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We’ve talked about protecting yourself from pickpockets when traveling but in cases where the thief is overt – like in a mugging – what should you do? Every situation is different and the first rule is to never put yourself in danger but if certain opportunities present themselves you may be able to reduce some of the riskier parts of the situation.

Practice And Acceptance

Practicing how you would handle a particular situation can help you remain calm in the worst case scenario. Know where your decoys are if you are carrying a fake wallet – is that your right or left pocket? Split your cash up and know where your smaller bills are. Maintain a routine so there’s less you have to think about and can rely on muscle memory. Whatever your particular setup keeping it consistent is important – even if you don’t carry any decoy cards.

Thieves want to commit their crimes as fast as possible and you fumbling around for your money in your purse if going to prolong the encounter and put yourself at additional risk.

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It’s a good idea to always keep the placement of your personal items in the same place each time. If that’s decoy left and card top, stick with it. That will make you less likely to fumble at the wrong time. Also, if you’re asked to hand over your purse or empty your pockets, be compliant and get the moment over as quickly as you can. Your stuff is not worth getting hurt or killed over.

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Calm Visualization


Time can be an important factor in a mugging with both you and the mugger wanting the theft to be as quick as possible. You can though buy yourself some time prior to a mugging by recognizing the instances right before it occurs. That means avoid walking alone at night and if you plan to, check with your hotel or accommodation about the route you plan on taking. Keep your eyes off your phone when walking (especially at night when your eyes have to adjust to a bright screen) and don’t use headphones. You don’t want to be caught off guard and a few moments can help you put into action any handover plan you’ve been practicing.

Being calm, collected, and calculated can help save some of your things if you get stuck in a bad situation when traveling – whether it’s getting pick-pocketed or mugged but remember – no security is foolproof. You can’t protect all of your things all the time but if you get out of a nasty situation with your health, even if you are a little rattled, it’s a win every time.

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