The past couple of weeks, reports of incidents of theft in the CBD in Nairobi have increased significantly. Town has now become more crowded than ever with hawkers, pedestrians, boda bodas, matatus, buses, street families, beggars and more. This has provided a good environment for thugs to thrive.
Here are some ways you can stay safe in Nairobi;
Keep looking around, see who’s behind you. If muggers see you look like you’re aware of your surroundings, they’re less likely to come for you and your things. Don’t be too concentrated on your phone if you’re using it while walking, you won’t see someone sneak up to you and take it.
Also, be ready to run, change routes or speed up when you spot a suspicious looking character near you.
Walk In A Group
If you do, walk quickly. A group of ten thugs can easily come mug you and your three friends if you walk lackadaisically. Even when getting onto a bus, be careful especially if you’re alone. The thieves may attack you while you’re on a bus and the probability of the operators of the bus helping is about 2.5%.
Don’t walk as if you’ve got nothing to do. The slower you go, the easier it is for thieves to catch up with you and snatch your things or beat you down and rob you. Don’t look idle either.
Walk In Well-Lit Areas
When it gets dark, make sure you walk in open areas where there are plenty of street lights, building lights or even vehicle lights. This way, thieves will not come for you.
The easiest places to mug people are in lanes, alleys and backroads where there are fewer people, less lights and no cameras. Avoid these areas and use roads that are out in the open.
If Someone Is Following You, Change Routes
As you stay alert, you may notice someone following you. If you do, make your route less obvious. Make many corners so you can lose them.
Don’t Expose Expensive Looking Items
There’s no need to wear a shiny gold watch, shiny silver earrings, a huge designer handbag, a 50,000shs wig when you’re just running to town to pick up something. Just dress casually like you don’t have anything worth stealing on you and robbers won’t want to waste their time on you. Also, it’s best to keep your laptop in a backpack or regular looking handbag because if you walk around with a laptop bag, it’s obvious there’s a laptop inside and this makes you a much more attractive target.
Dont Use Your Phone, Tablet Etc In Public
There’s people that walk around talking on the phone, texting or scrolling through social media. Unknowingly, you are advertising your gadgets to thieves. I mean honestly, how hard is it to keep your phone away (and on silent) as you make your way from point A to point B? If you have a nice phone, thieves you may have a lot of money too. They’ll try and take as much as they can from you. Keep your gadgets and wallet deep inside your bag or pockets so that they’re not easily accessible to pickpockets.
Carry Only Money You Need
Do not carry too much cash. Carry fare, maybe food money and a little bit extra. IF you carry large amounts of cash, you’ll get robbed of large amounts of cash. If you only have 2,000, the thieves may be nice enough to leave you with at least 100 for fare and you haven’t suffered that big a loss.
Don’t Stop For Too Long But If You Do, Look Around
As you stop and stand, whether it’s to check your phone or look around for a friend you’re supposed to meet up with, someone who has been following you and eyeing you keenly is preparing to pounce on you.
Don’t Walk Between Buses
This is an easy place to get robbed at. Even if the drivers or conductors of those buses see you, they won’t do anything. Why would they? Why should they care about some random Kenyan who probbably doesn’t care about them either? The most they’ll do is tell you “This is Nairobi! Be careful!”
Be Alert When Stopping To Buy Things From Kiosks Or From Hawkers
As you concentrate on those tops the hawjer is selling, a thief is concentrate on the bag you’re holding that you left open or the phone hanging out of the back pocket of your jeans. Make sure that you can see your bag and that it’s closed. Don’t keep things in your back pocket. They’re the easiest to snatch since you’re focusing on what’s ahead of you, not behind.
Look Like You’ve Got Things To Do
Even if you’re standing around waiting for a friend, you shouldn’t look idle. If you do, someone will come up to you and start a conversation that you don’t need, who knows what this may result in. Even when walking, walk like you’re going somewhere and don’t look lost even if you are.
Trust No One
Don’t assume that because you get robbed in a bus, the conductor will defend you against the thieves. The people around you, your friends that you’re walking with, your boyfriend too and shopkeepers will be nothing more than eyewitnesses, they won’t be courageous enough to protect you against thieves or run after them trying to get your property back. If they’re not losing anything, they’re not going to help you. Even the police may not help you, you are on your own.