While we sincerely hope you never need this advice, it’s better to have a game plan in place. Mugging is a disturbingly common crime, especially in larger cities.
There are some steps you can take to minimize the risk of being mugged in the first place. Sticking to busy, well-lit areas is better than taking off on your own down a deserted street, for example. However, mugging can happen in broad daylight no matter how careful you are.
If you’re approached by a mugger, regardless of where you happen to be, the most important thing is to give them what they want. Sure, it’s awful and violating to turn over your phone or your wallet. But it’s better than being the victim of a stabbing, shooting, or other assault.
Don’t talk back to them or start an argument. Don’t start screaming. And don’t try to start throwing punches. Unless you are trained in self-defense and hand-to-hand combat–we’re talking real training, not watching a YouTube video–then you should never, ever try to fight a mugger. Escalating the level of violence won’t end well for you.
Although you are almost certainly scared and full of brain-mangling levels of adrenaline, you should try to note any details you can about the mugger.
Their gender, a general description of their clothes, and the direction they went–that’s enough information for police to start looking for the perpetrator.
Oh, and your phone call to the police should happen as soon as possible after the incident. You might be wondering how to call the police if you’ve just had your phone stolen.
Ask a bystander to call for you. Go into the nearest business and ask to use their phone. Tell the dispatcher where you are and what happened, then wait for the police. Practice reciting the description so you can give it to the officers when they arrive.
You’ll need to file a police report about what happened to you. Unfortunately, you also need to brace yourself for the fact that the mugger won’t be caught.
That means the irritating process of cancelling your credit cards, replacing your driver’s license and other fun activities. If your entire purse was snatched, including your keys, you might also consider having the locks changed on your doors.
Finally, there’s no shame in getting the help and support you need. See a counselor who specializes in helping victims of robberies and assaults if you can.
Talk to a faith leader, or at least talk to a friend about how you’re feeling. Even though you might not have physical injuries, being mugged is a traumatic experience.