Recently, The Daily Nation newspaper run a rather gut-wrenching and heartbreaking story of the Nairobi residents pain and anguish over increasing cases of mugging in the city. The story shocked and appalled the readers in equal measure with most of them turning to social media to vent their frustrations and anger towards the perpetrators and the government.
“This Sonko guy should be stopped from making such terrible lapse in judgment. This will enable thugs and lend them undue credence. Kwani this governor is unable to protect citizen? Why do we pay taxes?” says a disgruntled Nairobian.
Well, as much as it is the governments’ duty to provide safe and reliable towns for people to run their business, we should cut them some slack. They are not entirely to blame for the influx of mugging cases. The current economic crisis in the country, unemployment and even the fact that it’s the month of Njaanuary could all contribute. Sometimes, even a person’s demeanor could end up making someone a victim.
Yeah, yeah, I know, the victim is never at fault but before you decide to lynch me at the stake, you should know not all people fall prey to muggings in the big towns. Second, why you? Why would the mugger choose you with your mitumba clothes instead of the guy with the ksh15, 000 snap-back? Are you a victim of circumstance or the victim of a targeted attack?
If the latest anecdotes from mugging victims are anything to go by, you are more likely to be robbed or mugged on the streets than from your vehicle ,your home or office. The most obvious reason for the above statement is the simple fact that when we are out in the streets, our curiosity gets the best of our common sense. The result is that one tends to unknowingly wander around in completely unsafe areas. This is more so, in busy and picturesque towns such as Nairobi which are favorite haunts for muggers and robbers.
However, it’s not just about the places you wander to that may increase your chances of compromising your personal security but rather, the behavior with which you carry yourself on the streets . So don’t think that you can just dress in high-end designer clothes jewelry and insouciantly stroll around Runda (or other towns deemed safe), thinking you are safe. You could end up walking home in your briefs and a bruised ego.
In an unorthodox experiment conducted in a major town prone to mugging, a group of convicted muggers were shown a video from a CCTV camera and asked to pinpoint potential mugging victims. They did not select their victims by age, gender, race or looks. It was how people walked, moved and behaved that painted the bulls’ eye on their backs.
So in case you are planning to visit a new city, very green from the country side, you might want to consider the following tips to improve your personal security. They may appear subtle and rather stupid for the experienced “born Tao” people, but who knows, you could be the next one busy lamenting to your friends “Wueh, Nairobi ni kuzii Jo!”
Learn to act crazy
If you can easily go berserk on cue, then do so. It could come in handy on the onset of a mugging attack. Muggers and robbers do not like crazies because they are too unpredictable. Next time you see someone hot on your tail, start talking to yourself. You might lose a potential date but at least you would be safe.
Over emphasize your body build while walking
Try to look as tall and broad as you can. Do this by sticking your chest, pushing back your shoulders and holding your head high. Make the mugger peering down the street think of you as an intimidating target. Dont shuffle across the street with your head down.
Keep your valuables safe
Try to carry your purse, wallet, mobile phones, etc. in your inside pockets and if you are a lady in your handbag. So many people have been mugging victims because of the reckless way they carry their phones. It’s a normal sight to meet people, their phones slightly held at the edges, with subtle gestures of the wrist with fingers swirling like our brothers and sisters in the fashion industry. You should also be weary if someone pushes you or comes suspiciously close to you.
Shun all kinds of street peddlers and the games of chances idlers
In many towns this activity is illegal and most of the times and often have dishonest ends or may constitute fraud. The products they sell act as a smokescreen to the actual motive of robbing you blind. Do not consider to stop to watch them even for a second because that’s all it takes for them to mug you.
Always look relaxed and at ease
If you walk tensely and nervously through a dangerous street, you are likely to attract muggers like a reggae concert attracts Rastafarians .Try to look cool and confident and the muggers just might think twice before approaching you