I have walked and traveled in what is considered some quite dangerous places. I can count on one hand the times I have had criminals even attempt to separate me from my money or possessions, and never did they gain a thing. Staying safe in the urban jungle seems to come natural to me, but also living in and around criminals has helped me understand their nature.
I now live in Puerto Rico. Many say the crime here is terrible. I have been told I shouldn’t wear my Nike shoes; that they will steal them off my feet.
For all you who said such a thing, I have been in what are considered to be the most dangerous areas here and I have had no issues. To be honest, I have felt in more danger when I was involved in some very political and confrontational stuff in Lebanon, Missouri.
In this post, I am going to share just some simple tips and tricks on staying safe when walking or traveling in known areas that are havens for the criminal elements. But first, you should:
Understand the minds of criminals
One of the first things “rookie” prison inmates are taught is to stand up for yourself. You must show a “no fear” attitude and be willing to fight for what is rightfully yours.
While I am not proud to admit it, I did spend a few years in a prison. That was many years ago, but there are some things about that experience I will never forget.
While I will not go into that too deeply, I did learn many things about criminals. First, the majority do not want confrontation if at all possible. If you look like you may put up a fight or could possibly be carrying a firearm, most smart criminals will look for someone else.
Before you go out into that urban jungle, try to use the mindset of a criminal. What will they look for and do you look like a potential victim?
Some tips on staying safe
Most criminals study a potential victim before they attempt their crime. How you carry yourself can be a prime deterrent or an obvious reason. If you walk with confidence, and look like you have no fear, even when in the worst places, the majority of criminals will think twice.
I must put a disclaimer here: drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin can make stupid criminals. Some of these may try to rob even a police officer. These tips may not work if the criminal is full of drugs. I really cannot provide a straight on tip for drug crazed criminals, because their behavior can be erratic.
For men, just carry small amounts of money in your billfold. Put important credit cards, money and other important things in a hidden spot on your person. If robbed, just hand over the billfold, and tell them no, you have nothing more.
For women, do the same with items in your purse as the tip above.
Do not walk clutching your purse as if you have something valuable in it.
Stay away from dark and lonely areas.
Do not wear expensive jewelry. Criminals spot these signs immediately.
Stay aware of your surroundings. If you have a suspicious person following you, walk towards a safe zone (police station, fire department, shopping center).
Carry a cheap wallet and cell phone that is just for a give-away to criminals. Put a few dollars and some trash papers in the billfold.
Scan copies of all travel documents. This will give you proof if they are stolen.
Nice strangers may be criminals…be suspicious and do not trust them.
Try as hard as possible to look like you reside in the location. If you look like a tourist, you are a prime target.
Make sure you are insured.
If you are drinking, be aware of your drink. Drugging tourist drinks is a great way to rob and rape them.
It really is easy to stay safe, but do not assume it cannot happen to you. Do not be fearful, staying safe means acting normal, but being wise.
If you have any questions or comments, just post them below.