The Natural Predatory Nature of Humans

A study published in Nature shows us that both evolution and genetics have made a big impact on the behavior of humans…including in the case of murder. However, as we have become more civilized, these instincts have been muted.

Scientists have looked at the rate of homicide in more than 1,000 species, and they noticed something interesting: The rates of these lethal acts are similar, which means that evolution of each species can give us a good idea of how violent each species really is.

This study states that humans are part of a violent group of similar mammals. These mammals all evolved at the same time, together. Plus, all of these mammals have murderous and violent pasts. So, what does this mean for us? It means that we are violent today because our ancestors were violent.

When you look at all mammals, about three in 1,000 are murderers. However, when you specifically look at humans, the average over time is about 20 in 1,000. Furthermore, when you examine certain time periods, such as the medieval period, this rate rose to about 120 murderers in 1,000. These numbers have fortunately fallen, however, and today, it stands at about 13 murderers per 1,000 people.

So, we are killing each other much less frequently today than we used to 1,000 years ago. However, we are still not as peaceful as other mammals. For instance, killer whales, which we believe to be quite violent, have a murder rate of almost zero against their own species.

We are much more violent than whales, but when we compare our murder rates to those of cougars, baboons, or lemurs, we are less violent. All of these animals have a murder rate of about 100 per 1,000.

Since this research looked at violence by comparing species that are closely related, it is not surprising that these species are similarly violent. It is also interesting that the more closely related a species is, the more similar their instances of violence.

It’s quite difficult to actually calculate the rates of violence among our ancestors, but we are able to get a good idea thanks to archaeological evidence. It was found that by looking at these sites, that violence rates were lower among people who had some type of government or culture. This also suggests that murder rates among a species can be reversed. In fact, this evidence shows that it can decrease or increase based on ecological, cultural, or social factors. This evidence is similar to what was found in a study done at Harvard, which specifically looked at violent crimes including rape and murder.

When looking at these facts, we find that humans are territorial and social, but also naturally violent. As we have developed over time and found more civilized activities, our rates of violence have gotten lower. What’s even more interesting is that most mammals aren’t murderers towards their own species…but some, such as lions, wolves, and primates, which includes humans, engage in violent actions.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.

Predators: Nurture or Nature?

Have you ever watched a flock of seagulls on the beach? I live in close proximity to the ocean, and I see them all day: fishing, eating, and ultimately stealing from each other. Usually a more aggressive seagull chases and screams at a gull that’s just cracked open a clam. Sometimes the aggressor will snatch a fish right out of another’s beak, midflight. While this behavior may be cruel and unfair, it is natural. In the animal world, the strong thrive and the weak perish. It’s survival of the fittest.

Humankind has the conscious ability to discern that stealing is wrong, and the civilization to enforce laws against stealing. Nevertheless, there have always been thieves, many motives that go beyond hunger.

Theft is generally motivated either by greed, drug addiction, or survival instinct. Some thieves are born predators, wired that way from the start. Predators, by nature, fail to see any reason to refrain from harming or robbing others. To them, victimizing you is an entitlement. They can conjure a hundred reasons to explain why you deserve to be violated.

On the other hand, some predators are nurtured. These are people who may have been born into a destructive or abusive home, and over time, under the influence of others, developed drug or mental health issues. Their circumstances and confusion force them into survival mode. To hunt, harm, and rob their fellow man.

The chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime are real. It is essential that you be able to recognize predators all around you, in their different forms. They may look and act like us, but they think very differently. They have no respect for any boundaries between themselves and you, your home, or your small business. It is therefore essential that you protect what is yours.

That includes protecting yourself, through self-defense skills, and your stuff, with home security alarms, layers of protection, and a fire–resistant Big Bolt Safe from the best in the business, SentrySafe.

Robert Siciliano is a Personal and Home Security Expert for SentrySafe discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures

Do You Let Your Kids Out Unsupervised?

Back 30-35 years ago there were house break-ins like there are today, but home security systems were scarce and people weren’t all that concerned either. A lot has changed.

When I was in elementary school, my parents would let us walk to school, walk home, play outside all day and my mother or father would scream at the top of their lungs calling us to come in after dark.

My father and I joke about this all the time. He told me one time he was calling my brother who wasn’t answering him and he got a little panicked. He started his hunt and found my brother lying down in the driveway sleeping.

When I was 12 my father let my brother and I go into downtown Boston to do some shopping. When we got off the train 5 kids followed us, surrounded us, I resisted, they smacked me around and took all my money. That was my first real experience with predators. I quickly learned about situational awareness and being aware of my surroundings. Not a day goes by now that I don’t “benefit” from that horrible incident.

Recently news reports of “Brooklyn Missing Boy: Police Arrest Man the Dismembered Child Had Asked for Directions” reminded us about how there always have been predators, there are predators today, and there always will be predators and we have to take steps to protect ourselves and those we care for.

My kids are young, so they don’t leave my sight. Someday I’ll need to let them go off on their own. But by that time I’ll be 85 and they’ll be in their 40’s so it won’t be so bad.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist toHome Security Source discussing Child Abductions on MSNBC. Disclosures

How the Grandparent Scam Works

Remember when you were a kid, before “caller ID” (I’m showing my age here), you and your friends would make prank calls by picking up the phone and dialing any number and eventually someone would pick up the phone, you’d hang up, and laugh hard? Then do it another dozen times and with each call you would infuriate the caller, then laugh harder?

You learned that if you make enough calls, eventually you will get someone on the phone that was gullible and you could get a good laugh out of them over and over.

This same process/philosophy is what plays into telephone fraud scams. One of the easiest and most vile scams on the block is the “Grandparent Scam”.

The phone rings and an elderly person answers the phone. They may be slightly hard of hearing, and the caller says either “Grammy, Granny, Grandma, Nana, Nonna, Papa, Baba or Grandpa?”  The elderly person says ‘Yes” and the caller states “It’s your grandson!” When the elderly person responds and rattles off a name of a grandchild and says “Robby is that you”, the scammer responds “YES!” and knows he’s got a fish on the hook.

Now that the “relationship” has been established the scammer proceeds to prey upon the good nature of the grandparent and uses their love of their grandchild against them. The scammer begins to hem and haw that they’ve been arrested or are stranded or car broke down or lost their wallet and need the grandparent to wire some money to them. Once the grandparent agrees they instruct the victim to go the address of the local check cashing place that wires money and the scammer siphons as much as possible out of their victim.

This scam works so well because the victim is hooked within the first minute of the call. Once the predator sinks their teeth into their victim they will work on them until they have no money left in the world.

If there is someone in your life that could possibly, even remotely fall for this scam you need to educate them on what to look for. Put systems in place to make it difficult for them to make financial withdrawals without a cosigner.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover.

Security Increases After Grad Student Attack Off Campus

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

I see headlines like this every day. “Security increases” because we wait until something bad happens until we do something about it. How about we increase security right now because there is a small chance something bad can happen? Like the Boy Scouts, “Be Prepared.

Some time ago a home invasion in Connecticut took the lives of a mother and her two daughters while the Doctor father was tied up in the basement. Bad things happened to the women and the home was eventually set ablaze. This is the single worst home invasion I’ve ever seen. The case is in the courts now. This is a perfect example of what “Predators” are.

There always has been, is, and always will be predators stalking their prey. Unfortunately, this is the natural order of life. Predators are a part of many of life’s species. Growing up my dad sat me in front of the TV and made me watch documentaries on animal behavior.

“In the animal world”, he pointed out, and then he specifically pointed towards the lion and said “there are predators and their natural prey”. The lion hunts and stalks other animals and kills, then eats them. He explained that it’s normal for the lion to kill, its OK, it might not be nice of the lion, but that’s just the way it is.

He went on to say that in the human world, it’s the exact same thing. That there are human beings that act exactly as the lion, and its normal. Its not OK, its not nice, but that’s just the way it is. Lots to digest when you are 12. The fact is dad was right.

Some may know the story of the “Frog and the Scorpion.” Scorpion asks a frog to take him across the river on his back. Frogs like, no way dude you’ll kill me. Scorpion says “hey man, I won’t kill you, if I did I’d drown too” Frogs like, “OK man, sounds reasonable, lets do it”. Frog gets halfway across the river and the scorpion stings him! Surprised, the frog asks why, because now they will both drown, scorpions says, “Stupid frog, I’m a scorpion, its what we do. Predators are predators by nature.

There are over 500,000 registered sex offenders in the US. There are thousands more that aren’t registered and many more that simply haven’t been caught.

It’s unfortunate they can’t just be kept in jail. But this is the land of the free and the brave and we have rights. Even the child molesters have rights.

So here’s the deal. If you live in a house (which most of us do), chances are there are sex offenders near where you live and work. Its not enough to know that there are bad guys out there looking for their next victims. It’s important to do something about it. Take a self defense class, bone up on your eye gouging, and teach those you love how to protect themselves. Remember, once a scorpion, always a scorpion.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing Predators on the Gayle King Show