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Here are some things that were red flags to me as a police officer and some of the stuff I teach-

Beware of two or more men driving around in a car. I am not talking about guys in a car pool. It has been my professional experience that when you have two or more guys driving around, especially during the hours of darkness, they are looking for women, drugs, booze, or to break the law.

Depending on the environment my attention is also drawn to a female driving with a guy in the passenger seat. This often means that the guy has a suspended/revoked license which is often a good indicator of other criminal activity. Same thing goes for a guy driving what is obviously due to stuff hanging from the rear view, or maybe seat covers, stuffed animals in the rear view mirror, is a girls car. Always ask yourself does the driver match the car. Your damn right it it profiling, you know how we know so much about profiling? Because it works. Learn to play "one of these things don't look like the other".

Beware of two guys outside of a business that are not standing together but obviously in communication with each other. Usually with with glances and head nods. They are separated so they can angle on you.

In your state do you have to display a front tag? If you do and you see a car with no front tag, it may be stolen. How about the rear plate on a car being covered with dead bugs, does that make sense? How about a tag secured with zip ties, or maybe one screw? How about new screws on an old beater car. How about a car from your state with a bumper sticker identifying that that car came from a different state?

I could go on and on. Just about everyone of these examples led me to a felony arrest. Learn to scan people, places, and things. Turn your filter on and see what gets stuck. When you get something respond accordingly.- George
 

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I expect there's going to be a lot of response to mercop's post so I'll just say one thing and then get out of everybody's way: VERY interesting!
 

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Thanks for the thoughts. This information is worth pondering.
 

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Here are some things that were red flags to me as a police officer and some of the stuff I teach-

Beware of two or more men driving around in a car. I am not talking about guys in a car pool. It has been my professional experience that when you have two or more guys driving around, especially during the hours of darkness, they are looking for women, drugs, booze, or to break the law.

Depending on the environment my attention is also drawn to a female driving with a guy in the passenger seat. This often means that the guy has a suspended/revoked license which is often a good indicator of other criminal activity. Same thing goes for a guy driving what is obviously due to stuff hanging from the rear view, or maybe seat covers, stuffed animals in the rear view mirror, is a girls car. Always ask yourself does the driver match the car. Your damn right it it profiling, you know how we know so much about profiling? Because it works. Learn to play "one of these things don't look like the other".

Beware of two guys outside of a business that are not standing together but obviously in communication with each other. Usually with with glances and head nods. They are separated so they can angle on you.

In your state do you have to display a front tag? If you do and you see a car with no front tag, it may be stolen. How about the rear plate on a car being covered with dead bugs, does that make sense? How about a tag secured with zip ties, or maybe one screw? How about new screws on an old beater car. How about a car from your state with a bumper sticker identifying that that car came from a different state?

I could go on and on. Just about everyone of these examples led me to a felony arrest. Learn to scan people, places, and things. Turn your filter on and see what gets stuck. When you get something respond accordingly.- George
I think in some cases this is true however I don’t think it is fool proof. I am not a felon nor do I have my DL suspended but I ride in the passenger seat of my wife’s car all the time. Also a lot of military people travel from state to state and it is not uncommon to see bumper stickers from other states when the vehicle has different tags. I can see your point of view on the two or more guys driving around at night but I DD for people all the time and there are normally two or more guys in the car with me.
 

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Years ago I was on business in Portland, OR. On the street I saw two young men together about 2 blocks away. I noticed they began walking in my direction and then split about 50 feet apart and continued in my direction.
This got my attention, so I slipped my Gerber Bolt-action knife into my hand. I expected they had me targeted, the leader would pass me and they'd have me surrounded. About 50 feet away, I slipped the knife back in the pouch and back out again.

The leader shouted, "He got a knife" and they both turned and went away. That pretty well confirmed I was almost a mugging victim.

Watch the people and things close to you closely. But watch well away, you learn more.
 

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Profiling is another word for common sense. I have no problem with mental profiling.
Where the rubber meets the road is how you act on your intuition.
I can see pulling a car over for a minor infraction to have a look see, but I'd say you crossed the line if you threw the occupants on the ground and stuck a shotgun in their ear, just to let them know you are in charge.
Be professional, and I'm with you all the way.
 

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This is extremly good information that we should all follow daily. On another site I had a thread on Furtive movements leading to you pulling your firearm, this is the first step you should use to go into Condition Orange as you ready yourself.
 

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I own a car rental company. Anytime a guy and gal walk in together and the guy does all the talking and when we ask for a driver license he states "My girlfriend/wife is going to drive. That means he is looking to drive but his license is suspended/revoked.

They used to be a local cop who was the summons guy. He would write more tickets in one month that all the cops in his precinct combined. Every motorist hated him because he was a hammer. He made more major busts than the detectives because on simple traffic violations. When he spoke to the motorists the stories that were told, did not make sense.
 

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Here are some things that were red flags to me as a police officer and some of the stuff I teach-

Beware of two or more men driving around in a car. I am not talking about guys in a car pool. It has been my professional experience that when you have two or more guys driving around, especially during the hours of darkness, they are looking for women, drugs, booze, or to break the law.

Or...this could mean that they're coming home from a game, or a movie, or another friend's house, or going to a game, or a movie, or another friend's house...

To assume that two guys driving in the same car after dark are trolling around for do crimes is ludicrous!! :twak:

Depending on the environment my attention is also drawn to a female driving with a guy in the passenger seat.
Or you could just be like my wife and I who each like to drive. There are MANY times when I hand her the keys when we're going someplace simply because I didn't want to drive. Again, this is idiocy.
 

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In your state do you have to display a front tag? If you do and you see a car with no front tag, it may be stolen. How about the rear plate on a car being covered with dead bugs, does that make sense? How about a tag secured with zip ties, or maybe one screw? How about new screws on an old beater car. How about a car from your state with a bumper sticker identifying that that car came from a different state? George
Most times you see a vehicle with 1 screw in the rear plate that is a dead giveaway that the car is unregistered and uninsured and the person is looking to move it from one storage place to another.

Few months ago I was driving down the expressway in the center lane 3 young guys all were sitting correctly all wearing seat belts doing the speed limit. At first glance everything looked perfect. To perfect. Except in their rush they screwed the plate upside down.
As I passed them I noticed that there were no registration stickers or state emmission stickers on the windshield as there should be.

How many Leo's have seen the old cut two diffrent plates each in half trick? I have.

1st plate ABC 123
2nd plate DEF 789

Becomes ABC 789 so if somebody grabs a plate #when a crime is commited it comes back as no such plate.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
See here is the difference, every person is a book. You look at titles and a few stick out, then you read the back and whittle your choices down a little more. Maybe you heard about the book from someone else, so you narrow your choices down a little more. Get it?

It is about the totality of circumstances. When most people see a kid that does not even look old enough to drink driving a minivan with car seats in the back they automatically start to justify it to themselves. Maybe he borrowed the family car and has young siblings. Maybe he is a young parent. They get stuck on that one thing. In the meantime a good cops says, "hey, maybe it is stolen" and begins to look for other clues.

People see the world the way they want to see it. The last time I bothered to pull stats was 2004 and I stopped approximately 1100 vehicles. Most on Rt 40 between Baltimore and Philadelphia. You learn to filter stuff real fast.

For those of you who find this information helpful I am glad and will be happy to answer questions. For those who intentionally fail to see the forest through the trees there is nothing I can say to convince you. You would be very surprised to find out the backgrounds of some of the people you come in contact with everyday.- George
 

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Or...this could mean that they're coming home from a game, or a movie, or another friend's house, or going to a game, or a movie, or another friend's house...

To assume that two guys driving in the same car after dark are trolling around for do crimes is ludicrous!! :twak:


Or you could just be like my wife and I who each like to drive. There are MANY times when I hand her the keys when we're going someplace simply because I didn't want to drive. Again, this is idiocy.
Why can't people take this stuff for what it is?? Obviously every time 2 or more guys are in a car they are not looking for a crime or when a woman drives. I've been in both situations and never commited a crime.
Mercop appears to be saying that these are things that should make our spidey senses tingle and give them a second look. Better to give things a second look and it be nothing than to ignore them because "I let my wife drive too" and it turn out to be a threat.
We're on this forum because we carry. I carry because I want to be in a better position to protect myself & family if it hits the fan. I'd also like to avoid problems, or at least see them coming, so I've got other avenues than shooting. If giving a woman driver w/ a male passenger or multiple males in a car a second look gives me warning of a potential threat, then its good advice. I realize that I'll be giving alot of second looks that turn out to be normal activity.
Thanks Mercop - good observations.
 

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Reminds me of an incident my roommate had a few months ago, she was pulled over for no license plate light. After advising her to get it fixed the officer stated it is common for car thieves to disable license plate lights in this area.
 

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I expect there's going to be a lot of response to mercop's post so I'll just say one thing and then get out of everybody's way: VERY interesting!
I agree and always enjoy his posts. I doubt I would spot bugs on a rear plate or new screws on a beater, but I may now that it has been brought to my attention.

I think his whole post screams of SA, know what is around you. Just like banks and the Treasury don't learn what counterfeit money looks like, they train on what real money looks like and if it doesn't match then it is fake.
 

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Mercop,
Once again great class/lecture/advice. Alot of folks talk SA but few are willing to walk it. Well Written keep it up
 

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Also a lot of military people travel from state to state and it is not uncommon to see bumper stickers from other states when the vehicle has different tags. I can see your point of view on the two or more guys driving around at night but I DD for people all the time and there are normally two or more guys in the car with me.
I'll second that line of thinking, although I see exactly what the OP is talking about. Being in a military town and having patroled on base I've seen some questionable 'set-ups' on out of state plates and tags. It still raised my curosity and I've called in checks more than once.

But that's just the enviroment I live in. Again, overall the OP's right on and this is a great post to look at and think through. The two or more people 'hanging around' sharing looks/nods/jestures are not up to any good.

As for the two or more males driving around.......a group of military guys going or coming from a 'night out' is sometimes pretty obvious and thier not/wouldn't be scoping out a side of town they'd normally not be in. DD's (which has thankfully become the standard around our base......sometimes training does sink in) are most likely dropping off and wouldn't be looking for a felony to get into.

Paco is right, SA is life and the basis of trouble aviodance.

Again, great thought-provoking post.
 

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Good information and observations. I hadn't thought of the "new license plate bolts on an old car", and I've never seen zip ties holding a license plate... but then again, I wasn't looking that close. Good observations.

I profile every day.

Here's a recent example: driving west on I-70 in St. Charles, MO, during heavy traffic. Cars zipping in and out of lanes. I come upon a late 80's model Chevy truck, the kind with a HUGE back window that shows everything inside. The truck is on big boondocker tires.

Inside are two males, probably mid-twenties, muscular, both heads totally shaved, both wearing camo jackets. The jacket collars aren't standing up as I've seen with military guys. No military hats.

These guys are driving the speed limit while everyone else is cutting in and out among them.

They are both staring straight ahead, stone cold with no movement whatsoever.

No detail in and of itself stands out, but in the totality of all, they scream "skinheads". (And for all you guys who like to shave your heads, I have no issues with that whatsoever. Saves time combing.)

I guestimate I've seen maybe 100,000 drivers here in St. Louis over the years, and these guys scream "skinheads" or militia members more than all the other drivers put together.

I'm thinking if I pull up next to them and they look over and see my wife, that may be the trigger that sets them off. So I back off, deciding I didn't need to be where I was going quite so fast after all.

It is my purest intention to profile every day of my life, and to make resultant decisions based on my profiling that might extend the life and health of me and my family.

I worked in a military town too. It is the totality of the circumstances.- George
Exactly. The same for my story.
 
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