1. Dress to discourage unwanted attention from muggers. Some things that might make you a more likely target are:
- Dressing like a tourist. If you’re obviously not a local, you’re more likely to be targeted, as tourists tend to be less aware and carry cash on them.
- Sporting your bling. Wearing obvious, flashy jewelery or watches.
- Carrying a large purse, laptop case, backpack or suitcase. Anything that might contain valuables makes you a you a desirable target.
2. Stick to well-lit and populated areas. Muggers don’t like witnesses so they are far less likely to target people where there are others around or they are likely to be seen.
3. Know where you are going. Muggers often prey on tourists or people who are lost. Before venturing into an unfamiliar place, map out the route you wish to take and look confident that you know where you’re going. Avoid looking scared and confused.
4. Avoid dangerous parts of town, or unfamiliar neighborhoods known to be unsafe. If possible, try not to walk through dangerous or unfamiliar parts of town where safety is questionable, especially at times of day when there are few others out. Bad neighborhoods with little foot traffic are especially risky. If you aren’t sure, talk to locals to learn what places aren’t safe. Even if you life in what’s considered a bad neighborhood, don’t assume you’ll be safe in one where you don’t live or with which you’re unfamiliar.
5. Walk with a sense of purpose. As suggested in number 3, if you are wandering aimlessly or look lost you are more likely to become a target.
6. Travel in groups. This is especially true for females. The buddy system works. Muggers are much more likely to go after individuals than groups.
7. Bike, rather than walk. A moving target is harder to hit. Riding quickly through the streets on a bike makes you far more difficult to confront than a pedestrian.
8. Stay alert for possible dangers. You can minimize the likelihood of being surprised by doing the following:
- Pay attention to your surroundings and avoid distractions. You become an easier target when do things like listen to music on headphones, talk on the phone, read a map or anything else that takes your attention away from your surroundings.
- Walk as close to the middle of the sidewalk as possible, on the side of the street facing oncoming traffic. This avoids the risk of someone in a car or bicycle coming unseen from behind you and grabbing you or your bag, and gives you a better angle to see in doorways or alleys and a better path to escape if attacked.
9. Take action if you sense danger or are attacked. If you believe you are being followed, head directly toward a populated area, cafe, bar or other well-attended place. Make noise or call for help. Don’t be afraid to draw attention to yourself. If you are overpowered or cannot escape, handing over money or a wallet may save you from serious harm.
Here are a few additional strategies to consider in a mugging situation. Don’t be tricked into being too nice, especially if you’re from out of town. For example, asking for the time is a classic trick used by muggers to distract victims and locate valuables. Looking down or putting a hand in a pocket leaves you vulnerable to attack. You can check the time, but keep an eye on the person who asked you.
Also, if you frequent high risk areas or live in one, consider making a “mugger’s wallet”. Muggers wallets are simply wallets with several fake credit cards and a few bills of real money. If you are attacked, handing this wallet over to the mugger may satisfy him and give you a better chance to escape.
Finally, when you travel, divide your money, passport, other identification and credit cards among a variety of locations (e.g., a wallet, a money belt, and a suitcase). This way, if you lose one of these things, you will not be completely stuck without ID or money.
If you employ some defensive tactics when out and about, you can prevent the trauma of being mugged.
(Much of the content from this article was derived from an article of the same subject on WikiHow. Check with your local law enforcement agency for additional tips on preventing mugging and similar crimes.)
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