How to Avoid Getting Robbed
When Kwan Booth got robbed in his neighborhood in Oakland, California, he was left in turmoil, one part of him felt shocked, and the other felt pity for the young men who had robbed him. He was walking home early one night when the group of three young men cornered him and ordered him to hand over his valuables, including his phone and cash. He had lived in the city for more than twelve years in similar neighborhoods. The incident only took a few minutes, during which the robbers emptied Booth’s wallet and had him unlock his phone before they took off. Booth had seen a pistol on one of them and shuddered to think of what might have happened if he had resisted (Booth 2016). Booth’s experience is not unique as many other people have been victims of robbery. Although one may not always be able to avoid being the victim of such crimes, there are various actions that people can take to reduce their chances of falling victim to a robbery.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations defines robbery as “ the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear” (FBI, 2019). In 2019, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program reported approximately 267,988 incidences of robbery across the country. However, this number could be much higher due to unreported incidents. Most of these incidents, 34.3%, took place on the street or highways (FBI, 2019). Other places where people feel victim to robberies include residences, gas stations, banks, convenience stores, and others. Getting robbed is quite a traumatic experience that could end in severe harm to the victim. For this reason, people need to be aware of some of the actions they should take to avoid falling victim to a robbery.
Since most robberies happen on the streets and highways, people should take caution when moving around these areas. The Metropolitan Police Department offers some tips for personal safety. The first way to avoid being robbed is to avoid walking alone during late hours whenever possible. Robbers target lone people during late hours as there are likely very few people around who will come to the rescue of the victim. If one cannot avoid being out late at night, they should try to walk in groups as there is safety in numbers. A robber is less likely to attack a group of people compared to a single target.
Another safety tip is to avoid potential places where robbers might be lurking. These include secluded areas such as vacant lots, alleys, and areas with heavy vegetation. These places tend to be dark with little traffic, meaning that robbers can make out their targets as they know there are few people around. With poor lighting, a robber can pounce on their victim without warning, and it is also less likely that the incident will be visible from the surrounding. Robbers identify potential hiding places that work to their advantage, so any person on foot should make sure they avoid such places. Anyone walking on foot should also make sure to stick to the sidewalks as much as possible while also keeping close to the curb(Metropolitan Police Department 2021).. Sidewalks usually have good lighting and foot traffic that are a deterrent for robbers.
Walking against traffic is another safety tip that people walking on foot should keep in mind. Walking with traffic makes it easier for robbers to follow or force one into a vehicle. Walking against traffic makes it easier for a person on foot to see any suspicious approaching vehicles or individuals and get away as soon as possible. Keeping friends and family aware of one’s whereabouts also allows for easy monitoring. For example, it is crucial to let someone know when to expect you back, making it easier to tell when something goes wrong. It also allows for easier location of potential whereabouts in case of an abduction or violent robbery where one could be left seriously injured.
Showing an awareness of the environment is another critical tip to avoid getting robbed. One should always look around to see what is going on around them. For example, wearing earphones or headphones with high volume can impede one’s ability to hear what is going on. People must make sure that they keep the volume low enough to allow them to detect any strange sounds and goings-on around them. Robbers usually target those who seem like easy marks, such as people who do not appear confident of their surroundings. For example, anyone who seems lost or unsure of where they are going is an easy mark. To avoid this, one must make sure that they display confidence in their knowledge of their surroundings. Some ways of doing this are walking directly and at a steady pace. Avoid looking around in a way to suggest unawareness of the environment.
Anyone walking on foot should be aware of the risk of robbery and take steps to deal with any incidences that might occur. One way to dress in clothes and accessories that allow for easy movement. For example, if planning to walk along the streets for a significant distance, wear comfortable shoes that allow for brisk walking and even running if confronted by any danger. Additionally, any heavy packages and items that hinder movement should be avoided (Metropolitan Police Department 2021). Another common-sense measure that helps one avoid getting robbed is to never accept rides from strangers, as this exposes one to the avoidable risk of being robbed. Further, people should avoid carrying and displaying large sums of cash and expensive items such as jewelry in public as this attracts the attention of potential robbers. The idea is to remain as low-key as possible to not attract the attention of any potential robbers.
Being in public requires some basic skills to remain safe. One critical tip for safety is always to trust your instinct. When in a place where you do not feel safe or around people that make you nervous, get away from such situations as soon as possible. It is better to be safe and sorry, as instincts are almost always accurate. Familiarizing oneself with places of work and residence is also essential to staying safe. This tells you the places to avoid and where to seek help in case of anything. It is also essential to know the location of local fire stations, hospitals, police stations, and other public spaces that remain open at all times to give you options in case of an emergency.
Robbers particularly target ATMs as they know people in these areas usually carry cash. There are several precautions that people getting money from ATMs should observe. The first of these is to try to use ATMs in banks rather than those located away from the main banks. Banks usually have good security, meaning that robbers avoid them. Before using an ATM, look around for any suspicious activity, such as people lurking around with no apparent purpose as they might be targeting ATM users. In case of any suspicion, avoid the branch and look for another one. Second, never leave the ATM location while carrying cash in hand. Make sure to keep all the money in your pockets, wallet, or purse before leaving. Carrying large sums of money openly makes you a target. When using ATMs after dark or during late hours, make sure that it is in a well-lit and secure area to avoid the risk of getting robbed.
In some cases, it is impossible to avoid being robbed, and in such cases, there are ways to protect oneself from further harm. Although the loss of valuable property can be traumatizing, it is important to note that all material items are replaceable, but there is no way of getting back life and health lost in the process of protecting material wealth. When cornered by robbers, the first step is to give up any items they demand without resisting. Also, make sure to observe any details about the robbers, such as physical appearance, that might be useful in identifying them later. If there are people around who might help, make sure to sound the alarm by screaming, running, and drawing attention to a potential robbery situation.
In summary, anyone can fall victim to robbery, and it is important to be aware of some safety tips to protect oneself, especially in public. Most of the measures involve common sense and alertness. Awareness of one’s surrounding and showing confidence are some of the most crucial ways to avoid getting robbed. However, when one cannot get out of a robbery situation, it is recommended that one cooperates with the robbers to save their lives and protect their physical wellbeing. Getting robbed is a traumatic experience that might leave one scarred for life. These basic safety tips are critical to reducing the chances of getting robbed in situations that can be avoided.
Booth, Kwan. 2016. “I was robbed and I didn’t call the police. Here’s why.” The Guardian. Retrieved 1 June 2021. (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/03/robbed-police-crime-oakland-california)
Federal Bureau of Investigations. 2019. “2019 Crimes in the United States.” Retrieved June 1, 2021. (https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/crime-in-the-u.s.-2019/topic-pages/robbery)
Metropolitan Police Department. 2021. “Guarding Against Robbery and Assault.” Metropolitan Police Department. Retrieved 1 June 2021. (https://mpdc.dc.gov/page/guarding-against-robbery-and-assault)