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Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road Recent News, political or military events, which may affect trip plans or routes. Personal and vehicle security, tips and questions.
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  #1  
Old 21 Mar 2010
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daylight robbery at knifepoint in Cali public park

I was robbed a few weeks ago, delayed writing this up as was having so much fun in other parts of Colombia.
Anyway here it is...I was walking through a corner part of the public park connected to the larger section by a footbridge. I notice a guy angling towards me, smiling and talking away. A sales pitch I think, like a thousand others... then I notice another guy heading towards me at an intercept angle. I notice there is a marked absence of citizens in this part of the park, and that I really have no easy exits. Big guy shows his big knife and says "Dinero". I yell no, f... off and back away. Big guy grabs me by shirtfront and raises the knife, making a few downward thrusting motions. I can't break the hold, he is very strong and has long arms. The knife blade is shining in the sun, and I can see the notches in the back of the blade which must be about 4.5 " long, a buck-knife blade. Other buy is trying to get behind me to go for my wallet which has credit cards and $400 US which I have with me to change some money. I do a crazy dance with knife guy to keep other guy from getting behind me...all the time I am still yelling, no f... off. When I see a look in the knife-guys eyes that seems to signal an imminent knife thrust I say ok, dinero...he relaxes a bit and I pull out some money in my front pockets and throw it at him.. He gathers up the money and they run off. He had been looking around some when I was making the racket. Anyway I still have my wallet, and no cuts. I was lucky. I was stubborn about the wallet and just did not want to give it up. But I could have been cut or worse. You make your quick calculation of risk and go from there. Yeah..but you never really know what your response is gonna be. I was nervous and pissed...so I yelled and resisted. It paid off, but a slight miscalculation or whatever and things could have gone bad. Only recommendations I will make is, in any potentially dangerous place (which Cali is) always check out a place before walking into it (preferably with someone else) and look for other people around and exits, and cops. I missed these indicators that day, and when I went near the place next day on my bike, I could see at least 4 cops in the small area where I was robbed (yeah I reported it).
Hope this helps somebody. For the record many people told me Cali was dangerous and watch my butt or better still don't go there... there is a good party scene in the Granada area to the north of the river and park, couple good hostels...just watch the central area at night especially and any area including parks where there is little pedestrian traffic or cops. I must say I overall enjoyed Medellin a lot more than Cali, more relaxed and friendly for sure.

Larry
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Old 21 Mar 2010
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Sorry to hear of you being turned over - could happen anywhere in the world though, I know its basic but the usual advice which I stick to always when away - that is to carry a dummy / second wallet in an obvious place with a few current bank cash cards (from a second live account) with very little in the account and the wallet with a little daily cash in it - easy to just hand it over if you get in a jam like this - or if you get pickpocketed - keep your main cards/ cash etc hidden away its basic stuff but no one should get complacent - thankfully you came to no harm on this occasion.
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Old 21 Mar 2010
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Sorry to hear that.. Great to see you're ok though.

The mugger wallet is the best idea ever ! Just have $20-$30 USD in it and a few expired credit cards etc.

Have it ready to throw as a mugger with all your cash and genuine gear tucked away in a money belt.

No matter how shabby you make youself look, you can smell a gringo a mile off.
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Old 22 Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
Sorry to hear that.. Great to see you're ok though.

The mugger wallet is the best idea ever ! Just have $20-$30 USD in it and a few expired credit cards etc.

Have it ready to throw as a mugger with all your cash and genuine gear tucked away in a money belt.

No matter how shabby you make youself look, you can smell a gringo a mile off.
Yeah I was sloppy with the wallet, even though it was daylight...in some places that doesn't mean much. Generally I just take what cash I need with me and that would limit my loss considerably. That particular day I knew I was vulnerable and hence the pigheadedness. The dummy wallet is a good idea too.

Larry
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Old 23 Mar 2010
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That's nothing - I've just been ripped for £83.30 simply filling up at the petrol station this morning and that's BEFORE I have done a days work. They didn't need a knife or wear a mask - they are the UK government

I'll have to do the same again tomorrow
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Old 1 Apr 2010
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Cool thieving scumbags

.....How relavant, I've just yesterday finnished an old book "Killing Pablo" and started "Lois on the Loose"....!!!! That part of the world fasinates Me.
How about self help aids such as Pepper sprays, retractable cosh's or is that completely asking for it at borders etc...????
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Old 1 Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MEZ View Post
.....How relavant, I've just yesterday finnished an old book "Killing Pablo" and started "Lois on the Loose"....!!!! That part of the world fasinates Me.
How about self help aids such as Pepper sprays, retractable cosh's or is that completely asking for it at borders etc...????
I think the best option is, if you go out haveing a sight seeing session you stay in bright well light area's, If you do turn off & the place is quiet LEAVE retrace your steps go back to a well light area.

May I pont out as well if your seses gives you that tingling & you dont feel safe move to a area to where you do, 9 times out of 10 our animal insticts will take over.
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Old 1 Apr 2010
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I have to agree with those who've said "that could happen anywhere". And the Mugger Wallet (don't leave home without it) is the best thing ever. Not that I've had to use it yet. Weirdly I now feel very protective of my mugger wallet. Maybe I should start carrying a 3rd one...

I was in Cali for a week last July-ish, and had no probs. Well done for not getting stabbed anyway!
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Old 1 Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fastship View Post
That's nothing - I've just been ripped for £83.30 simply filling up at the petrol station this morning and that's BEFORE I have done a days work. They didn't need a knife or wear a mask - they are the UK government

I'll have to do the same again tomorrow
Maybe you should buy a motorcycle. Or have prices got really outta control since I was last home?
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Old 1 Apr 2010
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or a bicycle. two bananas (60p?) per hundred miles...
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  #11  
Old 17 Apr 2010
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I've gotten mugged a couple times in different parts of the world - once with a knife and once with a flaming spear, not joke.

I always keep money in a couple different pockets. Most of my travel shirts have zipper pockets where I keep the bulk of my cash. I keep a few loose bills in another pocket. When somebody mugs me, I pull out the loose bills and THROW them as hard as I can in one direction and run in the other.

They have to make a choice between the money on the ground or chasing me. They will choose the money every time.
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Old 4 Jun 2010
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Not to second guess your, "on the spot" decision", but if two guys, one with a knife at my stomach, ask for my money, I don't plan to dance with them. I would have given them the wallet, as inconvenient as it would have been to replace the cards and cash.

Easy for me to say in the comfort of my home, but I plan to live to ride again.

I'm glad it worked out for you. Lesson for me is don't carry what you can't afford to lose.
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  #13  
Old 30 Aug 2010
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do not carry lots of money around

if you do

pockets in you underwear for the large bills, or carry inside you shoes. (ripping big shoes off takes time)

use old worn clothes with no watches, jevellery ect that could give out that you might have something to steal = look poorer than average, dont shave ect. looking litte rougher tens to putt of thieves, they look for better targets
...trust me I se all the time older people loaded with gold and watches, or turist with big cameras and buging wallet on their back pocket americans are good with this...

Corruption ect.

as ID carry copies only!!!! the police can check what ever they need with this information keep the orginals in safe place and scan all the orginal documents into you email...if the worst happens, never ever give orginal documents to the officials if not absolutely needed....

only carry cash that you use daily, othervise Forex has a card that you can load money anywhere in the wold, and work in most of the places, again you can have multiple cards...so losing one is no catastrophy...never withraw money from the ATM: when its dark...and choose atm that has cameras around if possible, withdraw the money at the morning hours if possible.

self defense:

RUN and get away if you can

if you are pinned into situation, carry small and pointy knife strabbed under the shirt sleeve, nobody see that comming and once you pull the knife odds are much more difficult for the robber, have had one to give up immediatelly...if the attaker makes an move, let that sucker have it...dangers of his occupation...
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