How To Make Yourself A Crime Free Zone
The way you dress, walk and
behave can determine whether or not you become a victim of
In an experiment conducted in New York,
a hidden video camera was used to film a wide variety of men and women walking
down the same street.
The film was then shown
to groups of convicted muggers.
Every one of
the muggers agreed on which people they would choose to
They did not select individuals by age,
race, sex or looks.
It was the way that people
walked and moved and behaved that decided their
So, if you want to reduce your chances of
being mugged or attacked here are ten things that you should remember.
1. Muggers are quickly influenced by superficial appearances. First of
all they always choose to attack people who look as though they might be worth
attacking. If you have to dress up in smart evening clothes and then walk
through a rough area put an old coat on top - try to look as much of a mess as
you can. If you have to drive and then park your car in streets where muggings
regularly take place don't clean it. Muggers are attracted to shiny, brand new
2. If you're walking alone in a new area where you feel vulnerable
and frightened try waving occasionally as though you have seen a friend or a
relative. Say `hello' to shopkeepers or wave cheerily to people hanging out of
apartment buildings. Muggers much prefer victims who are lonely as well as
3. Walk tall. Try to look as big and as broad as you can. Stick
out your chest, push back your shoulders and hold your head up high. Muggers are
usually cowards - they invariably prefer to attack people who look weak. Don't
shuffle along with your head down. And walk at a good pace. Muggers usually go
for people who walk slowly. If you travel fast there is a good chance that you
will be out of range before the mugger has decided what to do.
4. If you
see someone who looks like a potential mugger don't look at him. Muggers often
lack self-confidence and have tremendous chips on their shoulders. If you look
at a would-be mugger he will consider it a challenge and he will feel that he
has to respond. If you have to pass a group of potential muggers try to walk
past as though you haven't seen them. Don't respond and don't allow yourself to
be tricked into making any comment - whatever you say will probably be used as
an excuse for a physical attack.
5. Take special care at vulnerable
moments. If you are walking through a dark or dodgy neighbourhood walk in the
centre of the road - away from any possible ambush. Take special care when
crossing roads, getting out of or into a car or coming out of your home. It is
at those times - when you are concentrating hard on what you are doing - that
you are particularly vulnerable to muggers and attackers.
6. Always try
to look relaxed and at ease. If you are walking tensely or nervously through a
dangerous district then you will attract muggers like a jam pot attracts wasps.
Try to look cool and confident and unconcerned - however you may feel inside -
and the muggers will probably give you a miss.
7. If you are approached
by someone who looks like a potential mugger don't stop to fight or to argue.
Even trained self-defence experts always say that the best form of self-defence
is to run away. So run away as fast you can and make as much noise as you
possibly can. Shout and scream as loud as you are able. If you can't run then
act crazy. Muggers don't like 'nutters' - they are too unpredictable. Try
talking to yourself - very loudly - as you walk. Or chat away to walls and
8. However frightened you are try not to show it. If you show
that you are afraid then your would-be assailant will feel stronger and more
powerful. He will be more - not less - likely to hit you. Remember that muggers
and people who commit violent crimes are usually cowardly. But try, too, to show
him that you are not a threat to him. Try to keep your voice calm and relaxed.
Try to look cool and relaxed. If you threaten him - or push him into a corner -
then he may become more aggressive, particularly if he has friends around who he
thinks he has to impress.
9. Try to get a would-be assailant to sit
down. People are always less aggressive and less likely to become violent when
they are sitting than when they are standing. Encourage him to talk to you - it
doesn't matter what you talk about. If he obviously feels angry about some
injustice then encourage him to tell you about it. Let him get his gripes off
his chest. Listen and offer encouragement. Nod your head to show that you are
listening attentively. If you show that you are sympathetic he will be less
likely to be violent to you. If he will listen to you then offer him advice and
suggestions about ways in which he may be able to deal with his problem. He is
probably lonely and frightened. Be his friend - for the time being at any rate.
If you offer him alternatives - and hope - he will be less likely to harm you.
But never threaten or command. He probably hates figures of authority. Talk in a
gentle voice. Be friendly rather than bossy or arrogant. And don't make the
mistake of trying to win him over by making aggressive statements of your own -
you may annoy him.
10. Use body language to make him feel comfortable.
When you are talking open your hands towards him - that simple gesture will help
to make him feel more comfortable and more relaxed. Don't look him straight in
the eye and never try to stare a would-be mugger down. You will make him feel
uncomfortable and threatened if you do. Look at his face or chest but keep your
eyes away from his eyes. Try not to show any emotion; try to keep your muscles
relaxed. If you become tense then he will become tense. If you stay relaxed then
he will probably stay relaxed. If you are both standing (and you haven't managed
to get him to sit down) try to keep slightly more than an arms length between
the two of you. It is vital that you don't threaten him or make him feel
uncomfortable or trapped. Wild animals and human assailants behave in much the
same way - wild animals are much more aggressive and dangerous when they are
trapped. Your aim must always be to relax your would-be assailant.
Copyright Vernon Coleman 2003