0845 602 55 95

Dealing with Crime

Crime is one of the greatest fears of people new to independent travel. Tales of muggings, theft, violence, drugs, food & drink spiking and express kidnappings are rife in television programmes, books and on the internet.

Travellers should be cautious about becoming a victim of crime, even crimes at the lower end of the scale, such as theft from a bag, can seriously dent confidence, change behaviour and result in a ‘black cloud’ hanging over the rest of a trip.

In many developing countries crime can be a way of life for some, a means of earning a living, feeding a family, sending children to school and providing a roof over the head of relatives. In many ways these are the ‘good’ criminals, the ones (if you have to meet any at all) you would want to meet. For them the crime is often no more than a job and one which they can’t afford to ‘lose’; so the temptation of committing ‘lesser’ crimes is more attractive.

These criminals tend to take what they can and get in and out quickly. After all the chances of a serious police investigation into a pick-pocketing incident is significantly less than into an aggravated robbery during which someone is hurt. This approach means that the criminal can be back out onto the streets earning again much sooner.

Does this all sound a little callous?

It may well do, but to understand crime makes it possible to take steps to prevent it and react positively when it does occur.

If you go to Rio or Jo’berg there is a fairly good chance you will encounter criminality; a story of being mugged in these places is far from unique. But it is not inevitable and you can reduce the chances of falling victim to crime through the pre-emptive decisions you make and the behaviour you demonstrate.

By following a few simple steps you can also reduce the loss you suffer financially and the risk of injury. ‘Lower your profile’ and adopt an attitude to the loss which means it will not plague the rest of your trip; in effect making such an occurrence a frustration rather than a disaster.

So back to our original scenario about the ‘good’ mugger; by seeing this as a profession we can act in an appropriate manner, however if the mugger is drug or drink crazed how does that change the situation?

It is at this point that understanding the concept of Dynamic Risk Assessment comes into play. In neither scenario will we resist, that is common for all crime; no financial loss is ever worth risking serious injury over. The dynamic risk assessment process allows us to judge how we should behave and thus how much we can reasonably expect to have to forgo in order to walk away safely, thus minimising our losses.

If all this sounds rather business like, that’s because it is; as I said earlier most crime is a ‘business’ and if we treat it that way we can ‘survive’ it better.

During our Independent Travel Safety & Cultural Awareness Workshops, we examine different crimes people may encounter, how they work and what measures you can put into place to reduce them.

We also examine the best ways to ‘lower your profile’ to protect against becoming a victim of crime in the first place.

Criminals generally prey on those they perceive to be the ‘weakest’ and are opportunists who target people where the ‘return’ is highest. A display of confidence and not standing out from the crowd, goes a long way to preventing crime in the first place.

It is worth remembering that in many parts of the world vast swaths of the population live in abject poverty; even after a year of dragging yourself and your belongings around the world, you are still likely to very look rich by comparison.

Criminality is not inevitable, hundreds of thousands of people travel independently each year without falling victim to crime. It is often the fear of crime which leads to falling victim of crime.

Our workshop identifies the risks involved in your travel and demonstrates proven ways to decrease them and to reduce the stress of travelling. This process itself improves your confidence which in turn pronounces itself in the confidence you portray. It is this positive human behaviour cycle that allows you to make the most of your travel experience.