Getting mugged on the street is a traumatic experience, even if you haven’t been injured. It leaves you confused, scared and angry. So what to do if you get robbed on the street?
The first thing to do when you get robbed is to calm down and start thinking through the next steps. You are on a clock to find the thief and minimize the amount of damage they might do. How quickly you act and what you do could mean the difference between recovering your stolen items and losing them forever.
1. Call the police
If the thief has already gotten away, nearby bystanders won’t help much. Call the police emergency number instead (999).
This will help them locate the thief quickly especially if there were cameras nearby. Make sure you provide a good description of the attacker to help the police find them as quickly as possible.
If you are seriously injured, say so. An ambulance will be dispatched along with the police.
Reporting the mugging to the police immediately is not just for your safety, it can also help you get compensated by insurers. If for instance you had insured your phone, the insurer may request a police report before paying out your claim.
Note: If you are on a trip outside the UK, call the local police emergency number which you should already know before travelling there.
2. Prevent additional theft
If you had a credit or debit card among the stolen items, call your bank immediately to cancel them. Otherwise, you stand the risk of additional theft.
If your laptop or phone has been stolen, the thief could already be trying to make purchases using your accounts.
Find an internet café or ask a friend to lend you their laptop and change your most important passwords immediately.
3. Contact the insurance company
If anything insured has been stolen, maybe jewellery or an electronic device, contact your insurance provider immediately.
Provide any necessary details about the incident and tell them you’ve already reported it to the police. They’ll direct you on how to make a claim.
If you don’t have insurance, time to consider getting covered especially if you travel often. You can get a travel insurance package that covers you against theft of valuables.
If you are travelling abroad, make sure the insurer will cover you there as well.
4. Find, lock or erase your phone
If your phone has been stolen, both Apple and Google give you options for recovering it. Make sure the ‘find my phone/device’ setting is turned on in your iPhone or Android phone.
You’ll need to use a computer or someone’s phone to locate your own. Once you do, you can view its location on a map or ring it to find out if it’s nearby.
The latter might not be the best thing to do as it will alert the thief to your search efforts.
If you cannot find your phone, you can also lock it or remotely wipe it.
In the future, make sure you have anti-theft measured turned on. You can use the built-in location tracking or download a tracking app.
5. Change your door locks
If your keys were stolen, change your door locks as quickly as possible. If you live with a friend or your parents, ask them to change their locks.
If your car key was among the stuff stolen, take steps to prevent your car from being stolen as well.
Take your spare key and immobilise the car by removing the sparkplugs or another essential component. Then call an auto locksmith to deprogram the stolen key and program another.
If your car insurance provider has key protection as part of their coverage, call them immediately to make a claim.
6. Learn from your experience
Don’t beat yourself up over the incident. It helps no one.
What you should be doing is learning from it for future sake. Determine whether you could have been more alert, if you should have avoided that location or better secured your valuables.
One of the things you can do to prevent a future mugging is to secure your backpack or purse. There are plenty of lockable handbags and backpacks you can buy.
Alternatively, buy a security backpack with built-in security measures like an embedded mesh, locks and hidden zippers.