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Tips to stay safe in Karachi

We can’t help it. Muggers and kidnappers are roaming freely on the streets under the very patronage of Sind police.

We can’t help it. Muggers and kidnappers are roaming freely on the streets under the very patronage of Sind police. But we sure can change our own routines and practices to avoid bumping into such elements. If God forbid, there’s a showdown, how to get out of it?  Here are a few tips:

1) First and foremost : Be aware of your surroundings and keep all your senses active once you leave home.

2) When driving to work early in the morning, choose main roads instead of congested lanes. This reduces the risk of getting cornered by street criminals or potential kidnappers. Similarly when returning back home, follow the same practice.

3) Don’t be predictable. Choose a different route to work or home every consecutive or alternate day. This reduces the risk of falling into a pre-planned trap.

4) Ensure that your car’s windows are rolled up and doors locked at all times. This reduces the risk of anyone forcing an entry and taking you by surprise.

5) The law prohibits usage of tints on your vehicle’s windows but you can still use those detachable shades. This acts as a very effective barrier specially when you’re waiting at a traffic intersection and chances of any cellphone snatcher  pulling up right next to you are extremely high. Shades also protect women from those unwanted stares from fellow motorists on the road.

6) If you carry an expensive blackberry or Iphone and wish to keep them safely hidden from cellphone snatchers, no need to freak out. Keep your expensive set either in your glove compartment or safely tucked inside the sun visor and keep a cheap spare phone and a wallet with a few hundred Rupees within reach. In case you get cornered by a mugger, simply hand over these decoys instead of the original ones. Remember, these criminals are in a hurry and won’t stop to check the brand and quality of your cellphone.

7) When leaving a bank, money exchange or a western union outlet, try not to rush to your home.Take some time to check out your surroundings just to ensure if you’re being followed or not. The best way to identify a stalker is to take 2 consecutive U-turns and observe anything unusual through your back view mirror.

8) When receiving or seeing off guests at your home, spend least possible time outside the main gate. All the courtesy exchanges could very conveniently be done within the safe boundaries of your home.

9) Use a hands free kit to take or make calls when driving.

10) When attending late night wedding parties, try parking your car nearest to the venue.

11) If a stranger tries to speak with you, don’t stop, answer while you are walking and move away quickly. Asking directions or any question is a favorite ploy of a mugger. Anything to get you to stop moving. In these troubled times, it’s better to be selfish than sorry.

12) Avoid withdrawing cash from ATMs installed at deserted locations. Prefer using machines in malls or public areas. Before using the ATM, take a look around to be sure that you are not being watched. If you suspect you are not alone, leave immediately and withdraw money another time. After you have finished a transaction at any ATM, leave right away. Don’t take your time while standing in front of the machine. This gives muggers a perfect chance to sneak up behind you.

13) If you get cornered and held hostage at gun point, just remain calm, hold your nerves and be aware of your surroundings. When in panic, your mind tends to go offline. Don’t make any sudden or suspicious moves. Completely surrender and stay still. Muggers usually are in a hurry and leave as soon as they have what they want.

14) Be extra vigilant when on foot and avoid making or taking phone calls unless you have reached a safer place.

15) If you are caught in a mugging despite your precautions, the safest thing to do is to comply with the mugger’s requests. A mugging can turn ugly, especially if the mugger has a knife or gun. If asked to empty your bag or pockets, obey calmly. Remember: you can stop payment on credit cards and file a stolen phone report with your cellular phone provider, so it is better to simply let go of these items. Respond neutrally to any questions the mugger asks, and be non-confrontational.

16) NEVER EVER RESIST an armed robbery. Life is precious.

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