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How to Handle Getting Robbed?

What is the best way to handle getting robbed?

by Yevgeniy Grigoryev

If you have never been robbed before, hopefully you never will. However, in case you find yourself in such predicament, here are some guidelines on how to best handle such a situation.

Knife Threat

What’s your life worth?

Remember, your life and health are worth much more than your wallet. The person robbing you most likely will try to convince you to part with your belongings by displaying a weapon, which could be anything ranging from a screwdriver or a knife to an actual firearm. Keep in mind, however, that their goal in most cases is not to hurt you but safely get away with your money. As described previously, situational awareness and prevention are your best tools not to end up in such situations. But if it so happens that you failed to notice a robber and they managed to approach you and present a weapon, there are several things that you can do to ensure your safety.

Your first choice is to comply

First of all, you have the option to comply. Remember, they are not after your life, just your wallet. So stay calm, identify where the exit is and then comply with their commands in such a way that you can put some distance between you and the robber. For example, do not just hand your wallet or purse to them. Instead, toss it away from you and then escape. The robber will go after the wallet/purse, and you can get to safety and call for help.

Carry a decoy

Another good idea is to carry a decoy wallet, with small bills and expired credit/debit cards. This throw-away wallet looks real enough and can be used as a ploy as described above.

When safety is not guaranteed

However, there are certain situations where complying with the armed robber might not guarantee your safety. For example, if the perpetrator is possibly under the influence of drugs and displays erratic behavior or suffers from mental illness, logical compliance may not resolve the situation.

Distract, slap, kick, run
Let’s take a scenario where the robber is standing in front of you threatening you with a knife, presented at a medium range from you – within your arm’s reach. It is important to stay very calm and feign compliance. Do not stare at the weapon or into the robber’s eyes. Instead, focus on an imaginary triangle between their shoulders and solar plexus and start talking to the robber calmly. Identify which of your hands is closest to the presented weapon and DO NOT move that hand. Instead, use the other hand, the one that’s farthest away from the knife to visually distract them by pointing in a direction away from the weapon. You could say that there is an ATM there or that your wallet is in your car there, etc. Pick the moment when they are distracted and shift their focus from the weapon to your pointing hand. When this happens, you must slap the attacker’s hand holding the knife away from you with the hand closest to the weapon and almost at the same time kick them in the groin, preferably with the leg that’s on the other side of your body than the slapping hand (so if you slap with your left, kick with your right). Then immediately land back and run away like hell in the direction away from the knife.

The key is not to telegraph/give away your movements and thus stun and surprise the distracted attacker. Remember, engaging an armed robber always carries risk of physical injury, so make sure you only choose this option if complying with their demands does not guarantee your safety. In that case, feign compliance then distract the robber, slap their hand that has the weapon using your hand that’s closest to it and kick them in the groin, then run away.