#2. Whether You Ask One Person for Help or Yell to the Crowd
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An individual person can be pretty dang cool. Take Ron Perlman for example -- pretty cool dude, and almost certainly just one guy, not a small group of people standing on each other's shoulders beneath a trenchcoat.
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"Del Toro originally tried that shit for Hellboy. Didn't work."
On the other hand, people in general are careless, lazy, and selfish. There's no better indication of this than the Bystander Effect, which we've talked about before. Basically, someone is more likely to help you if they're the only other person around. If they're in a crowd, everyone assumes that someone else will step up, completely oblivious to the fact that, usually, nobody does.
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"He's fine. My McFlurry is melting."
So let's say you're being harassed or mugged, and there are people all around you. Yelling at the top of your lungs, screaming for anybody to help is, unfortunately, about as effective as nailing a tablecloth over Old Faithful. If you don't want to be savagely beaten in a crowded Cheesecake Factory, you need to get personal. Specify your request as much as possible, and don't be afraid to make eye contact when doing so. Who exactly do you want to help you? The waiter? The pudgy guy with the dyed soulpatch? That lady that looks like late '80s-era Prince? What exactly is happening to you? Are you being savagely punched in the arms or flicked in the ears -- holy shit, is somebody trying to steal your cheesecake?! What exactly can people do to help you? Feel free to request specifics -- take down information, call the police, execute a flying spin-kick to the perpetrator's throat (thanks,'80s Prince Lady!). Providing as much detail as you can will help eliminate the Bystander Effect, and make it much more likely that people will respond to your dire plight with actual assistance instead of awkward stares and Facebook status updates.
#1. Whether or Not You Drive a Weird-Colored Car
Car theft sucks, but so does car theft prevention. More than 95 percent of car alarms are completely false, triggered by some jerk's loud exhaust, the rumble of a passing truck, or the faint dissatisfaction of a nearby squirrel, depending on the sensitivity of the alarm. Does anybody hear a car alarm anymore and actually go check to make sure the car's not being stolen? There has to be a more efficient theft prevention method, right?
"It protects my picnic baskets, it'll protect my ride."
There sure is, and it starts at the dealership. Do your research, take your test drive, decide on your ideal automobile, and then ask the dealer for the stupidest, ugliest clown-car paint job he's got. Thieves hate those damn things.
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"That's close, but is there a way we could paint all the glass too?"
A study of cars sold in the Netherlands showed that the dominant automobile colors since 1990 have been gray, black, and blue. By 2005, those three colors comprised over 80 percent of sales. Not coincidentally, those colors are also 40 percent more likely to be stolen. Sure, some of that is just correlation, not causation -- if most cars are gray, black, and blue, most stolen cars will be gray, black, and blue. But it goes beyond that: Car thieves, like most thieves, are opportunistic. They want to find the easiest car to steal that will net them the most money when they offload it. If they jack a bright purple and neon green Taurus, they're going to have to repaint it before anybody wants the damn thing (also, it'll be quite a bit more noticeable when the cops are looking for it). Why not just walk two blocks down and steal the gray Taurus there? It'll blend in far easier, get them more money, and they won't have to roll around town in a car that looks like the Predator lost a fight with Grimace.
20th Century Fox
"Don't let the smile fool you. That purple buttplug fights dirty."
So swallow your pride and get yourself an ugly orange, purple, or yellow whip. But if you want the utmost in security, go pink. Cars clad in Barbie's favorite hue are almost never stolen, because nobody wants to buy the damn things as-is, and paint jobs take time and money. Plus the other car thieves will totally make fun of them if they ever see them driving it. Car thieves are a notoriously insecure clique.
For more criminal activity, check out 25 Movie Heroes You Didn't Know Were Breaking the Law.
Related Reading: The dumbest criminals get themselves caught...usually by butt dialing. It's also weirdly common for thieves to upload selfies with stolen phones. If you want to see just how dumb crime can get, check out these idiots.