For personal reasons I happen to travel outside of Italy, especially in South America and they are places where taxis usually cost little and where the car service is allowed, I translate uber is widely used.
Now in Italy this I’m saying can be used by the many taxi drivers as an extra reason not to allow to use Uber in the Italica Peninsula but the post is written especially for those traveling abroad for tourism or for jobs places where there are high crime levels.
With this post I want to provide you with prevention actions that you can take when you decide to use a taxi or online services with driver, or private, etc.
When you’re abroad unless you rent a car it’s easy for you to use taxis so it’s important that you take some precautions because you can’t probably do without it.
Reports of taxi offences
Different types of crime have been reported at the expense of tourists or pairs of tourists, groups of men around work, etc.
- Cases of alleged sexual assaults committed by drivers of the taxi service Uber.
- Others have been involved in the creation of robberies,extortion and the like.
Fighting inside a car is very complex for several reasons:
- the space is small,
- the driver put the lock centrally so you don’t get away,
- probably took you to a place where there’s no one who can hear
- took you to a place where there are accomplices
- is armed and threatens you with a firearm or a cutting weapon
That’s all of this is going to diminish your chances of survival.
Uber, a fundamental premise.
Uber and other car-sharing services cannot be held responsible for providing robbers or rapists with a simple mechanism to find potential victims.
Behaviors to be used to book the taxi
When a car or taxi service picks you up, they know little or nothing about you < — That’s normal!
Instead when a car or taxi service book it by asking at the hotel reception where you are staying, the staff (if it has criminal connections) have a lot of information about you observing you in your living room and informs any car service with which it performs crimes. <This is a potential danger.
So this is already a first behavior you need to adopt, book car/taxi alone when you’re in a hotel/structure.
This does not mean that the dangers are over but now the driver even if it is a little good must assess who you are and if you are “material” suitable.
This decision must be made very quickly and often it is enough just to put in him the doubt or some doubts about whether you are actually a victim or not.
Always wait for the taxi indoors at home or inside the hotel
The level of awareness of where you are
When I take a taxi back to the hotel/home or from the airport or the center, you know well that there are several routes that a driver can take and different exits from the highway/ring road.
You have to ask where he goes out and tell the driver which exit he needs to take.
Now they know that if they deviate from this route for several reasons such as:
- both to increase the fare (typical with foreigners)
- both to commit another crime
you will be immediately aware and you will not be completely surprised by their behaviors and actions.
Time to act is key
This can give you time to take some self-defense tools and if you notice any anomalous deviations, you can in advance implement some other security measures, such as texting with your location or calling the police (you must already know the numbers), if the suspicion becomes more intense.
If a criminal driver sees that you have precautions, he can change his mind.
Criminals want easy victims, not people who can react or make their lives difficult.
Ask your driver questions on their route and let them know that you are familiar with the journey and the route they need to take.
Study with a map or navigator the path they need to take.
That’s why you always have to keep it on while you travel and load it.
If you can take two phones with you, one where you look at the map and one ready with the number to call the police and the GPS location.
Another way can be to ask when it comes to seeing the driving license so read the name and send it to someone you know or in the ready message
Better still use your phone to photograph the registration plate of the car that comes to you and send a text message or email it to a friend, but you have to do it discreetly, you have to be ready to do it.
Use your mobile phone’s GPS on your taxi
If you’re in an unknown area, where you don’t know the route a driver should take, you can use google maps on your phone to map the route in advance, so you don’t look alien to the environment you’re in.
You can also set the route and follow it once you are in the car, if your driver takes a ride that does not make sense, you can immediately tell him to stop for a moment with an excuse and once you come down ask him for explanations or inform him that you have a habit of using a GPS and what you do as your standard habit.
Now before you alert him you must already first inform someone that your driver is going off course, so he has information about the vehicle that he can provide to the police.
Police now know the car they are looking for and even though the car was stolen, police now know what to look for or who to look for and this probably leads to faster identification.
If you can provide a friend with plaque that The name of your location/via (using google maps to track your trip) the moment you become suspicious of your drivers’ activities, the police will have a much faster time to locate the vehicle where you are.
The best time to act if you understand that something is wrong
An attacker is limited in the attacks he can do while driving and this is the time to try to assess whether your suspect is real the threat level and start responding.
Many assailants especially if for sexual purposes do not assault the first victim they charge because they are not emotionally ready to attack the first person they meet.
Usually this type of attackers need time to process themselves and fantasize about the assault and statistically a sexual attacker will attack when he feels that the night is coming and the clock indicates that it is late that they are the last runs.
So a criminal driver probably won’t put in place his criminal plan with the first passenger because he doesn’t feel ready yet or if you want to be sure enough to start an attack with the first one he charges.
While later in the evening he may have changed because he drank more, he’s been drinking cocaine and he knows it’s late there are fewer calls or none so he has to act and he’s already mentally worked out his plan with other clients.
The physical state when you take a taxi
Then at night the criminal driver can also notice or recognize that those who use the car service so late, at night, drank too much or are very tired that they fall asleep and therefore the guard is low.
So another key thing is to show yourself awake, active, you have to appear in full control of yourself at that time because it can be a good way to prove that you don’t make a case to commit a crime.
Now planning the evening is key and it’s best that you’re not the last /a to leave the venue is a good way to reduce the risk of being assaulted.
If you are a “previous” passenger/passenger and believe that your driver has strange behavior and that his conversation is ambiguous or annoying, you better inform the car service of this, you could help a potential victim.
A sexual predator who is preparing for a real sexual assault, often “tests” his approach strategy before assaulting other individuals, before they actually perform it.
Traditional taxis are safer but less present
Uber and other similar car services are riskier than licensed taxis but licensed taxis are harder to call.
Remember that Uber does not do face-to-face interviews with drivers, registrations are online and therefore it is easier for a criminal or serial rapist to be “hired” and the procedures that a criminal has to face with a license to get a taxi license discourages him especially if there is a simpler and more anonymous route, this is the one they are most likely to choose.
With an authorized taxi company, usually a dispatcher/controller is involved, so the driver is subject to some form of monitoring (criminal/drugs/alcohol, etc.) and may be required to interact with another person something that a criminal does not want because he has to remain anonymous.
The type of taxi
The construction of the taxi in many countries for the safety of the driver also provides a barrier between you and the driver and this means that to get to you they have to get out of the car and open the rear door of the passenger.
This door that opens means that a potential escape route is provided.
In a normal car, an attacker can jump from the front to the back, without having to open a door, and if it keeps the central lock active (or have child safety locked the back door does not open), the only way out is to exit the front or break the glass.
So although it seems strange but not only for this reason you have to sit in the front passenger seat where possible.
Even if you see you can’t do it because it’s weirdly busy, that must already be a suspect.
As if when you immediately go up you try to open the door and it doesn’t open, make up an excuse and get off before it leaves.
The Fake Victim
Some drivers who agree with other criminals can play the role of the fake victim.
While in the taxi and they see that it counts money, photographic equipment, iPads, mobile phones, watches, gold, etc. warn their accomplices that they simulate an attack where they rob everyone including the taxi, who apologizes sorry.
So a double game and once downloaded with the kindly free offer ride you go to pick up his wallet and split the loot.
As with any predator or violent in general always applies the rule of not appearing as a potential victim.
This is one of your best defenses to change his mind about the choice of prey.
Appearing to have control of yourself and your environment is a good way to convince any potential attacker, that it is better to look for another victim because you are not.
Note that these are some key tips and tricks if you want to preserve yourself when you’re moving to countries or territories you don’t know.
Street Fight Mentality