Nearly everyone knows someone who has been the victim of a robbery. You may have even been so unfortunate yourself. Even if you live in a suburban area, due to increasing poverty and drug abuse rates, you could be the victim of a street robbery, whether in your car at the bank or while walking home at night. In this article, we will cover the best ways to react if you find yourself in that situation.
Prevention is your best bet
A few preventative measures taken before you’re in a potential situation where you could be robbed are worth the trouble. Don’t carry large amounts of cash at a time. Keep your eyes or hands on your belongings at all times to avoid leaving or dropping them somewhere. Don’t carry your wallet or loose cash in any droopy bags that it could fall out of.
If you are in your car, don’t have large amounts of cash or expensive possessions (like jewelry or a radio) visible to outsiders. When you go to an ATM, be sure to lock your doors so no one can slip inside. If there are other cars at the bank when you withdraw cash, be sure to be discreet when removing and stowing your money.
If you find yourself alone on the street, even if you’re in your car, stay very focused on your surroundings. Don’t be distracted by your phone, especially if you are in unfamiliar territory. Carry your wallet in your front or jacket pocket instead of in your back pockets to avoid it being snatched by pick-pockets. If you have a purse, either use a small clutch that fits in your hand or uses a cross-body or messenger-style strap that is worn across the chest to discourage purse-snatching.
Take precautions to not look like a target
Another way to prevent being robbed is to make yourself appear like a poor target. Criminals tend to single out victims that they feel are isolated, weak, and unable to protect themselves. The less you appear to fit those categories, the less likely you are to be a victim.
Make sure to keep your head up and to follow a pre-planned route. Always be aware of what is going on around you, whether you’re on foot or in your car. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by your phone or anything else for long periods of time. Keep your senses sharp and be on the alert for any signs of danger so that you can react quickly.
If you become the victim of a street robbery, the following tips committed to memory can help you get out of the situation safely. Even if you lose your possessions, getting through the situation with your nerves intact can help you recover.
5 Tips to React to a Street Robbery
Tip 1: Stay as calm as possible and remain focused
There’s a reason why the phrase “Keep calm and carry on” has had such enduring popularity. Make sure to slow down your breathing, taking deep, steady breaths. This simple trick will help your body use the adrenaline it will no doubt be pumping through your veins to focus you, instead of making you panic. This is important because you want to be able to react quickly and intelligently against your attacker. It will be difficult, especially if the robber points a gun at you or has a knife to your throat. But you want to aim to take each second one at a time.
Tip 2: Give the robber whatever possessions they want
Nothing you own is worth your life, even it has extreme sentimental value. The only way to retain your memories and feelings about an object is if you stay alive. So, give the robber whatever they ask for. Objects can be replaced. After the robbery, you can give a detailed report of your possessions to the police. It bears repeating to only carry valuable possessions on your person when absolutely necessary.
Tip 3: Consider any weapon to be the real thing
If the robber shows you a gun or knife, assume it’s the real deal. Also, assume that the weapon is loaded and ready to fire. Even if you’re wrong, it is better to err on the side of caution than to believe the weapon is fake and be injured, perhaps fatally, by trying to disarm the criminal.
Tip 4: Try to de-escalate the situation whenever possible
Don’t talk any more than you have to. Excess talking or rambling might make the robber nervous. Speak calmly and don’t say anything sarcastic or rude. Resist the urge to disobey their instructions and follow the person’s directions.
If they want to take you somewhere else, then and only then is when you should fight back. Try to hit a vulnerable spot—such as their eyes, ears, neck, or groin—and get away. Scream as loud as you can for help. Run and do not stop running until you have reached a safe location, where you should immediately call the police. That leads us to the final tip.
Tip 5: Call the police the moment you are safe
You want to call right away so that you can provide them with an accurate description of the person or people who robbed you. The more time that passes, especially as the adrenaline of the moment wears off, the more details will become clouded in your mind. No matter how good your memory, it happens to everyone. As you’re waiting for the police, you might consider writing down every detail you can remember about the event and the person who robbed you while they’re still fresh.
No one wants to think about being a victim of a crime, but knowing what to do if the situation does occur can help you stay calm under pressure. By following the process in this article, you can reduce the risk of a robbery escalating to something far worse.