How to Avoid Getting Mugged

June 17, 2022

How to Avoid Getting Mugged



Phil and the guys (Note: most violent bad people are men, sorry Dad) watched people on the street determining which ones looked like easy mugging targets. Amazingly, without any consultation whatsoever, they all picked the same people. 

Fortunately, Phil’s gang was part of an experiment in 1981 (Grayson, B., & Morris, I.) where violent inmates rated New York pedestrians from one to ten based on how easy or difficult a “target” may be. Unfortunately, in the world of personal assaults violent criminal minds have not changed much. The silver lining here is that we can learn from criminal thinking to stay safer.

First, one puzzling thing about muggings is that they are called muggings. One sees a three-year-old “mugging” for the camera or explain away Crazy Uncle Bud’s behavior by describing him a “mug.” Maybe it is a euphemism (a mild word substituted for one considered to be too harsh when referring to something unpleasant).

Often, we hear on the news about someone who was “sexually assaulted” when they were, in fact, raped. Mr. Google claims that “mug” is 19th century slang for attacking or robbing someone. So to be clear, getting mugged is NOT just a tad unpleasant, it can be and frequently is, a violent attack perpetrated by one or more really bad people (men) upon mostly innocent victims. So, what can we learn about Phil and his gang that can help us NOT be mugged? 




Common Sense Guidelines to Help You Avoid Getting Mugged

First, if you look like food you will be eaten. In this concept, Phil’s guys are not much different than a pride of lions checking out a herd of zebras. Brain sparks fly and a predator looks for Jack or Jill Weakest Link.

What do they focus on? A shuffling gait, shortened strides, arms swinging oddly, chins down, hunched shoulders, not looking around, walking rapidly or too slow. Bottom line: easy prey do not look like other zebras. Not surprisingly, you need to fit in more because there is strength in numbers. 

Here are some other tips to avoid being mugged, or even the victim of kidnapping and other bad things humans do to each other:

·        What time are you going out? Being a violent bad guy is mostly second or third shift work. Like skunks, bad guys love the dark.

·        Where are you going? Places serving adult beverages do not consider your safety outside their establishment. Nonetheless, if you depart intoxicated to even a small degree, you risk being the weak zebra.

·        Are you alone? Bring friends. Stay with friends. Leave with friends.

·        What are you wearing? Can you look nice and still wear something comfortable that you could fight in? Can you run in the shoes you wear? To a lion, even an attractive zebra is still just a zebra. 

·        Let people know where you are going and with whom.

·        How are you getting there? Travel to and from with friends, if possible.

·        Is your cell charged and ready at a moment’s notice?

·        Are you in good physical condition for your age? Most bad guys are young and have been in many more fights than your average martial arts instructor. You do not have to beat them in a fight, just survive long enough to run away or get help.

·        Have you ever gotten any self defense training? Not the type where you learn Asian words and do forms, but one where actual fighting is emphasized. Example: boxing, Combat Hapkido, Krav Maga.

·        Be SITUATIONALLY AWARE! Be like a tourist, look around, briefly make eye contact with others, look in store windows to see if you are being followed, sit with your back to a wall in a restaurant. Plus: watch people’s hands, the hands kill, not many shoot a pistol accurately with their feet.



Mind Your Self Defense Weapons

A person was asked why they carry a weapon. They said it was because cops are too heavy to carry. Purses can absorb punches, long handled combs can poke out an eye, pepper spray can deter an attacker, tasers may temporarily incapacitate (using knives and handguns requires much training and practice!).

Also, there is the MUNIO Self Defense Kubotan Keychain. The MUNIO can stab like a knife, strike like an impact tool, and even slash if it is used in a flailing motion across the assailant’s eyes. The MUNIO can strike an attacker and inflict enough pain and damage to disable them so you can get way safely.

To summarize, YOU are responsible for your own safety and that of your loved ones. You do not have to be a helpless zebra. We know the mind is the most powerful weapon, use it to think about the unthinkable.


Dr. Art Amann is an instructor in both Karate and Kung Fu, with over forty years of experience in the martial arts. He has a doctorate in education and has spent close to 20 years as an instructor and director of the Police Academy and the Public Safety Institute at Mercyhurst University. He is also the former Erie County Prison warden and chief adult probation/parole officer with a lot of experience to share from it. He is a certified instructor for the MUNIO Self Defense Workshops, a PA Act 120 Academic Instructor, PA Act 235 Classroom and Defensive Tactics Instructor, PA Municipal Police Defensive Tactics Instructor, NRA Basic Pistol Instructor, and Pressure Point Control Tactics Instructor.

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