Crime in the form of being attacked on the streets in various ways plagues every country. Thailand, like every country has an abundance of good people, but again, like every other country, a small proportion of the population are not the kind of people you want to meet down a dark soi. So here are a few tips to avoid becoming a victim of crime in Bangkok and elsewhere in Thailand.
1. Keep Calm
A large proportion of violence against foreigners takes place during arguments with taxi drivers. Yes, the language barrier can be frustrating, some taxi drivers may take you to the wrong place from time to time and the odd taxi driver may not be polite (although most taxi drivers are polite and friendly). So even though losing your rag and having a go at a taxi driver who has annoyed you in some way may seem justified, it is best to try and keep as calm as possible. The reason being is that most taxi drivers carry some kind of weapon, usually under the seat or in the boot, for personal protection. That argument, if it turns nasty, could escalate and end up with you being hospitalised or six foot under. With the crime rate in Bangkok going high we have researched and created some useful tips for expats and locals to protect themselves for NOT being mugged or attacked in Thailand.
2. The Number 1 Target
The number one target for sexual attacks are women travelling on their own or who are unaccompanied. With respect to equal rights for both sexes, it still is a fact that the brave female backpacker jetting around the world is also a prime target. So, if you are a woman travelling alone make sure to team up with a few fellow travellers and hang out in a group. If you are a woman alone, do not trust a guy you’ve just met or have known for just a few days to walk you ‘safely’ home.
3. Assault Hotspots
Avoid deserted beaches as deserted beaches are an attacker’s dream. Walking down dark side roads is also a risk, as well as walking over bridge overpasses late at night. Why walk the streets of Bangkok at night anyhow? Public transport and taxis are everywhere and if not there are numerous numbers to ring to order one.
4. Take Responsibility
When we become victims of an attack there are sometimes various factors that make us accountable in small ways. For example, if a person is attacked because they are drunk, walking down dark roads at night, laying on a deserted beach or placing complete trust in strangers they’ve just met, then they are partly responsible for not looking after themselves properly. This may not seem like a fair thing to say but it is a fact that a person who plans ahead to avoid danger has a far less chance of being assaulted in the first place. Having said that, there is no absolute safe way to go through life and an attack can come at the most unexpected times.
5. Cause and Effect
Attacks motivated by hatred and violence usually start with a chain of events. Such as if someone bumps into someone or when someone says something in a drunken state that is out of order. When this happens, a situation can escalate or decrease in intensity by the reactions we choose. For instance, if someone bumps into you and doesn’t apologise then looks at you like it is your fault, that’s enough to fire up anyone; however, now there are two choices, you can either shrug your shoulders and walk on, or you can hurl insults. The choice of whether to escalate or decrease stress in a situation where you clash with someone can be a key factor in avoiding violence.
6. Personal Protection
If you are driving in Bangkok lock your doors whilst you are travelling. If you must stop, for whatever reason to talk to a stranger only wind down the window a little bit to avoid being sprayed in the eyes with any substance. If someone asks you to take a picture of them using their phone don’t do it, as there have been cases where the mobile phone will discharge an electrical shock, stunning the victim so that they can be more easily robbed. If you are unlucky enough to be attacked and it is a life or death situation, remember that even everyday objects can become weapons for protection, such as a bunch of keys or even a belt. Also, when you are out drinking alcohol in the evening keep a close eye on your drink, to cut out the remote possibility that an attacker might spike it.
7. Tourist Areas
Tourist areas around the world are places where attackers like to hang out. As tourists with money to spend who may be green and un-streetwise make perfect targets. Therefore, if someone approaches you who you don’t know be on your guard. If you are unlucky enough to have someone latch onto you, who will not let up in trying to get close to you, just ask if you can borrow some money from them because you’ve run out of spending money, this will quickly repel them away if they are up to any money oriented scam.
Most Thai people are very kind and want you to have a fantastic time in Thailand. Attacks and muggings are rare and it is usually because the victim has not taken adequate precautions or they were green and gullible. Thailand is safe compared to many countries and if you plan ahead to be as safe as you possibly can there is no need to worry unnecessarily. Stay safe but relax and have fun too in one of the most friendliest nations on Earth.