In counter-surveillance terms a Cleaning Run is a process that cleans away any Tail that you may have picked up. It's generally done on foot to avoid a physical confrontation with criminals, but if you ever feel you're being followed, it's a process that you can also do in your car.
Some time ago I watched an episode of 'The Wire' (a police action drama - see photo above), and was surprised to see that the story-line included an example of doing a Cleaning Run in a car. It's quite simple, and went like this :
Three cops were trying to tail a drug lord, but to make sure he wasn't being followed, he did a cleaning run through deserted suburban streets. First he stopped and parked his car, just to have a look around at who might have stopped as well. Then he did a quick U-turn and drove slowly, watching in the mirror to see if anyone else turned around. Then he turned up a laneway and just waited. When the cops drove past, he smiled and waved. The police then withdrew, because they knew that the drug lord wasn't going to lead them anywhere important while he knew he had a tail.
It was a short scene, but it was interesting to see an example of how a cleaning run can be performed in a car.... even if it was the bad guy who won the day.
So if you think you're being followed, you could apply any of these techniques :
- do a U-turn and casually check to see if anyone does the same
- slow down to a crawl, and see if anyone else slows down as well
- park on a street somewhere, use your mirrors to look around, then pull-out slowly as you safely check to see if anyone follows... and if they do, note the colour and make of the vehicle, or even try to get a partial plate number to report to the police.
- do a U-turn, and casually check
- slow down and casually check
- park, pull-out, and casually check.
And when you feel it's safe to do so, try to get a look at the vehicle, and the driver. Then go and report the incident to Police. Tell them the techniques you used to expose the person who has been following you, together with any other details you can remember.
It's Primal Protection.