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The Intel Brief: Weekend Objective - My Observations
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This week's newsletter is a continuation from last week's. I'm going to give my observations from a downtown metro station I visited. The top picture is looking south and the bottom is looking north.
This space is a transitional area bridging the street to the train. This is a public space with multiple shops and vendors. Although this area is open to the general public, there are a few places that are reserved for specific people. There's a hallway which a key card is needed for access and behind the shop counters, for example.

These areas are reserved for the vendors and shop owners. People with access to the restricted area, walk up to the door with their key card in hand to scan prior to accessing the door. I noticed a few individuals who kept their key card attached to their hip via a retractable key chain. Someone who is not authorized to access this area, can be expected to meet resistance from the door and vendors. If the individual continues, the police would be called.

As the day moves on, I would expect to see this passageway to have more foot traffic with people stopping along the way to visit the shops and vendors.  

The area as a whole, has a positive vibe. The noise level is what you would expect for this area, loud but cheerful and busy. The area is generally clean, there wasn't any trash or junk laying around. The vendors and metro workers frequently tidy up their areas. This shows me that the area is orderly and the everyone wants to keep it that way. There is some graffiti on the shop's barriers that haven't yet opened for the day. However, the graffiti itself helps me understand the environment better.

I don't recognize the tags to be any type of criminal organization. I can see that the graffiti was done in a hurry while the shops were closed. This shows me that whoever did this, was worried about being caught in the act. There are faint outlines of old graffiti that was cleaned up. Meaning, the shop owners and metro employees do not condone this type of behavior.

Overall, this feels like a safe place. Most of the people using the metro were familiar with the stop and comfortable moving through. These people moved through the station without a hitch. They didn't stop to look for directions, and a few even exchanged pleasantries with vendors as they passed. On the other hand, there were one or two people who were unfamiliar/uncomfortable and stopped to get directions from a chart on the wall. As soon as they found where they needed to go, their behavior changed to being more relaxed and comfortable as they proceeded with their journey.   

There are several types of people I would expect to see coming through this area: commuters, travelers, vendors, metro workers, and patrons of the shops. Each type of person will take certain actions that allow me to identify any anomalies or deviations from what is going on in the area. 

This is, essentially, a baseline of this area. I could have gone into more detail, and there are a few things I left out that I may discuss on another occasion. With that being said, the point of this exercise is not teach you how to create a baseline, but to get you to look more in depth at the places you visit. In other Weekend Objectives,  I'll task you with similar objectives to help you hone you observation skills. If you're interested in learning how to get a baseline of your environment, check out the courses over at the CP-Journal.
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Stay Safe,

Chris Pendas
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