On the first day of protective services school, in the very first minute of class, you will learn one thing: DO NOT be time and place predictable. You vary your schedule, change your routes, eliminate as many choke points as possible from your daily travel, do everything possible to avoid being obvious and making yourself an easy target. The reasons why are simple:
If bad guys can nail you down to a specific time and place, they can formulate a plan to move against you. If you take the same route to your water source every day, bad guys will have no trouble setting up an ambush to ruin your day, relieve you of your weapons and provisions, and probably crack your nugget. Same goes for fishing at the same spot every day, following the same route home, visiting the same people frequently, etc. You get the idea.
If your schedule is set, bad guys can move against your stronghold while you are gone. If you leave the camp every day at the same time to hunt or fish, and a pattern begins to develop, people can estimate when you will leave and when you will return. This in turn allows them to plan an assault on your camp while you are minus one fighter (probably well armed). Now, my wife is no pushover, but I’m sure you would have a harder time raiding my camp if I were there.
Set schedules invite complacency. Complacency is that innate, internal voice within you that says “there’s no way anybody is watching my camp. There’s no way anybody is following me. Nothing bad could happen today.” The truth is, thinking like that invites exactly that sort of scenario. Changing your routine frequently forces you to think about security and tradecraft, and therefore heightens your awareness.
“Well, what if I can’t vary my schedule or avoid visiting the same places?” For example, what if there is only one water source in my area, and everybody knows that they have to go there to collect water?
Good point. Sometimes being time and place predictable is unavoidable. In such cases, I recommend employing two techniques: Watchers, and surveillance detection routes.
Watchers: Watchers are exactly what they sound like. They should trail you by a few minutes, far enough back to remain undetected but close enough to offer support in the event of an ambush. The secondary function of a watcher is to watch for watchers. In other words, they should be performing a counter-surveillance role and looking for people who might be following you. As such, a good watcher will be stealthy, able to move quietly through the woods, and be capable of partaking in violence should the need arise.
Surveillance Detection Routes: An SDR is a circuitous route that allows you to identify if you are being followed and/or shake the tail. They are performed by going in circles, backtracking, using choke points, etc. A good SDR will take at least thirty minutes (rules out anyone who’s just curious about you) and cover at least a mile. It should involve several direction changes, several choke points (think bridges, narrow paths, buildings with only one entrance/exit, etc), and at least one or two passes by your watcher (who should be static, concealed, and checking your six for any trailing surveillance).
Ok. That’s my two cents on the cardinal sin of being time and place predictable. I hope it helps you..