You can't beat a big city's hustle, bustle, and buzz. But, with so many people around, a metropolis is not always safe. Pickpockets and thieves are likely to be on the prowl. And others with sinister intentions may be just around the next corner.
Still, if you stay alert and use your common sense, there is no reason you shouldn't enjoy a trouble-free trip to a large town or city. Nevertheless, knowing a few personal safety tips might come in handy. So, here are tips to help you stay safe in any big city.
A top-of-the-range phone will be a target for thieves, and phone snatching is common in many cities. So, don't walk around with your phone in your hand; keep it out of sight when you are not using it. And, don't keep your phone in your back pocket. Lose your phone, and you lose your means of contacting someone in an emergency and your internet access.
There is safety in numbers, so stay in crowded areas and don't wander off down side streets. Unsafe city areas are often only a few minutes away from the busy downtown areas. Be wary, too, of being tempted into quiet areas by strangers; they might be leading you into danger.
Be aware that pickpockets operate in major cities. And some thieves will slash open a bag with a knife to get at the contents. So, keep a watchful eye on your belongings, carry your bag in front of you, and never leave bags unattended. It is also worth investing in a theft-proof backpack with hidden pockets and cut-resistant material to defeat pickpockets and slash-and-grab thieves.
When visiting a big city, the best thing to do is leave high-value items at home. Then, you can't lose them, and you won't attract the attention of thieves. If you must take expensive items with you, keep them out of sight. And don't take out a large wad of notes when you pay for things. Instead, spread your money around in various pockets and only take out what you need.
A personal alarm will attract attention and scare an attacker away in an emergency. Unlike pepper spray or a stun gun, you can carry these handy devices in any city and building. Don't worry that an alarm won't be heard in a noisy city street. Personal alarms are extremely loud and certainly loud enough to make a thief or an attacker think again about what they are doing.
Criminals target tourists because they are more likely to be carrying cash and less likely to report a crime. So, an excellent way to stay out of trouble is not to look like you are a visitor to the city. For example, walk like you know where you are going. And avoid standing on street corners studying your tourist's map. If you need to find your bearings, grab a coffee in a coffee shop and consult your map there.
Don't become a spectator if you see something going down, like a fight or disturbance. Instead, walk away from trouble if you see it developing. If you hang around to watch, the situation might escalate, and you could get caught up in it. And don't react if someone disrespects or insults you. You are on your own as a stranger in town, but locals might have friends nearby.
Most people are honest and trustworthy. However, it only takes one person with dishonest intentions to ruin your day in the city. So, be wary if strangers approach you offering help, guided tours, a club or bar entrance, or tickets to local attractions. Such offers might be genuine, but they could be scams. So, play it safe and stick with official ticket vendors and well-known and well-frequented venues.
The best option for most people is not to fight back if someone tries to steal their possessions. Your life is way more valuable than anything you own. Of course, you are not about to hand over money to anyone who asks you for it. But discretion is usually the better part of valor when an attacker wields a knife or a gun.
Humans have evolved over many years and developed a knack for sensing danger. So, when the alarm bells ring in your mind, don't ignore them. If you feel uncomfortable or in danger, get out of there and enjoy the rest of your day.
Visiting a big city is not inherently dangerous. However, you are more vulnerable in unfamiliar surroundings than in your hometown. So, stay alert, use your common sense, and keep your valuables out of sight. And don't hesitate to use your personal attack alarm in an emergency.
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