I’d say this would mainly go to females, but I guess anyone could do it:
Have you ever pretended to be talking on your cell phone while out at night or in a area where you don’t feel safe? The theory being, “if you touch me, I’ll scream and this person I’m talking to will be able to, a) call the police, b) run over from across town and kick your ass, c) hear some significant clue that will lead the police to the perp.”
Now I know that it’s hardly uncommon to see 95% of females walking around, at any time of day, with their cell phone to their ears, but I just have a feeling that some of them are faking it.
I have made real phone calls in such situations- usually to my husband telling him where I was walking and why I didn’t feel safe, but otherwise I agree with the above, I’d rather have my phone ready to dial 911 if need be.
I doubt it’s any kind of deterrent. If anything, a mugger might assume you’re distracted and therefore less likely to notice them preparing to jump you. It wouldn’t really matter even if you were actually on the phone with 9-1-1 at the time. A mugging will be over in seconds and the perp well away before police ever arrive on the scene.
I agree that you just might be an easier target for a mugger, who will assume you’re not paying much attention to your surroundings. If anything, I’ll fake a call if a beggar is approaching me or to avoid making chit-chat with someone. Of course, it backfires if your phone actually rings! Oops!
When I fear mugging, I begin scratching my face in one spot over and over and mumbling loudly to myself. Given that I usually have uncut hair, overgrown facial hair and a generally disheveled appearance, the mumbling and scratching is enough to convince strangers that I am likely a mentally ill homeless man, that I have nothing of value and that I am likely dangerous. Other pedestrians have been known to cross the street to avoid me once I go into my act.
The type of individuals who commit violent crimes are not real thinkers. They aren’t going to consider the consequences of maybe you having someone else on the other end of the phone that might report an attack on you. It would make no real difference it you actually were talking to the police. If they stopped to think “Oh wait, I might get caught!”, there would be no such crimes.
The idea that talking on a cell phone is a deterrent to crime is a delusion.
If you are really worried that you sometimes find yourself in unsafe areas, consider that they make small handguns that fit in any purse. Getting a permit to conceal and carry is a 2 hour class.
Living in fear is a hell of a way to live. Your cell phone might be able to transmit your final scream, but that is about it.
My thoughts on letting someone know (or calling the police) is not necessarily to prevent the crime, but to let someone know where to start looking if I “disappear” or (and I know this is morbid!) where to find the body…or where to find me if I am injured and in need of help.
I didn’t own a working cell phone until about a year ago.
However, for the last 5 years I’ve had an old, non-functioning one, strictly to use when walking in areas I was hinky about.
As far as criminals not being ‘real thinkers’, you’re right to a point.
But you still lock your doors, right? Why?
Because crimes of opportunity often hinge on a split decision, and every little bit tilting in your favour is good.
People who wouldn’t break into a car to steal the purse on the seat might take the purse if it’s out on the hood.
It’s just damage control to take whatever non-disruptive precautions might help make you that much less of a desirable target.
Like…locking your doors.
Sure, but talking on a cell phone is a good way to be a more desirable target. It basically says “I am not paying attention to my surroundings.” A more effective deterrent is to appear to be confident, alert, and able to defend yourself. Even better is to avoid dodgy areas during times when there aren’t many other people around.
If it’s dark and late where there aren’t many people around, I make it a point to not let people walk behind me too closely. I definitely make sure I’ve got one of the two canisters of pepper spray I carry in my hand. I stop to one side of the sidewalk and pretend I forgot something while getting a good look at whoever was behind me and letting them pass.
Sometimes all it takes for one not to be a target is to look like you’re paying attention to what’s around you. Plus, my phone’s an iPhone. Not a good idea in Chicago lately to make it obvious you have one. Though I still haven’t figured out how much they really make from stealing them.
I don’t live in an area where I’m likely to be mugged, but I like to have a jacket with pockets in the front that have vertical openings, preferably without zippers, so I can easily slide my hands in and out and walk with my hands in them if I want to. They would be good places to keep a weapon, and even if I don’t have one, I could have one for all anyone knows. If I was walking around in just a t-shirt or something than it would be less likely that someone would fear I was armed.
Such pockets are also useful for keeping one’s hands warm in the winter.
Yup! In dodgy areas I even avoid getting my phone out because that would be like saying ‘hello, Mr Mugger, let me make life easier for you - you don’t even have to wait for me to get my phone out and hand it over to you, it’s right here in my hand ready for you to grab!’
I tend to run or jog in such areas. Makes you a more difficult target, makes them wonder why you’re running or jogging (presuming you’re not dressed for sport), and of course it gets you out of those areas sooner. I do sometimes have my phone in my hand inside my pocket, 999 dialled in and thumb hovering over the call button, but there’s no way I’d get the phone out.
I’m not that sure. Criminals aren’t psychic, and they don’t know whether that person you are potentially talking to on the phone, is not just around the corner and about to meet them, and also, someone talking openly on a phone can exude a slight whiff of confidence, which puts all but the most determined muggers off.
It’s also a little like whistling in a dark place, for those doing it, I imagine.
They don’t know if you’re around the corner from meeting a friend that you’re not on the phone to, either. Being on the phone to someone makes it less likely that you’ve got a friend nearby, not more. In any case, if your friend were close enough to get to you and help you because you shouted for help down the phone then they’d be close enough to come and help you if you just shouted out loud, no phone necessary.
Talking on a phone as a security tactic would be monumentally stupid. It’d basically be like taking your money out of your wallet, waving it around and looking at the money instead of the street around you.