If you, dear reader, decided that you were going to circumnavigate the globe; go on a trip around the world like, what do you think would be the greatest danger you might encounter on your travels?
It is the same answer whether you travel by bus, train or plane; whether you ride a bicycle, a camel or trek on foot. Do you fear that you might succumb to the heat of The Sahara or freeze in the cold of Antarctica? Perhaps you are paranoid about being eaten by an African lion or hugged to death by a grizzly bear?
Unquestionably, any of these misfortunes can befall you as you trudge around the world, but the fact is that the greatest risk to your well-being anywhere on this planet is from fellow humans. Like my old friend Phillip Conroy often says; ‘A sheep’s worst enemy is another sheep!
Listen to news bulletins in any country and you will find that they consist mainly of reports of man doing harm to man – or “man’s inhumanity to man.” This, side by side where doctors, nurses, carers, social and voluntary workers toil away for the good of humanity – never more so than during Covid19.
Unfortunately in every society and most cultures there are those minorities who live off violence and terror against their fellow man. Muggings, hold-ups, break-ins and random late night attacks are common place in almost any country you can think of. I remember reading about a guy in Orihuela who erected a large sign on his house, after his neighbourhood suffered a spate of robberies.
The sign read: “NOTICE TO ROBBERS. We only keep enough money in the house for a day’s expenses. We have no jewellery or valuables. If you want to rob me, please ring the bell. THANK YOU!” The point here is that very often the damage caused by forced entry is a greater loss than the value of the items taken. The thing about aggressive crime which should worry all of us is that in a time of recession the level of robberies increases with rising unemployment and shortages.
Being at home won’t necessary stop the robbers and possibly you are better off for not being in the house at the time. Most thefts from residential properties are while the premises are occupied and many do not involve weapons, but entry is obtained by a con man or woman.
A good tip is never to allow anyone into your residence unless you know them, even though they claim to represent authority. We are all inclined to leave the door open if we ramble down the garden or pop in next door and this is an invitation to the burglar or opportunist thief. Do not leave jewellery or valuables on your dressing-table or anywhere they can be seen through a window.
Back to this trip around the world: Handbag or wallet theft is your greatest risk, so only carry what you need to. The guy who likes to flash the large wad of notes is an easy target heading for trouble. When shopping, always put your change back in purse before leaving the shop, or when using pass machines make sure the money is just for your own use and not to fund a thief.
Visitors are quiet often followed from airports and whilst unloading luggage they are robbed of handbags or whatever. Never leave luggage unguarded. Like people with luggage, hire cars are targeted for scams, where the driver is distracted, or an accident is faked and a handbag can disappear in the blink of an eye. Be on your guard against being engaged in conversation by strangers, no matter how well dressed or spoken – especially if they are offering you something.
Never get into an unmarked taxi – you don’t know who or what it is. For example, get a Black Cab in England or a Yellow cab in New York. Once Mrs Youcantbeserious and I arrived tired at New York’s JFK airport: At the exit a guy shouts “Taxi”; I said “sure” and before we knew it we were in the back seat of an old black sedan.
The worst thing that happened was that we were charged too much; but I’ll tell you, it was a nervous trip to that downtown hotel! Most people will take a few extra drinks on holiday. Just remember, drunken people are easy targets. Don’t wear your gold watch or carry expensive camera on the streets at night. Finally, be aware that the most frequently robbed item is now a smart phone, so keep it buttoned away.
So, as we emerge from lock-down, do heed all this advice and you have a better chance of getting around the world safely. As soon as you get back though, don’t forget to close the gate, cut the shrubbery around the windows and turn on the alarm!
Some people have the habit of finding things before they are lost