Self Defense/witness protection


QUESTION: how real is the danger from criminals to those who agree to testify against them in court?I suppose that is different from case to case, but is there some general rules or guidelines? also, what is the likelihood of subsequent revenge of criminals if we prevent an attack on ourself or another?what is the danger to police of revenge of criminals they caught? do organized gangs, for example the Mafia, really have privileges in prison, if not now did they have them in the past? if there is pressure on the guards in the prison by friends of prisoners who are outside, for example, threatening a security guard's family, and what is the real danger in these threats? I apologize for the language mistakes, English is not my language.i live in Europe, the Balkans, but I suspect that your knowledge can be applied to my country.

ANSWER: It can be very real. It all depends on who is involved.

How strongly connected into the 'neighborhood' is the person doing the testifying? A single person with few social/familial connections is an easy target. A member of a powerful family, not so much.

How well embedded into a criminal group is the person being testified against? If the guy is a low ranking member, the rest of the group isn't going to risk it. If it's a high ranking member they're more likely to act to protect that person.

Is the accused dumb enough (or not connected enough that he has to) do it himself? Is he connected enough that others in his group will do it for him? On the highest levels of criminals assassinations can be committed by someone from a completely different criminal organization. Someone from Group A is facing charges. The head of Group A contact head of Group B. The accused is told to park his butt in a public place (under the security cameras) all night. Then someone from B - who has no connection what-so-ever and is therefore untraceable -- kills the potential witness/person who testified.

It's not so much if it's 'real.' It's if the group has the resources to do it. Also most of the stuff isn't actually killing, it's intimidating. Word gets out, don't help the cops.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thank you very much for your response. if you do not mind I would ask you a few more questions.
if I understood correctly, we should not in this case put a lot of confidence in the police and prosecutors, but more to the family and our social network, and then assess how much we will get involved. also, I think I was not clear in asking questions. When I wrote "what is the likelihood of subsequent revenge of criminals if we prevent an attack on ourself or another?", what I thought was the attack by the common street criminals, for instance some mugger, who is not a member of the mafia, for example. if he attacks 10 people and get away with it, and  the eleventh guy prevents him,he gets caught and goes to jail, what is the chance he will try to get revenge? it is likely that it depends on his and yours connections, but how often this happens on average.
you did not mention cases in prison. whether it's because the same principle at stake? if the prison guard has the support of colleagues and the community there is a small chance of him or his family being attacked. if nobody likes or appreciates him, from colleagues to the community, the greater the chance he will be targeted.
As for privileges in jail for high-ranking members of the mob, maybe you can not write about it. so I asked what it was like in the past, 50 or 60 years ago, because I guess  about that you can write. if not, it does not matter, I asked that only out of curiosity. all I know about America is from television, and we know how that is reliable.
I would like to thank you for your page, no nonsense self defense. it was of great help. perhaps it would be fun for you to learn how i found out about you. I searched in google, "best martial art for self-defense". Several hours later I found your page.through it I found a blog by Rory Miller and some other stuff. the two of you have helped to change the way I think about everything, not only about self-defense, so thank to him too if you can, in the name of a guy from Bosnia. I survived the war, but never fought with anyone since the end of elementary school, and I was not attacked by muggers in some backalley. It shows that you can learn how to survive the shelling, to live without electricity, water and food, and yet do not know enough about other types of violence.

My original answer is the same, "It all depends on who is involved."

The problem about explaining it is it's a long list of possible factors that add or subtract from the likelihood of it happening. But in general they boil down to who is involved, how connected are they, can they get away with/stop it?

Short of writing an encyclopedia set there's no way to answer your question with any accuracy.

Self Defense

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

See CV

Too numerous to list here. My CV (for my expert witness work in court) is at

Read "In the Name of Self-Defense" the streets don't give a Ph.D in scuffle.

Awards and Honors
See CV

Past/Present Clients
See CV

©2016 All rights reserved.