We have a lot of preconceived ideas of what Florida is: the “Sunshine State,” the “theme park capital of the world.” To a lot of people, it’s a prime vacation destination and a haven of rest and relaxation.
But it doesn’t mean the state has a completely clean record. Over 18,000 robberies were reported in Florida in 2017.
It may not be worst of the 50 United States in this regard, but it’s worth noting. Getting mugged while visiting or traveling through Florida is an unfortunate possibility.
That shouldn’t make you feel hopeless, though! We’ve got tips on how to avoid a robbery or mugging while in Florida, plus some advice on what to do if it happens.
Plan Your Trip Thoroughly
Just like if you were moving to Florida, you need to know how to be safe when visiting Florida, too.
An important first step to avoid being mugged is simply to do your homework beforehand. Make sure your trip is planned out as smoothly and thoroughly as possible.
For example, know the layout of the airport you’re landing in. Know exactly how you will exit and what transportation you’ll be using when you leave.
From there, have a solid itinerary for where you’ll be staying, and make sure you understand the safest and quickest way to get there. Do some research about where you’ll be staying and find out where the safest places are to stay.
Of all the traveling safety tips you could possibly be given, one of the best is to simply be prepared. The less you know about your trip or where you’re going, the more unaware you’ll be and the greater the chances of getting robbed.
Stick to the Crowds
This tip comes with a bit of a tradeoff. Pickpockets love crowded areas because they can get away with robbing you a little more easily.
Sticking close to crowded areas and large groups of people can reduce the chance of getting mugged, though. A mugger will be less likely to assault you if there are too many possible witnesses around.
This also includes sticking to well-lit areas as it will be easier to identify an attacker in good lighting.
Have Valuables Close By
If you’re still worried about pickpocketing in crowded areas, though, consider putting your wallet, keys, phone, etc. in your front pockets. Have them somewhere nearby where you can keep your hands on them at all times.
Use a thinner wallet rather than a bulky one, so that it doesn’t protrude and look obvious to others.
Alternatively, you could consider not carrying too many valuables at all. If you’re staying at a hotel, keep your valuables in a lockbox, and only carry what is necessary.
This isn’t the time to show off your designer purse, wallet, etc. Be a little more conservative, and potential muggers may be less likely to see you as a target.
Knowing there is a threat is one of the best ways of avoiding one in the first place! You need to be aware of your surroundings and alert to anything that might be off.
Don’t stare at your phone for too long or wear noise-canceling headphones. These things will distract you and keep you from seeing the bigger picture around you.
The more distractions you let happen, the less likely you’ll be able to see a mugger coming.
It can be confusing if you’re traveling in a new state, though. So if you find yourself getting lost or confused, get somewhere safe quickly and orient yourself from there.
One way to avoid being mugged is to give off an air of assertion to those around you. It doesn’t mean you need to be rude, but make it clear that you are aware of those around you and you can handle yourself if need be.
Some examples include:
- Maintain good posture
- Keep your head up
- Look people in the eyes
- Walk deliberately
These cues will subtly tell people around you that you’re not weak and prepared for an assault if it happens to come your way.
Looking people directly in the eyes is a particularly good way to fend off potential muggers. If muggers think that they have already been spotted and identified, they may be less likely to bother you at all.
Know What To Do If You’ve Been Mugged
Even if you follow all of the best advice, there’s no 100 percent, guaranteed way to avoid getting mugged.
If you are mugged, there are a few things you can do to help the situation:
- Give them what they want
- Draw attention to yourself
- Use self-defense if necessary
- Get out of the situation as quickly as possible
- Call the police
- Seek legal action
If you got robbed, then you know you need to give them what they want. There’s no point in getting yourself hurt over a few measly dollars.
Self-defense weapons like mace and tasers can be helpful if the situation gets violent. And if you’re near other people, drawing attention to yourself may help them notice what’s happening so that they can help you.
Ultimately, you need to do everything you can to get out of the situation as fast as possible so that you can call the police. Assault and battery resources can often help you figure out what to do afterward, such as suing someone for a robbery or mugging if you’ve identified them.
Traveling Through Florida Safely
It’s no secret that Florida is a huge vacation destination. Beautiful beaches, exciting theme parks, and natural sightseeing call to many of us, but you need to know how to travel safely.
Florida has its fair share of violent crimes, and if you want to avoid being mugged while visiting the state, you need to take the proper precautions. Know your surroundings, be alert, plan your trip well, and be prepared to get out of violent situations as quickly as possible.
If you’re planning an upcoming trip to the Sunshine State but aren’t sure what to check out, here are some hidden gems you may not have considered!