It’s an unfortunate reality. Backpackers get mugged. But people all over the world get mugged every day, from backpackers to city locals. The problem is, when a backpacker gets mugged, their entire life is stolen. All money, clothes and valuables. The first step in avoiding such a fate is to get educated on how it might happen to you.
“Strapless” is one of the crudest and most effective mugging procedures, it’s not as common as it once was. Working as a team, the thieves will approach from behind and cut your backpack straps with a knife so that the bag falls. As it falls, they catch it and take off. Whenever possible, use the chest strap that connects your two shoulder straps and when in busy areas, hold onto your shoulder straps like you might hold onto the safety harness of an intense roller coaster. Better yet, instead of gripping your bag with fear, snag a theft proof backpack like the Ultimatesafe 32L, or for the ladies, an anti theft shoulder bag like the Metrosafe 200.
Show and Tell
Show and tell is quite popular because it starts off so innocently. One thief will distract you with a large map, by spilling something, by falling nearby and asking for help up or any other flashy distraction. While they steal your attention, their partner in crime will steal all your belongings. By the time you realize what’s happened, you have transformed from a happy backpacker to a destitute homeless foreigner.
Picture this. You are sitting on your bag, vigilantly protecting the valuable goods inside while reading a book and waiting for a train. Suddenly, a young boy runs by and grabs the book. Instinctively, you jump up and chase him. After a short run, he drops the book and keeps running. Once you have collected your discarded book, you return to your luggage to find that it no longer exists. Somewhere, the book stealing delinquent and his friends are now pilfering through your things.
Pick pocketing is one of the oldest tricks in the book, if you can even call it a trick. Never let strangers grab your hands or wrists, especially when wearing a watch or jewelry. Pay careful attention when in crowded areas, particularly on trains, busses and subway cars where dozens of people are pressed together and frequent exits are common.
Up In Arms
The most effective mugging is also the most dangerous, simple armed robbery. Whether you are held at knifepoint, gunpoint, stickpoint or simply outnumbered, an armed robbery or mugging is no picnic. The best strategy against a simple armed mugger is prevention and obedience. Never carry more valuables than absolutely necessary and consider carrying a dummy wallet to hand over, filled with expired credit cards and perhaps a few minor pieces of currency.