Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Training to Shun Street Crime in Karachi: Developing " Counter-Surveillance Skills" By Mohammad BIn Iftikhar

Street Crime is on a rise in Karachi mainly due to as some say poverty or corruption. One wonders how rogue elements in political factions finance their campaigns. You might be thinking, I’m just a regular guy ,”What does any of this have to do with me?.  Well, you probably won’t find yourself against something like the old ISI, KBG or even the CIA, it’s true. But you might find yourself being targeted for a kidnapping or sized up for a street crime after taking your cash out from an ATM/bank etc.

So if you’re serious about learning how to detect someone following you, you need to get out there and practice. The goal of counter-surveillance is to get that follower of yours to do things no one in that environment is doing. Don’t get it to react, But how?:

Question yourself whether to confirm the presence or absence of people following you?.

Do you care if people following you know you’re aware of it?

Do you want to loose them?  

You can think of these three questions as forming a continuum.


Confirm that you’re being followed without the follower recognizing what you’ve done. Disguise your moves as ordinary behavior, for example in a mall (at park towers hypothetically speaking of-course), stop at various shops as if for window shopping using the image reflection on the windows to identify your follower or looking behind you at Tariq road to cross a street for traffic as you turn left.


Plan routes; know as (SDR’s) surveillance detection routes that are normal but in fact make things difficult for a person or a group following you. A good SDR will usually combine low cover for a follower with a range of entrance/exit options for the subject. In a car this could mean using “short cuts” through neighborhood streets with little covering traffic but with many routes. A route like this force your suppressors to follow you closely because they can’t predict which road you’re going to use while the lack of traffic in the neighborhood makes it easy for you to spot them.


On foot for instance at sea view stroll into a relatively empty park (bin-qasim or zamzama park) with multiple exits & entrances as it will have the same affect. People following you have to move in close or risk loosing you at one of the many exit or entrance points, while lack of pedestrian traffic deprives them of opportunities to conceal their presence. Change pace dramatically by using deception and suddenness, Use your imagination: question yourself again that if you were following someone what would make your job difficult?.  


Though it is hard to beat professional people following you but it will reveal to your suppressor/follower that you are surveillance conscious and you can counter it. So the secret to good counter-surveillance, is to be able to put yourself in the other party’s shoes, what do they call it, I guess its empathy. Try surveillance first by picking a family member as a subject and following him/her around but be careful you don’t want to end up in a lock-up at feroze-Abad police station.

Enough Reading! Go practice.

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