The 10 most common street attacks in the UK

In a 2001 article, Robert J. Nash of the Shotokan Karate Union, presented data highlighting the most common patterns of violent attacks made on both men and women.

All data had been gathered from interviews with both victims and offenders, mainly in the United Kingdom and, to a lesser extend, in Europe.

The lists are arranged in frequency order.


Male on Male, Close Quarters

  1. One person pushes, hands to chest, which is normally followed by the pushee striking first, to the head. 
  2. A swinging punch to the head. 
  3. A front clothing grab, one handed, followed by punch to the head.
  4. A front clothing grab, two hands, followed by a head butt. 
  5. A front clothing grab, two hands, followed by a knee to the groin. 
  6. A bottle, glass, or ashtray to the head.
    (Since then is that in the UK the banning of smoking and the greater action on glass has lead to glass damage becoming less common and glass is now a less common weapon than a knife.)
  7. A lashing kick to groin/lower legs. 
  8. A broken bottle/glass jabbed to face. 
  9. A slash with knife, most commonly a 3 to 4" lockblade knife or kitchen utility knife
    (apart from muggings, sexual assaults and gang violence, the hunting/combat type knife is seldom used
  10. A grappling style head lock. 

Offences Against the Person, Male on Female

This data was gathered from interviews with victims and offenders and from statements. Data only covers robbery/sexual methodology and changes relative to first contact with victim ie., venue/ night/day etc. Domestic violence is not covered as this is a specific subject of its' own. 

  1. The victim was approached from the rear/side/front, a threat was made with a weapon, and then the weapon was hidden. Then the victim's right upper arm was held by the attacker's left hand and the victim was led away. 
  2. A silent or rushing approach was made from the victim's rear, and then a rear neck/head lock applied and the victim dragged away. 
  3. The same approach as in #2, with a rear waist grab. The victim was carried/dragged away, normally into bushes/alley etc. 
  4. The victim was pinned to a wall with a throat grab with the attacker's left hand. A weapon-shown threat was made, and then the weapon hidden, and the victim led away. 
  5. The victim was approached from rear/ front/side. The attacker grabbed the victim's hair with his left hand, and then she was dragged away.


The Most Common Wrist Grips, Male On Female

  1. The attacker's left hand, thumb uppermost, gripping the victim's raised right wrist. The attacker threatens/ gesticulates with his right hand. 
  2. With the victim's right arm down, the attacker grips the victim's right upper arm with his left hand and her right wrist with his right hand. 
  3. The victim raises both arms, with both of her wrists gripped. The attacker's hands are vertical with the attacker's thumbs uppermost. 
  4. With the victim's arms down, the attacker grabs both upper arms. 
  5. With the victim's right arm down, the attacker's left hand grabs just below the right elbow, and his right hand grabs her wrist.   



Nash, R.J. (2001) Condition Black: assault in progress.