Theft has risen astronomically in Zimbabwe. Even more disturbing is the surge in armed robberies. These days whether you are outdoors or indoors theft is at an all-time high. In this article, I want to deal specifically with theft when you are outdoors. We tend to be mobile nowadays going up and down in our hustles, businesses, careers, and so on. We can be driving, be driven, or be on foot – no matter the scenario you can become a victim of theft. Let us look at practical ways you can use to protect yourself from theft outdoors.
Desist From Showboating
What I mean by showboating is simply showing off. Many people love to show off but that is a sure way to lure thieves your way. Sometimes people who end up stealing from you would not have initially planned that. The thought can come to mind when they realize you have valuable items on you. It is equally as important to not do anything that can come off as showboating. By all means, possible desist from showboating.
I know the temptation can be there but it can draw the wrong attention. It can be wise when you are out to not move around with expensive items. Look as ordinary as can be by dressing modestly or even shoddily. This may sound silly but it can save you lots of trouble. Carry only what is necessary. If you cannot help but carry valuables then wherever possible always keep them out of sight.
There are those I have seen who love to place their smartphones protruding from their back pockets. I have also noticed others that love to walk with their smartphones in their hands. That makes it easy for thieves to just grab them from you. Additionally, if you are carrying anything that needs holding, tightly hold it and never leave it lying around unattended.
Awareness And Alertness
Most people I talk to often remark how aware I am of my surroundings. Whenever I am out I have conditioned myself to take in my surroundings and be on high alert. About 3 weeks I almost got robbed near 4th street in Harare by a group of more than 7 guys. One of the things that helped me was that I was aware and alert which enabled me to react quickly. Though of course in the grand scheme of things you know it is divine intervention. Anyways, by being aware and alert you can quickly notice red flags and act accordingly.
It also helps to walk assertively with overflowing confidence. You will be amazed at how this can scare off potential thieves. This has worked wonders for me many times as people tend to think I am a CIO operative. Listening to music on the move can be a bad idea. Try to avoid the use of headphones or earphones when outside; this helps heighten your awareness or alertness. Pay rapt attention to people in your vicinity or passing you by. Be on the lookout for any fishy or strange mannerisms. Another thing, avoid passing through groups of people who seem to be conversing or familiar with each other. In some cases, they can block you and steal from you.
The Use Of Private Or Public Transport
Many people have fallen prey to thieves through transport vehicles. Use vehicles that carry several passengers and regularly ply the route. Private vehicles though faster and convenient must be handled with caution. Often the moment you see a vehicle and something seems off always follow your instincts. It can be particularly safer to use ZUPCO vehicles; buses in particular. If possible travel in pairs or groups so that you have some sort of safety net. The time you get to travel also plays a crucial role. Avoid by all means travelling after the sunset.
As much as passengers can be at risk, vehicles can also be at risk. Thus they must also be diligent when out there. It is most advisable to not carry strangers at all. If you do carry them exercise extreme caution and be on high alert at all times. When driving avoids any distractions you might find along the way. This can be broken down vehicles, blockades in the road, and the like. Never stop your vehicle in the middle of nowhere to attend to anything; not even to relieve yourself.
Avoid Using Secluded Spots Or Pathways
In our bid to get somewhere quick we tend to resort to shortcuts. Shortcuts, for the most part usually entail the use of secluded spots or pathways. These are perfect crime scenes where thieves can deal with you and leave without anyone noticing. In the same vein avoid the use of unfamiliar routes or roads when going anywhere. Another thing to add here is that learn to disguise people when moving around. What I mean is that you should not use routes religiously and routinely. Doing so can make you an easy prey because you can be stalked easily due to predictability. Develop a habit of zigzagging or haphazardly moving around so that it is not easy to be followed.
I have barely scratched the surface because there is so much to talk about. What I discussed though helps form a foundation or framework of the main things to bear in mind. Do not advertise yourself as a perfect target for thieves – look modest and ordinary. Always be aware of your surroundings and be on high alert. Navigate the transportation domain with extreme caution. Avoid secluded spots or pathways by all means. Lastly, be out only when necessary; at times you just endanger your life for no reason. Moving in packs usually helps so avoid moving around alone. The other thing is to move around with acceptable weapons you can use to ward off a thief e.g. stun guns, tasers, pepper spray, and the like. I do not recommend engaging a thief but some scenarios can be dire.