Keep an eye out around you at all times and always know who’s in the vicinity. Knowing your exit is extremely important, as well as knowing the general directions of that area. It’s apparent to stay in well-lit, open areas with lots of people, but do avoid crowds.
2. Keep your head down
A major key to avoiding trouble is to blend in and become invisible, especially in rough areas. Don’t go around giving people reasons to target you. It’s important not to appear rich or as if you’re packing the ‘good stuff,’ so dress down or even like a university student. Don’t draw the wrong sort of attention to yourself, especially if you’re an obvious foreigner.
Recognize thieves and scams ahead of time - because maybe, just maybe, the nice young man asking for directions may actually be scamming you. Always be on the look out by keeping on your toes. Never let your guard down and always lock up everything at all times.
4. Don’t escalate bad situations
If you have the misfortune of being mugged, don’t fight your assailant. It’s important to comply and keep the other person as relaxed as possible to avoid from being seriously hurt. There’s no need to get yourself involved in the messes of other people.
5. Travel smart
Learn to be street smart by knowing how to talk your way out of trouble and more importantly, know how to avoid it all together. Find out what the typical scams are by researching prior to your trip; you can also ask locals for what you should be on the lookout for. Analyze each and every situation and leave as little opportunity for anyone else to take advantage of you.
Examples: Don’t leave luggage in your car, bags left out in the open, valuables in cheap hotel safes, and don’t pack expensive items that may draw unwanted attention to you.
(Photo by Vivienne Gucwa, edited by Brandon Elijah Scott)