R., my good 25-year-old female friend, was happy to visit Geneva last sunday. She works 6 days per week in a town near the most populous city of Romandie and has planned to visit the rest of Switzerland as often as she can. This unfortunate week-end caught her by surprise…
She was in a public square in Geneva and was suddenly surrounded by four male and one female moroccans. One of the males took her from behind and pressed a knife’s blade by her jugular, making it clear that she had to opt for giving away her wallet if she wanted to keep to her life. This strikingly-fast episode happened at three o’clock in the afternoon, in broad daylight, in the midst of a public square from Geneva.
After the shock passed a bit and R. started to come back to her senses, she recalled having seen quite a few dodgy people measuring her with their looks before the extremely pleasant event described above. Finally, after having calmed her down and making her realise she’s got us, her friends, to rely on now, she even made a joke about how the people that were present in that square came to her after she had been robbed and said: “Oh, I wanted to warn you about those people that robbed you” and so on.
Basically, her and I have put together some general rules to which travelers in populated cities should abide to in order not to get robbed:
- As far as possible, try not to travel alone. A lonely female is a sure catch;
- As this experience proves, even if you are in populated areas, you are not safe. Keep an eye out for people that don’t pay much attention to touristic objectives, but rather look at your hands, pockets and small laguages;
- Try not to carry a lot of cash on you. Even if it happens to get robbed, you can give the perpetrators all your money, be them 20 euros or such. It’s much better than being robbed of 300 euros and 500 francs;
- Don’t wear expensive jewels or luxury items. My friend almost had her $1000 laptop stolen, also;
- Don’t get too friendly with strangers. This wasn’t the case with my friend, but after the incident, R. has been seeing some of the people that robbed her in public spaces trying to pick up tourists and conversate with them.
If you’re interested in how R.’s episode ended up, here it goes: she went to the police, filed a complaint and… that’s all. As I said above, she even got the chance to see some of her aggressors in other public space afterwards.