Tips on how to avoid Getting Robbed - Part 1 - by Anne-Marie Dingemans
This is not a guide to 'how to get robbed', but rather some helpful tips about how to avoid it and what to do when it does happen.
Most places in the world are not particularly more unsafe than any big city in the United States. The only reason that you statistically have a higher chance of loosing your valuables is because you are in an unfamiliar environment.
If you get robbed or pick pocketed, it's very likely that this will happen during the first couple of days (let's say, 3 days) of being in a new place. I think that the overload of new impressions, the attention you need for learning how to work the public transportation system, for trying not to get lost in the streets, combined with (often) jetlag, tiredness and getting used to a different climate, all this makes you less attentive to your surroundings.
A 'professional' (many criminals really specialize in a certain technique and develop great ability in their line of 'work') will pick up on those signals and take advantage of them. You won't be able to avoid being tired or unfamiliar with your environment, but you can try to fit in as much as possible by wearing the same type of clothes as the locals.
Tip 1: Try to fit in with your surroundings
So you shouldn't deck out in the typical tourist outfit of shorts, sneakers, T-shirt and a cap in a cosmopolitan city. It's a dead give-away.
If you're unsure where to go (and this is particularly true for public transportation) just pretend you know where you’re going and follow the crowds, until you come to a hall or other open, well-lit area where you can either ask a customer service agent for help or go stand next to the security guard while you look at your map.
Tip 2: Follow the crowds
Or treat yourself to a taxi. It's worth it.
I have personally experienced that thieves operate a lot on public transportation, especially those metro-, train- and bus lines that come from the airport. Think about it; a traveler that just arrived is usually tired, has all his valuables on him/her and will often stand still staring at a map, not concentrating on his/her environment. Ideal target for thieves, isn't it?
More to come..