The "Deadly Skills" You'll Learn at CrimeCon 2018

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Like many of you, my rigid television schedule is dominated by true crime shows: Oxygen specials, Dateline reruns, whatever Netflix recommends because I watched The Keepers. I haven’t spent all that time immersed in murder and mysteries without learning a little about how to avoid becoming the victim of a crime.

But on January 3, 2018, it completely failed me.

Arriving home after a particularly difficult day, I opened my car door, reached for my bags, and turned to find a gun in my face. In a blur, three men had taken my purse, my brand-new laptop, and my car, leaving me standing alone in the middle of a dark, empty street. The encounter took less than fifteen seconds.

Luckily, they weren’t very smart criminals (if they had been, they would’ve stolen a nicer car) and I was able to help authorities track them down using the locator on my cell phone (#basicallyadetective). I’m pleased to report that they’re currently awaiting trial in the local county lockup.

What haunted me about this experience was not coming face-to-face with a loaded gun. It wasn’t the feeling of powerlessness. It was that I knew better. I opened my car door before I was ready to exit. I didn’t survey my surroundings. I didn’t have a plan.

At CrimeCon 2018, criminal attorney and journalist Darren Kavinoky and former law enforcement agent Mike Dowd will help you avoid the same fate at CrimeCon 2018. Together, they’ll present a session previewing a new show produced by Kavinoky entitled Deadly Skills: Tips, Tricks, and Tactics to Stay Alive.

“We’ll be looking at many real-life scenarios that have, sadly, dominated the headlines recently,” says Darren. “Mass shootings, school shooting scenarios, even driving your car into a body of water or road rage incidents. We’ll give people real-life takeaways to help them survive and keep their families alive in these worst-case experiences.”

Attendees will get to watch some of these situations play out live on stage, Darren says.

“When applicable, I’ll be playing the part of the attacker. Mike, with his years of experience in law enforcement and intelligence -- and owing to the fact that he’s the more buff, rugged, and handsome of the two of us -- will demonstrate how to defend yourself or prevent the situation altogether.”

And Mike has plenty of experience in these situations. His resume is peppered with acronyms: DoD, CIA, NSA, DIA, DOJ and US Army Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Throughout his years of service, Mike developed expertise in a broad range of disciplines, including regional expertise, man hunting, geolocation, cellular infrastructure and tracking, wireless engineering, human intelligence and elicitation, surveillance and surveillance detection.

“Recently, I was waiting for a flight and the airport was suddenly shut down because someone had discovered a suspicious package,” Mike recalls. “Nobody was sure what to do. It’s a massive airport, there’s no evacuation plan, and we were essentially sitting there waiting for a bomb to explode.”

Mike’s decades of training kicked in immediately. “I identified an empty jetway leading outside, so I advised my group to head that way if something did happen. It’s a matter of being aware of your surroundings. Where are the emergency escapes and egress points that get people outside, on the ground, and as far away from the building as possible? Who’s leading your family or your group out? You’ve gotta have a plan.”

Darren has a similar experience: “I was in a hotel. It was 7:00 in the morning when the fire alarm went off. I high-tailed it to the nearest emergency exit, but I was awestruck that nobody else evacuated. Nobody moved. Fire, tornado, and disaster alarms are now so commonplace that they’ve become like car alarms. Nobody thinks “Oh no, someone’s stealing that car outside.” They think “Who’s the jerk with the annoying car alarm?”

It’s easy to believe that these situations are rare and that we’ll never need to be prepared to fight for our lives or safety. But the truth is, these worst-case scenarios happen to many people every single day.

During their session, you may have a chance to practice some survival tactics for yourself. Darren and Mike will encourage plenty of audience participation. Attendees may relate their own close calls and harrowing experiences to understand what they should have done to prevent becoming a victim. Darren and Mike will also pull volunteers from the crowd to demonstrate some of the concepts and maneuvers they cover.

I thought I was an impossible victim. It took less than fifteen seconds to prove me wrong. Make some room in your schedule for this potentially life-saving session to arm yourself with the Deadly Skills you need to avoid the same fate.