Jeff Rossen, an investigative reporter for NBC’s TODAY, recently aired an eye-opening segment in which he goes inside a prison and interviews a convicted felon currently doing 25 years to life for robbery. In the piece, interviewee David Solano reveals that he’s mugged more than 100 people in his life and that he’s decided to share tips to give back.
Straight from a former mugger, here are some tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of a mugging:
- If someone asks you for the time or directions, don’t break your stride or look down. That’s when you’re most vulnerable. Just keep walking. (Editor’s note: I’d like to think there are exceptions that allow people to help each other, but the fact is if you don’t stop, you reduce your risk.)
- Don’t wear a watch that’s visible.
- Carry mace in your hand and have it ready to go. If it’s in your pocket or purse, you won’t have enough time to react.
- Make a loud noise. David says that he used to target “the person that [would] give [him] the least resistance.” Sadly, that often meant “elderly people.” He would target men more because in his experience the women would scream.
- Stand in the middle of a subway/train platform and/or near other passengers. (Editor’s note: But be sure your belongings are safe so you can’t be pickpocketed.)
- In the suburbs, be careful going into a house. David says you have houses on either side blocking the view and the garage in front of you—so there’s just one view a mugger has to worry about. He also warns to look through car windows on all sides before leaving a car.
- Friday is the day you’re most likely to be mugged since thieves assume you got paid that day.
- Never to fight a mugger unless you’re a good fighter because it will just escalate the situation. “Give it up. It can be replaced.”
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