How to Avoid Being Mugged

Muggers prowl the streets of many cities and towns looking to prey on the unaware or unprepared. Avoid being an easy target by following these guidelines.


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    Dress to discourage unwanted attention from muggers. Some things that might make you a more likely target are:
    • Dressing like a tourist. If you're obviously not a local, you're more likely to be targeted, as tourists tend to be less aware and carry cash on them. They also tend to look at everything from tall buildings to statues to artsy trashcans.
    • Wearing obvious, flashy jewelry or watches.
    • Carrying a large purse, briefcase or backpack. Anything that might contain valuables makes you a desirable target.
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    Stick to well-lighted and well populated areas. Muggers are far less likely to target people where there are others around or they are likely to be seen.
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    Know where you are going. Muggers often prey on tourists or people who are lost. If you are in an unfamiliar place, learn the route you wish to take.
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    Avoid dangerous parts of town. If possible, try not to walk through dangerous parts of town, especially at times of night when there are few others out. Bad neighborhoods with little foot traffic are especially risky. If you aren't sure, talk to locals to learn what places aren't safe.
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    Walk with a sense of purpose. If you are wandering aimlessly or look lost you are more likely to become a target.
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    Travel in groups. Muggers are much more likely to go after individuals than groups.
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    Bike, rather than walk. Moving quickly in the street on a bike makes you far more difficult to confront than a pedestrian.
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    Stay alert for possible dangers. You can minimize the likelihood of being surprised by doing the following:
    • Pay attention to your surroundings and avoid distractions. You become an easier target when do things like listen to music on headphones, talk on the phone, read a map or anything else that takes your attention away from your surroundings.
    • Walk near the curb, on the side closest to and facing oncoming traffic. This avoids the risk of someone in a car coming unseen from behind you and grabbing you or your bag, and gives you a better angle to see in doorways or alleys and a better path to escape if attacked.
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    Take action if you sense danger or are attacked.
    • If you believe you are being followed, head directly toward a populated area, cafe, bar or other well-attended place.
    • Make noise or call for help. Don't be afraid to draw attention to yourself.
    • Consider defending yourself if you have the skills or a weapon. Pepper spray can be a very effective deterrent and is easily carried on your person (make sure this is legal in your jurisdiction though). Fighting back does come with an increased risk of harm to your person, however.


  • If you frequent high risk areas, consider making a "mugger's wallet". Muggers wallets are simply wallets with several fake credit cards and a few bills of real money. If you are attacked, handing this wallet over to the mugger may satisfy him and give you a better chance to escape.
  • As a traveler, divide your money, passport, other identification and credit cards among a variety of locations (e.g., a wallet, a money belt, and a suitcase). This way, if you lose one of these things, you will not be completely stuck without ID or money.
  • Asking for the time is a classic trick used by muggers to distract victims and locate valuables. Looking down or putting a hand in a pocket leaves you vulnerable to attack. You can check the time, but keep an eye on the person who asked you.
  • If you are overpowered or cannot escape, handing over your money or wallet may save you from serious harm.


  • Your physical safety (and that of others in your group) should be your top priority. If you are accosted, handing over your items may be smarter than attempting to fight someone off.
  • Be sure not to travel alone at night, being in a group is always a great deterrent.

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Categories: Self Defense