Protect Yourself from Mob Mentality

| January 23, 2014 |

running from the mob

It is hard to imagine a more frightening scenario than a flash-mob or riot breaking out all around you. Violence erupts all around you, as a group of single-minded threats grows and focuses in on what they want; to cause damage and take what isn’t theirs. More than ever, we are seeing reports of “flash mobs” occurring in cities all across the United States. Comprised of mostly teens, these events have stayed mostly contained to the largest cities in regions; especially during high tourist season. So what are they looking for, and how do you prepare and protect yourself against such an overwhelming situation?

Originally, these teen-based violent outbursts seemed to mirror those seen in South American and Asian countries; where tourists get swarmed by youth’s intent on stripping them of everything of value. Those that submit usually only suffer superficial damage; however resisting has gotten some tourists killed. However, as the number of attacks have increased; so has that amount of violence and so has the targeted base grown.


Now, any store or person in the way of these mobs can expect to find themselves a possible target. Unlike the “tourist-based” muggings in other countries, the US flash-mobs quickly showed that the intent was only partially about value and stealing. The focus of these mobs was becoming clear; they wanted violence and destruction with their theft.

Most often, these groups put out the word by social media or texting; allowing for a small-scale riot that is organized and ready to strike with little warning. Police have attempted to start monitoring social media communications for possible flash-mob planning; however it has led to little success. With police and security often being the last to know, you must understand what to look for and how mob mentality works so that you can best prepare and protect yourself.


The best way to protect against a flash-mob is to avoid it all together. This is a group of dangerous people who do not care who they hurt. Reports of group muggings and beatings by up to 20 on 1 are common, and you are better off staying out of that equation altogether.

Situational awareness is key in keeping you safe in most everyday situations, here is no different. Focus on getting to your destination and know your surroundings. Times like this are we you are discouraged from listening to music or having headphones on, or face buried in your phone while you are walking in the city- you need to know what is going on. Often, being aware of your surroundings and picking up on signals will allow you the time you need to remove yourself from the path of a flash-mob without injury or threat.

Additionally, you should work to make yourself an unappealing target. Don’t flash your expensive gadgets, and don’t act like a tourist. If you appear to have your focus on anything other than the task at hand, you will mark yourself. Be aware that a common tactic here is to divert your attention. Often, one party will approach a mark with a seemingly innocuous request; money, time, directions, etc. Do not allow your focus to become shifted or your field of vision blocked from potential dangers. The second you leave your back defenseless, they will attack.

If you do get caught unaware, it happens to the best of us, understand how mob mentality works. It takes a very small but influential minority to take hold of a larger group and sweep them up. If you find yourself in the middle of a flash-mob you need to understand how mob mentality works.

Mob mentality is very real and can be very dangerous. In almost no time people can get swept up into a crowd’s actions and cease to operate on any functional level. Look no further than Black Friday shopping footage to understand how quickly a crowd can turn violent, with almost no provocation. The most important thing to understand is that with this kind of mob mentality, reasoning is not an option. No amount of rationale is going to stop a horde of violent criminals. Your first instinct needs to be escape, with numbers on their side; you need to be looking for a way to get out of the violence as soon as possible.


If you can’t avoid the flash-mob then put together your defensive strategy. ALWAYS be looking for a way out, this is not a “stand your ground” situation. You need to find an exit as quickly as possible. When trouble strikes if you can’t immediately escape then you have to resort to plan B. Plan B is defense and attack, you can’t be polite and you can’t worry about your attackers because they are not concerned about you.

If it is a simple matter of giving up what they want, do it. Throw what they want in the opposite direction and run- if they can get what they want, that is usually enough to buy your escape. Remember this isn’t a matter of pride, the numbers are against you. If you do have to fight though, then dig down deep and make your damage count. Remember that mob mentality is the many being controlled by the few, try to find one of the leaders or influencers and make them an example. It has to be big, and it has to be intimidating; but if you make a spectacle of attacking one of the leaders you may be able to deter others from attacking you.

It is a sad fact that this is the world we must live in, where often people will become destructive for no other reason than boredom and greed. These attacks are rarely about need, they are about power. Being more aware citizens we can all play a part in reducing the damage of flash-mobs and helping to spot them before they can start.

Category: Physical Preperation, Survival Guides

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