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You may not ever be faced with the prospect of a mugger, but it’s important to know how to act if you ever encounter such a situation. The best way to protect yourself from a street robbery, or mugging, is to reduce your exposure to potentially being victimized — stay in groups, walk in well-lit areas, and pay attention to your surroundings. Thieves will look for “easy prey” before they try to attack someone who is prepared.

Don’t Be a Target

Avoid excessive drinking, or if you have been drinking, recognize its impact on your judgment. Alcohol is a contributing factor in many assaults.

Keep valuables close. Women should not hang purses on the back of a chair. Men should put wallets in their pockets.

If possible, don’t walk alone during late-night hours. Walk in groups whenever you can — there is always safety in numbers.

Stay in well-lit areas as much as possible. Avoid alleys, vacant lots, wooded areas, and other short-cuts or secluded areas. These are usually not well-lit or heavily traveled.

Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. Walk close to the curb to avoid doorways, bushes, and other potential hiding places.

Walk confidently, directly, and at a steady pace. Don’t stop to talk to strangers.

Always be aware of your surroundings.

If you are wearing headphones, don’t turn up the volume so high that you cannot hear outside noises.

Avoid carrying large sums of cash, or displaying expensive jewelry, etc. in public.

If you must carry large sums, divide the cash into smaller quantities and carry in multiple places on your person (wallet, purse, side pocket, etc.).

Preventing Assaults

While some assaults are unavoidable, here are some tips on making sure simple arguments do not turn violent or deadly:

If you are involved in a heated argument that appears to be turning violent, walk away. Staying to fight — “to prove something” — only demonstrates poor judgment in almost every instance.

Never carry a firearm, knife or other illegal weapon. A weapon will definitely escalate the situation, and it could ultimately be used to harm innocent people or yourself.

Avoid excessive drinking, or if you have been drinking, recognize its impact on your judgment. Alcohol is a contributing factor in many assaults.

If someone tries to rob you, don’t resist. Give up your property — don’t give up your life

Protecting yourself at ATMs

In recent years, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and their users have become a target for thieves. Here are some tips you should know to prevent yourself from becoming a victim at an ATM:

If possible, use ATMs that are located inside buildings. If you must use an outdoor ATM, avoid using it at night. If you must use one at night, select one with a lot of people around, that is well-lit, and is not in a secluded, low-visibility area.

Try to have a friend accompany you when using an ATM

Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you

Complete your transaction as quickly as possible, and do not flaunt your cash

Secure your cash and your ATM card in your wallet or purse before leaving the machine.

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