How To Avoid Being Mugged (Or at least cut down the risk)

Vernon Coleman

You're far more likely to be mugged when you're on holiday than you are when you are at home.

The most obvious reason is that when we are at home we tend to avoid areas which we know to be trouble spots but when we are away from home our curiosity often gets the better of our common sense and as a result we tend to wander around in completely unsafe areas. The rougher, more native parts of a city may be the most picturesque but they are often also the favourite haunts for muggers and pick-pockets.

But it isn't just where you wander which will decide whether or not you become a victim.

The way you behave on the street can decide whether or not you get mugged.

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. The prisoners all agreed on which people they would choose to mug. They did not select individuals by age, race, sex or looks. It was the way that people walked and moved and behaved that determined their fate.

So, if you want to reduce your chances of being mugged here are some things you should remember:

1. Walk at a good pace - sticking out your elbows. Try to walk in the funny, staccato way that people walk in old-fashioned black and white silent movies.

2. Wave occasionally as though you've seen a friend, a shopkeeper you know or a relative you've noticed in an apartment window overlooking the street.

3. If you can act crazy then do so. Muggers don't like crazies - they are too unpredictable. Try talking to yourself as you walk.

4. Try to look as tall and as broad as you can. Stick out your chest, push back your shoulders and hold your head high. Look like a physical winner rather than a loser. Don't shuffle along with your head down.

5. If you're walking through a dark or dodgy neighbourhood walk in the centre of the road - away from any possible ambush.

6. If you see someone who could be a mugger don't look at him. If you look at someone you're challenging him - and he'll probably 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 annoyed into commenting.

7. Try to look as much of a mess as you can. If you regularly drive and then park a motorcar in streets where muggings regularly take place, don't clean it. If you're dressed in evening wear put an old coat on top if you have to walk through a dangerous area. Muggers are quickly influenced by superficial appearances.

8. Take special care when crossing roads, getting out of or into a car or coming out of or into your home. It is at those times - when you are concentrating hard - that you are particularly vulnerable to muggers.

9. If you are approached by someone who looks like a mugger don't stop to fight or argue. You'll almost certainly lose. Do two things: run as fast as you can and make as much noise as you can.

10. 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 the muggers will probably decide to give you a miss. Copyright Vernon Coleman 2006

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2006