Saturday, October 07, 2006

Anti-Mugging advice

antieuclid shares with us her formula to avoid being mugged.
Extensive discussion about avoiding crime wall walking in Hyde Park follows at the original

Anti-Mugging advice
"This is a comment I left to wystel's post about almost getting mugged. With all the new students coming into Hyde Park, I thought I'd post it on it's own in case people found it helpful. I'm not trying to scare the cute little freshmen or imply that everyone on the southside of chicago is a criminal, but it's a fact that there are a lot of muggers around, particularly at the beginning of the year when they know new students won't have developed any street skills yet. Don't let it deter you from enjoying everything the city has to offer, but be careful. I've had a lot of sucess with the deterring image thing. Last spring I was working at the MacLab and had to walk home after 10 three nights a week. I'm 5'1" and female, so I knew I looked like a pretty good target. I developed a three part stratagy: 1. When possible, carry a large stick. I got a very nice mop handle at Ace Hardware for about $3. If you were a mugger and you had a choice between someone with a 6' quarterstaff and someone without one, who would you choose? 2. Develop a good glare. I had one that my roommate once described as "I can crush your skull with my mind." It takes a particular frame of mind to be able to pull off that sort of glare, and it's hard to describe, the best I can do is that whether or not you're carrying the staff, every inch of your being should be ready to hit someone with it. 3. Walk fast, but not as though you were hurrying. Feel like you own the street. Stride through it, and be constantly turning your head as though you were surveying your territory for anyone who shouldn't be there, instead of as though you were a scared girl on the street. This might sound completely nuts, but it works. When I was carrying my quarterstaff, no one ever even came near me. There were times I didn't have the quarterstaff with me, and there were two separate instances of men who I'm reasonably sure were muggers (hooded sweatshirt and dark sunglasses at 10:30 on a summer night) began approaching me from the other side of the street. Both times I stopped walking, fixed the glare on them, and they turned around and began walking in the other direction. It's all about your own state of mind. There are a lot of basic preditor/prey instincts that come into play in street crime, and if you feel like prey, people will read you as prey. Always try to radiate that you are a hunter, that you are in your own territory, and that you will not tolerate any encroachment. It might seem rediculous because you don't normally think like that, but believe me, I don't either. I'm a 5'1" girl with a heart condition who hopes to be a librarian when I finish school. I'm the sort of person who opens a window and tries to coax a fly out instead of swatting it. Think of it as a sort of mental mask that you put on to keep yourself safe when you're walking around at night.

More comments can be found at the original post. Here is a relevant comment:
bokuniwa (link)
As someone who got mugged last year, I would encourage taking the night bus home whenever possible if you don't live near the center of campus and are out by yourself late. You also don't always see someone coming, and if there is more than one person in the mugging squad (which is how the smart ones act), they probably aren't going to be afraid of sticks and glares. Granted, you'll look somewhat less desirable than other targets, but keep in mind they're cocky little shits to begin with. If you absolutely must walk home at night, a bicycle might be a good investment. Also, this may sound silly, and it may just have been my scenario, but if you wear glasses and have contacts, put in your lenses while you're out at night. I have a black belt in karate, but in the first instant they grabbed me from behind, my glasses flew off, and I was rendered unable to see if it was worth fighting back (that is, whether or not they had a weapon). Outnumbered blind flying mole rat style wasn't gonna do it. And as a final thing, don't count on the police boxes--the one near me was dead. Just my $0.02.

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