Avoid Being Mugged

Are you trying to prevent being mugged when walking? Hoping to find practical tips on how to avoid being mugged? Do you worry about your personal safety?

If the answer is yes, you’ve come to the right place. I was mugged several years ago while walking on the North Side of Chicago and in one of the city’s safest communities. The truth is being mugged sucks and can scare the living daylights out of you.

But here is the thing – I could have avoided being mugged had I taken just a few safety precautions. Given the massive increase in crimes, particularly in large cities, I felt now might be a good time to share some tips with you. My hope is to help you prevent getting robbed while walking outside.

Are you ready? Check it out.

1. Develop situational awareness

The number one thing you can do to help prevent being mugged is to develop a strong sense of situational awareness. In other words, your mind should be at “code yellow” at all times.

Here are some practical pointers under this suggestion:

  • Look forward and occasionally from side to side. Make a mental note of any abnormalities and if something or someone looks suspicious or out of place, don’t ignore it.
  • When you pass people by, quickly make eye contact. This lets a would-be mugger know you are paying attention and are alert. Thieves typically look for easy targets and making quick eye contact shows you aren’t one.
  • If you pass by someone suspicious, turn your head around and look back. If they have started following you, immediately look for somewhere safe to go, like a store, hotel lobby, or even a large crowd of people.

2. Plan your route

Planning your route in advance can go a long way in keeping you safe. This means knowing exactly where you will be heading and how you will be getting there.

Suggestions for this tip:

  • If leaving your home or hotel, plot out the streets you will be walking on. Ideally, main streets with lots of people on them are your best bet.
  • Walk quickly and with a purpose. Your goal is to get from point A to point B. Incorporate the suggestions from tip one into this suggestion.
  • Avoid stopping to look through the windows of department stores or looking upward at the city’s architecture. That may sound silly, if you do these things, you are broadcasting to the crooks that you are a tourist and muggers love to rob tourists.
  • As you walk, take note of who is driving around and who is sitting inside of cars. Muggers often mark their victims and will circle back to rob them.
  • Depending on the situation, let someone know where you are going, like a friend or family member.

3. Don’t wear fancy clothes and bling

This one may seem like common sense, but I am mentioning it all the same. Dress down when you are walking around outside. There have been cases where people were forced into alleys and muggers have robbed them of their shoes.

Suggestions to consider:

  • Wear plain clothing and avoid anything that has branding. This means jackets, shirts, jeans, and shoes.
  • Put expensive smartwatches, chains, and rings in your pocket, or better yet, leave them at home.
  • Put your wallet in your front pocket or better yet, leave your wallet at home and just carry your ID and a debit card. Keep cash on hand at a minimum.

4. Listen to your inner voice

I can’t emphasize this enough. Your brain has equipped you with an inner voice, which neuroscientists believe resides in your amygdala. Think of it as a kind of internal alarm that gently cautions you of danger.

Tips for this point:

  • If you see a person or group coming towards you that looks suspicious, cross the street. Don’t argue with yourself about what to do. Follow your inner voice.
  • If waiting for a bus or train and someone suspicious is nearing your location, listen to your inner voice and immediately leave.
  • When waiting to use an ATM machine, look around carefully. If you see someone suspicious, listen to your inner voice and don’t use that machine.
  • There may be situations where your inner voice is telling you to get out of a specific area, run, or hide. Listen to that voice and don’t worry about looking stupid. In the end, you may be glad you did.

5. Ditch the smartphone and earbuds

I’m mentioning this one because I could have easily avoided being robbed by taking this precaution. Some of these points may seem like common sense but consider them all.


  • Unless absolutely critical, do not walk and text. When thugs and thieves see you texting, they know you aren’t paying attention and will move in for the steal.
  • Take those earbuds out of your ears when walking outside or waiting for public transit. If you are listening to music or talking on the phone, you aren’t fully attuned to your environment. Muggers are very good at spotting people like this.
  • If you must use your phone, do it in a highly public place, like a hotel lobby, retail store, or grocer. There are exceptions of course but use common sense. Remember that thieves view your phone as a wad of cash for the taking.

What to do if mugged?

Even the best-prepared person can still end up being mugged. That’s because criminals can be extremely clever. Should you end up getting robbed, here are some tips to help keep you alive.

Give the mugger want he wants. It’s really that simple. Don’t argue with them, put up a fight or try to talk to them. Simply hand over whatever they are demanding. In most cases, they want your money, credit cards, phone, and jewelry.

Related: I punched my attacker in the mouth

It is NOT worth trying to get into a physical altercation. This person may have a gun, knife, or other weapons. Make a mental note of what they look like, but that’s all.

When to fight and make noise

You want to avoid getting physical with your mugger at all costs. That said, if the thief is punching you, wielding a knife, or in anyway hitting you, consider the following as a means of temporarily disabling your attacker:

  • Curl your first up tightly in a ball and use an upward motion to their gonads.
  • Use your knee to drive it into their nutsack.
  • Extend your index finger and middle finger and poke them in the eyes.
  • Use your palm in an upward motion to their jaw.
  • Stab them in the eyes, nose or temple with your house keys
  • Use a loud voice (Scream, Yell) and say STOP as you strike them.

Again, your goal should be to temporarily disable them so that you can RUN AWAY. Do not stay in that location and continue fighting. This isn’t a competition. The idea is to strike, yell, and run to safety.

And it is worth mentioning here that you should never allow a thief to take you to another location. This means if they demand you get into a car, go into an alley, don’t do it! Research shows that your chances of survival significantly reduce when taken to a second crime scene.

Related: Epic selfies aren’t worth your life

This is the time to scream, yell, kick them in their gonads, strike them in the eyes, bite them, or stomp on their feet.

If you can get away, go to the nearest public place, like a bar, restaurant, hotel, or shopping center, and call 911.

Wrap Up

When I was mugged, I felt a crush of anger, rage, and helplessness. But I was also happy to be alive. The incident offered me a powerful learning opportunity.

Stay safe.


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