
I go what I wanted and then waited while the manager and guy argued more. I wasn’t waiting to see what happened, but waiting for them be done so it was safe for me to leave. I had multiple displays and people in front of me for cover. I never saw a gun, but you never know. I wasn’t planning on getting involved and was waiting for the cops that had been called. This guy stood there and argued until a cop got there and then decided to leave. The cop stopped him before he got to his car and arrested him. Once the guy was in cuffs, I left.
This time nothing dangerous happened, but could have easily gone bad. Once a criminal is exposed and then stopped, now he is a cornered animal. Most will fight or run. When you confront people remember that, and ask yourself is it worth it? In this case they could have easily yelled at him and when he left the shopping cart and walked out, the store had no loss, so was it worth it to stop the guy? This time it was, but he could have easily had a gun or knife and decided he wasn’t going to jail.
No matter how stupid or harmless a criminal seems, they are still a criminal. You don’t know what will happen when the criminal is confronted. A simple shoplifter can become deadly when he pulls a knife to get away. We tend to think criminals will be rational, but once confronted he is a cornered animal and gets an adrenalin dump. Once that happens, all rational thought goes out the window and the criminal will be in a panic. In his panic he will do anything to escape.
If you are thinking of confronting someone, you probably shouldn’t. If it’s part of your job at a retail store, confront people at a long distance and put things between you and them. Don’t put yourself between them and the front door. Yes this will allow the criminal to escape, but will keep you from getting hurt.
If you walk up onto someone being confronted like I did, create distance and put things and people between them and yourself. If you are curious and want to know what happened, ask people that are standing around in the background. When the police arrive, it’s still not safe. If the worst happens and the criminal pulls a gun and a gun battle happens, there will be a lot of bullets flying and less then half will hit their intended target. The rest will continue until they hit something or someone else.