There has been an increase in the number of robberies carried out on various forms of public transportation, particularly maxi taxis and licensed cars for hire. Passengers are being relieved of their bags, varying quantities of cash, and jewelry. In extreme cases, passengers and drivers are physically attacked if they refuse to give their items to the culprits, or if the assailants wish to scare their victims into submission. There are a few steps that one could adopt to ensure safety when traveling. Everyone is at risk but women, who are often seen as easy targets, should always be on their guard.
Below are five tips you can use to ensure your safety and the safety of your personal belongings, especially when traveling at night.
- Be aware of your surroundings
Some of us often enter a vehicle without giving a second thought to those sitting in the seats. Whether you’re on the phone, rushing to find a seat or mulling over the events of the day, you should always look at the people in the vehicle. Be observant of your surroundings at all times even while waiting for transportation- look at the person standing next to you or waiting with you and if that person seems a bit sketchy, take the next vehicle. As a woman, be wary if there are too many men in the vehicle or if you are the only woman about to enter a car. Being the lone female passenger in a car at night may be an innocent coincidence, or it may be a set up. You should never stick around to find out.
- Always keep your bags and other personal items on your person
It’s tempting: there’s an extra seat next to you and you’d like nothing more than to free your legs and stretch out a bit. The extra seat might be on the inside close to the window while you sit in the aisle, but it is nothing more than an invitation to an ambitious bandit who decides to take advantage of your lapse in judgment. When using public transportation, always keep your personal items close to you; your lap is often the safest bet. Keep your hands locked in the straps of your bag just in case someone wants to grab it before they run out before they exit. Remember, when dealing with bandits, the trick is to make the robbery seem difficult or impossible.
- Don’t flash around your wealth
Do you need to use your new iPhone to make that call? Do you need to wear that attractive watch in the vehicle, or would it be safer tucked away in your bag? It is always best to secure your personal belongings before traveling so as not to catch the wandering eye of a bandit. Maybe you’ve worn your watch constantly without incident, but your safety should never be taken for granted. Extra money should be tucked away in your shoes, and you should never travel with large sums of cash late at night. Save that bank trip for another day.
- Sit in a single or aisle seat
A threat at night can present itself in different ways. It can be a bandit, or a pervert who preys on lonely female passengers at night. For this reason, it is always best to sit in a single seat or an aisle seat. Sitting alone is ideal as it is more comfortable and can prevent you from being sexually harassed by another passenger. This can ensure you are not trapped by the window seat, for example, in a two-seater row in making your escape from an uncomfortable situation difficult.
- Stay awake during the entire trip
A hard day’s work can be draining, no doubt about it, but you should always stay awake and alert especially when traveling alone. Staying awake during the trip will allow you to see who is leaving or entering the vehicle at various stops. Even more important, it helps you to alert the driver when you get to your stop. Imagine falling asleep and being awaken by the driver or a passenger and not knowing where you are. Even worse, imagine finding out you were robbed while you slept? Listen to music, read a book, sing a silent song, but do what you need to do to stay awake.
These precautionary steps may seem like an inconvenience but they are only a small price to pay for your overall safety, and peace of mind.