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Everyone likes to think they are safe when out and about, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. Although some towns and cities have very low crime rates, there may be times and places where you feel potentially vulnerable to mugging. Though you may not realize it, you may be putting yourself in danger by practicing certain behaviors.
To avoid becoming a mugging victim, it’s best to take several precautions when you go out. There are various reasons a criminal may target someone specifically, and by becoming aware of these factors, you can take steps to protect yourself and avoid becoming a mugging statistic.
Signs That You are Vulnerable to Mugging
Straying From Well-Lit Streets
There are several advantages to staying on well-lit streets, especially if you are in an area you are unfamiliar with. Muggers do not want to be seen and therefore are more likely to target you if you are somewhere dimly lit with fewer people around as witnesses.
If you must go through an unfamiliar or dark alley, bring a flashlight with you and consider wearing something reflective such as a high visibility vest. If you choose an unfamiliar path because it acts as a shortcut to your destination, think twice about whether it is worth the potential risk of getting mugged.
Listening to Loud Music
Although it can be enjoyable to blast some loud music or a podcast when walking around outside, consider how doing so will limit your awareness of what is going on around you. Sound is one of your senses which help pick up on something suspicious, so it’s not ideal to mask your auditory senses while walking alone.
If you are walking through an unknown or unfamiliar area or feel unsafe, it’s best to turn the music off and remain alert. Keeping one step ahead of criminals is a good way to prevent them from seeing you as their next potential mugging target.
Looking Lost or Uncertain When Walking alone
Muggers are more likely to target someone who looks hesitant, uncertain, or vulnerable. If you plan to be out and about somewhere you don’t know all that well, or if you are on vacation, research your walking route ahead of time. Know where you’re going, and use a map or the satellite navigation system on your phone to follow the correct path. Avoid using a paper map since this is a sign that you are a tourist.
There are many sites online that can provide you with valuable information about the safest neighborhoods in a city and the ones to watch out for. If you’re new to a city, it’s a good idea to ask locals for their opinion on areas to avoid. Often local knowledge is crucial in helping you reduce your risk of dangerous situations in a new place, like getting mugged.
You’re Clearly By Yourself
You’re more likely to be targeted by a criminal if you’re outside alone, so walk with a group or a partner wherever possible. Wherever possible, and especially in areas that you are unfamiliar with, take at least one other person with you to reduce your chances of being targeted.
This applies especially if you’re walking home from a bar late at night. Many criminals look to target those who may be intoxicated and therefore have reduced awareness of what is happening around them, specifically if they are alone. Always leave a bar in a group, or if possible, have a designated driver take you back to your home when the night is over.
You’re Out Late at Night
Outings late at night when the streets have gone quiet put you at risk of becoming a mugger’s target. Limit the amount of time you spend outside late at night or in the early hours of the morning.
These hours are when criminals are the most active as there are fewer witnesses around to intervene. If you’re in doubt or feel unsafe about walking home at night, it’s best to get a taxi or a ride home, especially if your walk is a long one and you will be alone.
You’re Displaying Valuables and Don’t Blend in With the Locals
If you have designer shoes, handbags, or other expensive items, it may be tempting to show them off when you’re out and about, particularly in a new city. But be aware that people may notice you for all the wrong reasons.
Many criminals know how to spot expensive or designer items that they can profit off of and look to target people displaying those pieces. If you are traveling in a new city, it is always best to keep valuable items hidden. You should also avoid carrying or showing large amounts of cash as much as possible. Where possible, choose a cross-body bag that you can wear toward your front.
If you are on vacation, think about whether you blend into the crowd. While it may not always be possible to do, dressing like a local can prevent criminals from targeting you because you’ll look less vulnerable and noticeable. Your inhibitions may also be lower when enjoying yourself on vacation, and criminals who are aware of that will use it to their advantage to catch you off guard.
Stay Alert to Reduce Your Risk of Getting Mugged
One of the most important things you can do to make yourself less vulnerable to getting mugged is to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Free up all your senses to take a proper survey of the area you’re walking through, especially if you’re alone.
Avoid walking through suspicious or low-traffic areas, and try to plan your journeys in advance wherever this is possible. Speak to locals or seek local knowledge online if you are on vacation or visiting a new area on business.
Travel in a group when you can and avoid being out late at night or in the early hours of the morning when criminals are most active. If you follow these tips, you can significantly reduce your risk of getting mugged.
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