How to avoid street robberies?

Unfortunately, there are still people nowadays who, instead of earning a living honestly, choose a life of crime. Generally, these individuals make up a very small percentage of society, but when we walk on the streets in densely populated urban areas, we must be aware that being surrounded by thousands of people means that even a small percentage of those thousands is still a significant number of people. As a result, we must be aware that there is a real risk of experiencing a robbery or theft in public places.

However, by implementing a series of simple measures, we can effectively prevent becoming victims of a robbery.

Below, we present the 19 best security measures to avoid street robberies:


1. Anti-theft backpacks and bags

To avoid falling victim to theft, we must make it difficult for pickpockets. One effective way to achieve this is by using anti-theft backpacks and bags, as they make it virtually impossible for thieves to steal from us.

These bags and backpacks provide complete security by having zipper openings located only on their back or side, ensuring that all pockets and closures remain hidden and inaccessible to third parties.

For example, you can find an excellent anti-theft backpack ideal for traveling at the following link.

Therefore, when we sit down at a terrace, bench, or restaurant and need to take off our backpack, we should make sure to place it in a hidden and inaccessible spot, preferably within our sight and under our control at all times.


2. Keep your wallet and phone in interior pockets

Under no circumstances should you carry your wallet or phone in a regular pocket. Ideally, you should keep them in an anti-theft backpack or bag. However, if you prefer to travel light, store them in an interior pocket that is not visible to others. When purchasing jackets, coats, or vests, make sure they have these useful and secure pockets.

In warm seasons when you don’t want to carry a bag or backpack, and obviously won’t be wearing a coat, try to keep your wallet and phone in non-rear pockets, preferably with buttons or zippers.

Additionally, wear a long shirt or t-shirt to keep the pocket hidden from the view of others. It is also advisable to avoid using your phone in highly crowded areas, as aside from being annoying to have conversations, there is a risk of someone attempting to snatch it from your hands or taking advantage of your distraction to steal your wallet. Likewise, when sitting at a public terrace to have a drink, never leave your phone on the table, even if it’s within your sight, as someone could take the opportunity to snatch it and run away.


3. Know your surroundings

Every city has areas that are more problematic than others, and it is essential to know where you are at all times in order to take extra precautions. Typically, the most risky areas for thefts and robberies are the tourist zones of a city, as tourists are the perfect target for pickpockets: they carry money, have a mobile phone or camera, and are often somewhat distracted. Therefore, even if you are not a tourist, if you frequently visit a tourist area and do not take precautions, pickpockets will not hesitate to seize their opportunity.


4. Avoid scams and tricks

Be wary of people who persistently approach you for help, individuals who pretend to fall in front of you, or people who want to give you something, especially if they are in a group and act suddenly. These groups try to divert your attention while another member steals from you, and then they quickly leave. For this reason, when strangers behave unusually and seek your attention, exercise extreme caution.


5. Be aware of your surroundings

When walking on the streets, it is crucial to be aware of your surroundings at all times and avoid appearing distracted. Criminals target individuals who seem absent-minded and focused on something else, as they can take advantage of the situation and attempt to rob them.

Therefore, it is essential not to be engrossed in your mobile phone or wearing headphones while in public spaces, especially when navigating busy sidewalks.


6. Stay sober and accompanied

If you go out partying and consume alcohol, never make the mistake of getting excessively drunk. Criminals take full advantage of these situations to rob you, especially if you are alone.

Keep in mind that even if you realize that you are being robbed, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to react and confront someone who is sober and fully capable.


7. Travel in groups and stick to well-lit and crowded areas

When it’s nighttime, the darkness and lack of people on the streets provide an opportunity for thieves to go unnoticed and commit their crimes anonymously.

Therefore, when it gets dark, try to travel with others and move through well-lit areas with a higher presence of people. This will reduce the danger and risk of becoming a victim of robbery or theft.


8. Withdraw money from ATMs during office hours

If you need to withdraw cash from your card, try to use the ATM during regular office hours for the following reasons:

  • It will be daytime, and statistics show that there is less risk of robbery during this time as the streets are highly populated and well-lit.
  • If your card gets stolen, you can immediately block it.
  • If you realize that you’ve been robbed, you can report it immediately, and the authorities can quickly process the surveillance camera footage from the nearby offices.

For these reasons, criminals are reluctant to rob during banking office hours.

If you find yourself outside of office hours, try to use your card instead, as it is accepted in most places without any issues. If you have no choice but to withdraw cash, go to a bank with an enclosed ATM and use the security latch while inside. Also, check for any suspicious individuals outside before leaving.


9. Use an anti-theft belt or waist bag

Another option to protect your cash is to use traditional waist bags, like the ones you can find at this link. Since they are worn around your waist and in front of you, it is impossible for someone to steal from you without your notice. Additionally, you can cover the waist bag with a long shirt to keep it hidden from view.

Another option is to use anti-theft belts like the one in the following link. These belts have a hidden zipper compartment on the inside where you can store your money and documents securely. The opening is not visible externally and remains inaccessible at all times.


10. Avoid displaying valuable objects

Avoid flaunting valuable possessions such as exclusive clothing, expensive mobile phones, or high-value jewelry while walking on the street. You can have them with you without drawing attention in private settings, but be cautious when you’re out in public. Street criminals are attracted to these types of objects as they can easily resell them for quick and easy money.


11. Be cautious with shopping bags

Shopping bags pose a high risk as they are often not securely closed, and anyone can take advantage of a slight distraction to reach inside and steal your belongings.

If you’re carrying shopping bags while walking on the street and not using a vehicle, it is advisable to use a fully closed shopping cart and place all your purchases inside it.

Additionally, if you make purchases at well-known stores, they will provide you with bags displaying their logos, which can attract attention. Be extra careful and, if possible, place these bags inside an anti-theft backpack, bag, or other bags without prominent brand logos.


12. Carry only what you need

Carry only the necessary items with you. It’s alright to have some cash on hand in case of emergencies or unexpected changes in plans, but there’s no need to carry a large amount of cash if you don’t intend to spend it. It’s advisable to use cards whenever possible, as you can quickly block them through your bank’s mobile application or by calling your bank directly in case of theft.

Similarly, regarding personal documents (identification documents, passport, driver’s license, club cards, supermarket cards, etc.), it’s convenient to carry only what you’ll need, especially when going out for social activities. If you carry both your passport and identification document, losing or getting one stolen will still leave you with the other until you can obtain a replacement. Keep in mind that dealing with the loss of all your documents can be troublesome, and in some cases, it may involve additional costs.


13. Distribute your money securely

If you’re carrying a significant amount of cash, it’s advisable to keep it well-hidden in interior pockets and distribute it among multiple locations. This way, if you get robbed, you’ll only lose a portion of what you were carrying.

Similarly, if you’re with your family, distribute the money among adult members and avoid having one person carry all the group’s money.


14. Don’t keep your transport ticket in your wallet

Avoid carrying your transport pass or ticket in your wallet, as pickpockets take advantage of the moment you take it out to see where you keep your wallet. Furthermore, they may target you more easily in crowded transportation settings.

If you’re concerned about protecting your transport tickets, you can purchase protective sleeves or laminated covers to prevent any damage to them.


15. Avoid crowded areas

Professional criminals take advantage of crowds and crowded places to easily steal from people. It can be challenging to notice when your wallet or phone is taken from your pockets amidst pushing and physical contact with others. Try to avoid crowded areas as much as possible to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of theft.


16. Increase precautions when traveling or visiting unfamiliar places

When you travel, you become a tourist and therefore a prime target for pickpockets and street criminals. When visiting unfamiliar places for the first time, prepare your visits in advance to avoid getting lost or appearing disoriented. Gather information about where you’re going and try not to look like a tourist (avoid holding a map, constantly taking photos, standing still in the middle of a crowd to look at something, etc.).

If you want to discover more tips for traveling safely, check out other relevant articles.


17. Be cautious of being followed in less crowded areas

If you’re walking in a sparsely populated area and feel like someone is following you, they may be waiting for an opportunity to be alone with you and steal from you. Walking with someone following closely behind you when the streets are empty can be uncomfortable and give a sense of intimidation and insecurity.

If this happens, to exit the situation, stop in front of a shop window as if you’re looking at something. If it’s a false alarm (which is most likely), the person will continue on their way. If it’s a real threat, they will likely avoid stopping at a place like a counter where surveillance cameras are usually present and give up their attempt to rob you.

In both cases, after this maneuver, you will now be the one behind them, allowing you to maintain a safe distance and observe them.


18. Be cautious when using your mobile phone

As mentioned before, when you’re not using your phone, keep it in an interior pocket and never in an open pocket.

When using your phone to make calls or type messages, try to step aside from the crowd. This will protect you from noise and potential snatching attempts from someone taking advantage of you being absorbed in your phone without paying attention to your surroundings.

Additionally, if you’re sitting on a terrace at a bar and take out your phone for a moment, make sure to put it back in a hidden pocket even if you’ll need it again in a few minutes. Although it may be tempting to leave it on the table, these situations are frequently exploited by thieves who run by and snatch the phone quickly.


19. Wear a bag or shoulder bag in front of you

If you carry a bag or shoulder bag while walking on the street, always wear it with the strap crossed over your body and position the bag or wallet in the front of your body where you can see and control it at all times. It’s important that such accessories have zipper or button closures on all openings and have interior compartments with closures, allowing you to store items in hidden and inaccessible places without opening any openings.


What to do in case of a street robbery?

If you experience a robbery or theft in a public place, follow these steps:

  1. If you can identify the thieves, quickly alert the nearest police officer or authorized security personnel. This may cause the thieves to abandon the stolen items and flee. It’s advisable not to confront them, as they usually operate in groups, and even if you identify one member, there may be others nearby who can come to their aid and potentially harm you.
  2. If you didn’t realize the theft or cannot identify anyone responsible, it’s always advisable to report it to the police for the following reasons:
    • Cities have numerous surveillance cameras in public areas and establishments. By informing the police about your route, they may be able to detect the theft and identify the thieves.
    • By filing a report and providing a list of stolen items, in the event that the criminal gang is apprehended, you may be able to recover your belongings.
    • It’s important that the actual number of thefts and robberies is reflected in official statistics so that the relevant authorities can take appropriate action and prevent future criminal acts.
    • If you have mobile phone insurance or personal theft insurance, filing a police report is often necessary to receive coverage.
  3. Block your bank cards at your bank’s branch or through online banking. Check for any unauthorized fraudulent transactions before blocking the cards. If there are any, report them to your bank along with the police report to initiate the process of recovering your money.
  4. Request duplicates of the stolen documents. In some cases, you may need the police report to complete the process, while in others, you can proceed without it, although you may have to pay fees for issuing duplicates labeled as lost rather than stolen.


How to be better prepared for a street robbery or theft?

It’s crucial to know the emergency phone number in your country or region, but it’s also helpful to have a record of emergency phone numbers that you may need, such as the police, firefighters, ambulance services, and your bank. You never know when you might need them, and in case of an emergency, they will be essential for acting quickly and minimizing the consequences.

Additionally, keep backup copies of your information and personal documents on your mobile phone or laptop, including work documents, photographs, and contact lists.

Finally, it’s a good practice to have a list of the cards and documents you typically carry in your wallet so that you can request duplicates of everything in case of a theft without forgetting anything.