Friday, March 2, 2007

SAFE IN THE CITY


In this article we are going to look at some of the possible dangers that may arise on the street and public places and suggest effective ways on how to deal with these situations. One does not have to act paranoid by constantly eyeing on every stranger although it is necessary to stay alert and prepared at all times.

Public Transportation
In the Philippines not many can afford to own cars because it is still considered a luxury. So it is quite common for people to wait and endure long lines in order to get a ride and the irritation that goes along with a fully loaded public transport. This is the situation where pickpockets and robbers thrive.

I had a one time experience when I was riding a jeepney going to Sta. Ana and a fellow passenger (turned out to be the pickpocket) sitting beside me started to put his hand in his pocket as if to get some money to pay for the fare. Suddenly I felt that he was leaning too much on my side so my instinct told me something was not right. I held on to my wallet and found that it was almost half way out out of my pocket. Quickly I grabbed my wallet and looked at the guy and in an instant he jumped out from his seat and went on to ride a motorcycle that was tailing us. Apparently, he had someone with him who was ready to assist his escape after robbing passengers.
Physical techniques may not be needed all the time especially when you're in a situation where everyone is packed like sardines inside a train (like the LRT during rush hour) and you find the next guy breathing down your neck trying to rob you. This is a difficult situation because an escape route may not be accessible and you may end up getting hurt since this guy is usually accompanied by other men. So awareness and staying alert is what one needs to prevent this from happening. It is much wiser to just get off when you sense danger and take another ride.

Rest Rooms
The ladies room could be a potentially dangerous place especially when it's located at the far end of the mall. It is better to be accompanied by another female companion when going inside these places. Males should also be aware because there may be potential attackers in the men's room ready to stick a knife at you when you are doing your thing in the urinals. In short, stay alert.

Movie Theatres
When entering a movie theatre scan the area before taking a seat. Pause for a while with your back against a wall and let your eyes adjust to the dark theatre, then scan the whole area and look for rows where there are other moviegoers. Avoid isolated areas since these are the best spots for would be criminals to hide. It is much safer to be with a friend or companion because this sometimes act as a deterrent against criminals who more often than not choose victims who are alone and situated in a vulnerable area.

Approaching you Car
If you happen to own one, it is best to scan the place where you parked the car for suspicious looking characters. If you sense potential danger look for a roving guard in the area and seek help. But if you are caught off guard and put in a helpless situations, then by all means do whatever is necessary to defend yourself. Your car keys may prove to be handy in such situations as it can be used to poke the eye of the assailant or rake his face. This will buy you some time to run and ask for assistance.

Entering your Home
Remember the incident where the house of a movie actor was infiltrated by armed men who tried to rob hi. Eventually , the situation was reversed when the actor was able to get hold of his gun and went after the robbers, killing one of them. The robbers entered the gates of his home by timing their assault when the maid was about to close the gate.
This is a common tactic among robbers which requires perfect timing. In this situation be aware of your surroundings and check out places along the perimeter where potential attackers may lie waiting. Exercise common sense by not letting strangers into your home. Ask for identification when accepting packages or mail. When in doubt, tell the delivery man to leave the package in front of the door or simply ask them to come back some other day. Remember even a tough guy can't do anything much when a man is pointing a gun at him. So it is best to use one's common sense to avoid such situations.

Rapid Journal Vol. 9 No.1 ISSN 0118-4113

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