Everyone, especially your parents, will have advice for you about when Big Bad Criminals come a knockin’ at your face. Carry an emergency $20 so you don’t get pistol whipped for not having any cash, our mom once told us. Though having been mugged with an empty wallet, we know that you can’t always predict what will happen (we were fine, albeit annoyed). What you can do is try to keep yourself out of dangerous situations, and here’s how:
Avoid being alone. If you’re out late at night, travel with friends. There is safety in numbers.
Know your nabe. Keep track of which streets in your neighborhood are well-lit and where the 24-hour stores and bodegas are so you have safe spots.
Stop pickpockets. Keep your wallet in your front pockets or in a bag strapped across your shoulder.
Hang up the phone. People think that by talking on the phone, they will seem connected and like a bad target. They are wrong. Talking on a cell phone only gives you the illusion of safety: You need to be aware of your surroundings and the people near you.
Don’t be a flashy asshole. Don’t count cash or wave around expensive objects. Stow iPods in a bag or pocket and invest in non-white headphones.
Avoid looking like a tourist. Wandering around wide-eyed and brandishing a map is an easy way to make yourself a target. Write down directions on a small piece of paper if you need them, and duck into a deli or store to ask for directions if you must; don’t stop people on the street.