Muggings are a common occurrence in cities, but you don’t have to fall victim to them. By keeping your wits about you and remaining prepared while out in public, you can take the necessary steps to avoid being an easy target for muggers.
Walk with purpose wherever you go.
One of the first things a mugger will look for in a potential victim is the way in which they walk: their posture, their stride length, the way in which they move their feet, and more. A person with an overstretched or shortened stride, who has an awkward foot movement, and who swings their arms in a lackadaisical way is sure to gain attention, as they are bound to put off an insecure, weak, immature energy—one which will make them appear as if they can be easily overpowered.
To avoid coming off this way, it is best to walk with purpose: exert confidence through your stride by taking powerful, purposeful steps; swing your feet and arms naturally, all while shifting your body with ease, to make it appear as if you have control over your entire body; stand tall and appear as if you are fixated on something; walk at the speed of people around you or a little faster. By exuding confidence, you can effectively dissuade a mugger from approaching you.
Make sure people know you’re aware of them.
While you shouldn’t be staring at people as you walk down the street, a lot can be said for letting them know you are aware of their presence. A brief few-seconds glance can help to let someone know you see them, whether they have ill intentions or none at all. If you suspect someone is attempting to size you up, consider giving them regular glances to let them know that you are aware of their presence and are not appreciative of it. If they do not seem to back down, attempt to get the attention of a nearby stranger or group of people. Other considerations could be to enter into a highly popular restaurant or store where there are bound to be a lot of people. You can help to avoid a mugging by simply bringing more attention to yourself in a public setting.
Don’t flaunt your wealth if you have it.
We’ve talked about confidence, and many people might consider showing wealth as a display of confidence. This is somewhat true, but it can greatly backfire in the case of muggings. Flaunting the latest phone, an expensive watch, or walking down an alley in a rich three-piece suit are all bad ideas. Every one of these choices is bringing attention to you, yes, but it’s the attention that’s better checked at the door when concerned with a possible mugging. If you have any personal items of wealth on your person, consider storing them inside of your jacket or a bag while traveling through the city. It’s better to keep them out of the public eye rather than on display.
Avoid focusing on your phone too much.
Staring at your phone is a good way to be unaware of your surroundings; moreover, it’s a great way to not see a potential mugger, all while gaining their attention—as they’ll see you as an unsuspecting victim. If you’re headed through an area you are unaware of, consider taking out your headphones to stay alert. If you’re trying to make your way to a date downtown, don’t spend your entire time reading your directions off your phone. Rather than responding to text messages and checking your social media accounts incessantly, consider keeping an eye on the people passing you by. Appearing more alert is a great way to get attention off of you from someone looking for a mugging victim.
Traveling? Try to look like you belong.
Muggers in cities with high rates of tourism will often seek out tourists. Unsuspecting tourists are a common target as they are already unaware of the places they are traveling to and can easily be tricked and mugged through various methods they know even less about. To protect yourself, it’s in your best interest to fit in however possible. This involves dressing similarly to locals, keeping your wits about you as you travel, appearing as if you are acquainted with the city at large (don’t be constantly looking at directions on your phone or a map), and generally appearing confident with your decisions, whether taking specific streets or entering one shop or another. Again, confidence can be your best friend in this case, so it’s important to appear like a local so you aren’t preyed upon by native muggers looking to swindle a tourist.
Carry a self-defense weapon on you.
This might not stop you from being a target for a mugger, but it’s a great way to stop a mugging from ever taking place. Whether it’s a non-lethal self-defense weapon such as a baton or stun gun or a more lethal weapon such as a knife or gun, simply flaunting one of these items can help deter a mugger from further approaching you. If the mugging still takes place, you can yield your weapon to effectively incapacitate your attacker, providing you with ample time to escape the situation and seek out help from passersby or local law enforcement.
Alone at night? Look menacing, if possible.
Remember walking with purpose and confidence? This is taking it a step further. If you’re walking alone at night, you’ll want to make yourself appear a bit more menacing. This can involve walking with your shoulders lifted, jaw clenched, eyes sharpened, hands closed into fists, and walking faster than normal with a much more precise stride. The best way to think of this is to consider yourself as if you were walking in the military—you would walk with precision to both show strength, intimidation, and personal courage.
Avoid Being a Target
These tips might not stop you entirely from being targeted by a mugger, but they can certainly help avoid you ever becoming a part of the situation, to begin with. By remaining prepared, confident, and imposing, you can let would-be muggers be aware of your presence, letting it be physically known you are not a person to bother.
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