Street crime may be an issue in many American communities, but avoiding becoming a victim involves some common-sense tactics that apply anywhere in the world.
Street thieves, muggers, purse-snatchers, and other felons look for victims with several key characteristics.
- The victim appears to have money. If you make a purchase in a store or use a bank, try not to flash money around. Showy, expensive gold jewelry will also attract thieves; keep it out of view.
- The victim appears distracted and not vigilant. Know where you are going, and walk with purpose in urban settings.
- The setting decreases the chance of detection. Learn which are the high crime areas, and use common sense when walking at night. If given the choice of a “chancy” walk or a costly taxi ride, take the taxi and feel safer.
- The victim looks like an “easy mark,” that is, will not resist. Illegal immigrants are often targets of petty street crime, since the criminals know they will be reluctant to go to the police.
If someone with a weapon demands your money, hand it over. Try to remember details about the criminal’s appearance. Call the police immediately. Know, however, that police and community organizations frequently have resources to help you avoid being a victim, often in multiple languages. Your local public library or community center is a good place to look for these materials.
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