LIVE TO TRAIN - TACTICAL
I kept my old wallet as an option to help reduce the impact of a mugging or falling victim to a pickpocket, instead of losing all my important ID’s and banking/credit cards, I’d lose an old wallet. Often refer to as a decoy or a fake wallet, this tactic has a few particularities necessary to be effective.
This method is highly recommended to be used in higher risk areas. Doesn’t mean that if a travel advisory mentions pickpocketing or mugging as a risk that the entire country is at risk, there are vulnerable areas that represent a higher risk than other areas. What are these vulnerabilities? The most important vulnerability will always be yourself, are you an easy target? How effective are you at blending into your environment, can you blend into what is “normal” around you… this goes beyond your appearance and most importantly focuses on your behaviour and posture. Times of day/week/seasons may be more at risk but that is location specific.
Higher risks areas to pickpocketing include public transportation, markets, popular plazas, squares, beaches, tourist attractions, downtown at busy intersections often where business meets commercial zones.
Higher risk areas to muggings include isolated areas downtown, parking lots, street-side ATMs, wrong taxis, public transportation.
Obviously, your best bet to reduce the likelihood of falling victim to this type of crime is to identify and avoid these vulnerabilities. However, if you anticipate finding yourself in a higher risk situation (time and place), then utilizing the pickpocket/mugger’s wallet is a great tactic. HOW TO:
1. Pick a wallet that closely resembles your habitual wallet not to change your behaviour with the object. Whether it’s in a purse or dominant side pocket, keep it in its usual spot, it’s only a replacement.
2. This wallet needs to contain enough items to satisfy the demand of a mugger, imagine a situation where you are looking down the barrel of a gun and the waste of oxygen at the other end is very stressed and has his finger on the trigger because he's never had adequate firearms training. My decoy wallet includes: 1) enough money to make them feel satisfied with their score and not beat you or keep you for more; 2) one operational banking or credit card with a lower daily limit that can be easily reported stolen; 3) filler, a few papers like receipts or used tourist attraction tickets; 4) old/expired ID cards with your picture on it, seriously! Criminals evolve rapidly and they are aware of the fake wallet strategy, 5) loose change to immediately make the satisfying noise of "cha-ching" when handled.
3. This wallet is kept at its usual spot and should be operational. Muggers and pickpockets may have been watching you for a while to determine your value as a target and whether you're hiding other valuables. Use this wallet like it's real.
What to do with your actual wallet and the items you don't want to lose? Keep them somewhere safe, carrying them in high risk areas increases the possibility of losing them. Otherwise, I always hide a backup banking/credit card, ID and enough emergency cash to get me back to base (home, hotel, safe location).
With this pro-active tactic, you can now relax and enjoy what you traveled for or enjoy living there, this will show in your posture and behaviour which will automatically make you look more confident and at ease which greatly reduces being profiled as an easy target.