Keep in mind, again, that I am discussing situations in which an unarmed person faces a gun-wielding robber. I am not talking about rapists who choose to help themselves to property after committing a sexual assault, or psycopaths whose primary aim is to bring physical pain to another person.
Most street robberies and robberies of commercial etsablishments are primarily financial in nature: the crook wants your shit, and the crook likely wants to feed a drug habit. Keep in mind the robber may be high, or worse: the robber may be craving a drug and could be in an especially foul mood.
I was in the restaurant business for many years. As an owner, my establishments were robbed at least a dozen times in the 1990s. Every robbery was a "success," in my opinion, because none of my employees ever got hurt.
The scenario was the same in almost every case: perp walks in with a gun, points it at the cashier, the cashier empties the drawer, perp runs out with $50-$100.
Now, at the time I would have loved to have been in one of my restaurants armed with a firearm and to have blasted away, and believe me: when I worked alone late at night I stashed weapons and potential weapons in various hiding places. However, the franchisor and the insurance companies were adamant against arming employees with firearms, and really: can I expect that every 16-year-old who ever had register duties would know how to handle a firearm? Even training just the store managers and assistant managers would have been a logistical nightmare.
Besides: the best way to limit return visits by a given perp is to strip the drawers and make the robbery less proftable. If a robber gets $50, chances are high that your establishment will never see the same crook again. If the punk gets, $400, or $1000, you can bet that you just made the A-list of potential robbery targets.
Every single day in a city like Toledo there are robberies, and if memory serves me correctly Toledo has something like 4 robberies per day on average. Most do not make the news, or else they get buried in the Daily Log on the Toledo Blade. The only time the average person hears about robberies on the news is when they go bad and someone gets hurt, or if there is a high-profile robbery. In many cases in which a robbery victim gets hurt (not most, not all) the victim engaged in some form of physical or forceful resistance.
Keep this in mind: if a person is targeted for a robbery, it is because the robber thinks he has an advantage. This may be the element of surprise, it might be physical size, and of course it might be the weapon being carried by the robber. The robber - even the drug-addled robber - has some degree of confidence that the victim will acquiesce.
As far as resistance: studies regularly show that physical resistance escalates the likelihood of injury or death to the victim. Now, if you are a Chuck Norris or Jackie Chan type and know how to use martial arts to your advantage, feel free to go all silat and muay thai on the perp. However, remember that the robber is not likely to be targeting Jackie Chan and Chuck Norris: victims are much more likely to be old people, smaller women, and teenagers than they are to be trained MMA experts.
Look in your wallet: are the contents of your wallet right now REALLY worth an escalation of your risk of injury or death? I have three bucks in mine at the moment, plus an ATM card and my HSA medical card (this can only be used at a hospital, physician's office, or a pharmacy). If some jackass put a gun to my head and I did not have my 9mm handy, my biggest concern is that I would start laughing, as the crook would have picked the wrong target.
If you REALLY want to reduce your risk of robbery, take proactive steps:
- Never travel alone at night in unfamiliar surroundings.
- If you must be alone at night, be prepared for the unexpected.
- Avoid displaying valuables in public.
- Be aware of your surroundings, including the back seat of your car.
- Use security lighting in your home and business.
- Keep windows clear so you can survey the surroundings before going outdoors.
- Avoid having predictable routines.
- Do not brag about how wealthy you are or recent financial successes, especially around people you do not know well.
- Park under lighting at night as close to the building as possible.
- Walk as confidently and assertively as possible when alone.
- Make eye contact with everyone who looks suspicious.
- Develop what I call the "street face": grim, wary, and hardened.
Note: I did not list "buy a handgun" above, as this has little value in preventing a robbery unless you are going to walk around with it in a visible holster, or if you plan on waving it around like a lunatic (this will probably get you arrested, by the way). That being said, this might even make you a target, as potential robbers might want your gun. Will a gun increase the likelihood that you can bag a robber? Sure, if you know what you are doing, but how many gun owners have taken that type of intensive, situation specific training? I suspect only ex-military and police officers really have training in armed hand-to-hand combat, and no: going to the firing range every week only means that you are getting taregt practice in a sterile, controlled environment.
Robbery scenes are anything but "controlled," especially if you encounter someone out of his skull on meth or crack.
Of course, if you are like some TT posters who have a Charles Bronson / Death Wish view of the world, have at it. Just be sure you know what the f**k you are doing, and no: watching a bunch of movies does not constitute self-defense training.