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  • Don't Be a Victim: 4 Safety Tips to Ward Off Criminals

    These days, criminals are getting more and more "creative" with their modus operandi
    by Bubbles Salvador .
Don't Be a Victim: 4 Safety Tips to Ward Off Criminals
PHOTO BY @Antonio_Diaz/iStock
  • What could be worse than having your brand new mobile phone (Which you had been saving up for) snatched from you? These days, criminals are up and about with the most creative modus operandi (MO), out to strip you not just of your material possessions but also your sense of security. 

    How do you know what potential dangers to look out for? Every week, a new MO is discovered, spreading like wildfire on the Internet. These devious schemes are constantly changing, and they seem to be getting more complicated by the minute. 

    While experts agree that people have become more aware of these MOs, it still doesn’t change the fact that danger lurks everywhere. Security consultant Bong Orteza says, “Ang target nila ay makapanloko, whether on a small or a large scale. They will find a way so that unwillingly, you will give in to what they want.”

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    According to Snooky Cruz, chief tactical firearms instructor and senior consultant, “It’s important to realize what you’re up against. The predators are out there — and they’re not like you in any way. They will [harm you] without hesitation if that’s what it would take to get that phone from you.”

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    Avoiding these dangerous situations entails changing the way we think. “Look at your assumptions about the world. It’s much different now compared to the time we were being brought up. You don’t have to be [overly] paranoid, but you should always be prepared,” adds Cruz.

    Cruz says there are four things that will help you pinpoint potential hazards and avoid them altogether.

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    4 things to remember to stay safe

    1. Awareness: Don’t be complacent.

    The moment you step out of the house to take public transportation or shop at the malls, awareness is important. “Anytime you have to circulate in public, you have to have this mindset. Once you focus on shopping, you’re not aware anymore. That’s what criminals are looking for,” says Cruz, making you the perfect prey. 

    Realizing that you are always in danger once you step out of the house means not letting your guard down. Cruz likens it to the state of awareness one should have while driving. “You are aware that there are cars behind you and motorcycles on your sides. You are not complacent — you anticipate things that could happen,” she says.

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    Remember: Criminals [usually] never work alone. “Kahit lima sila, maghahati sila sa isang kwintas [na mananakaw nila].”

    2. Preparation: Be ready.

    Sometimes we think we’re prepared, but we’re actually not. Always plan ahead, says Cruz. The best way to do this is to play “What if?” mind games: What if I hear gunfire at the mall? What if a snatcher steals my bag? Once inside the mall, look for possible escape routes in case a commotion erupts. If a snatcher pulls out a knife, drop your belongings and run. More often than not, they are only after your material possessions. 

    Remember: Criminals are out to get what they want. If you show any sings of resistance, they would likely threaten to hurt you. “Sometimes, they think you’re resisting but in reality, na-shock ka lang. This is because most of us have not experienced violence firsthand. It’s a whole different feeling when it actually happens to you,” says Cruz.

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    3. Practicality: Use common sense.

    In an emergency, the tendency is to panic, especially if it’s a situation that’s unfamiliar to us. The same is true when we encounter criminals. “We tend to forget everything we know, and most of the time, it’s just common sense that will save us. If you allow your brain to search for a solution, you would find one,” assures Cruz. 

    Remember: Even without a weapon, you can still defend yourself, says Cruz. The power of a thumb driven deeply into the eye of an attacker could spell the difference in helping you make a quick escape. You just need the presence of mind to remember to do it. 

    4. Emotion: Don’t be afraid — be angry.

    Especially if you’re conscious of it, being a victim of an MO could be scary. However, Cruz says that fear shouldn’t overpower you. “Change fear to anger. You [react] better pag galit ka, kasi pag natatakot ka, you [shut down] or you let it be. If you feel angry, you feel determined to stop them. [You strongly feel that[ this shouldn’t be happening to you,” Cruz says.

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    Remember: the bottom line is that if it’s a choice between property and your life, the choice is obvious. Make sure your kids know this as well. “Kids are sometimes more afraid of being grounded by their parents than being victimized by criminals. Make it clear to them that if someone steals the gadget that you gave them, you will not punish them for it,” advises Cruz.

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