Nairobi Man Runnning from riot police
Nairobi Man Runnning from riot police

“Nairobi has become a den of thieves” ~ Chinese proverb

It’s no secret that there are muggings that happen in Nairobi on a daily process. We are all aware that its very unsafe to carry a laptop or have a mobile phone out on some streets.

Here are some timeless suggestions to keep you safe in Nairobi

  1. Avoid the ATMs on downtown and crowded streets. The great thing is that you now have mobile banking through which you can conduct most of your transactions. Avoid the use of ATMs especially on crowded streets. Muggings are more susceptible here.
  2. Walk faster and be more aware of your surroundings. It’s very easy to walk around with headphones as you lose yourself in music and act like you are in a music video. Don’t, be at the bare minimum a bit paranoid. Watch for the suspicious people who try to keep pace with you and anticipate outmaneuvering them. Being prepared for this will help you take action.
  3. Ask for help. If you ever find yourself in danger, ask for help from a specific person. There is a fascinating psychological term called ‘Pluralistic ignorance’. Simply stated its that when you are in distress, strangers will always assume that another person will take responsibility and help you. This explains why many people who get mugged don’t get help. If you ever find yourself in distress, call out for help in a specific way, “You Security guard in a blue shirt… help… I’m getting mugged”
  4. Don’t walk around with your valuable electronics and jewellery in downtown Nairobi. Take off those expensive watches, leave the laptop in the office, take off those golden earrings. If you really have to go downtown with them, go by taxi.
  5. Watch for window snatchers. Whether you are driving or in a matatu, there are crooks who are always looking for a way to snatch your mobile devices or valuables and they do it in a split second. If you are in traffic, its advisable to close your windows or avoid using your mobile devices. There is an ingenious way that robbers are using to steal from unsuspecting motorists by banging their vehicles on the opposite side of the drivers seat to get their attention then stealing their phones and wallets as they look the opposite side.
  6. Have zipped pockets. Okay, so you really have to go to the unsafe side of town with your expensive device and wallet. The average robbery happens in 45 seconds and you can make it harder for them to get your stuff by having zipped pockets. At least by doing this you will have dealt with pickpockets.
  7. Walk with a group of friends. This will decrease the possibility of being targeted by a gang because they will perceive you as being able to fight back
  8. Learn Karate …and become fit because you will be able to both fight and run
  9. Walk like a madman and talk to yourself. Act like the wildest drunk person ever. Nobody loves interacting with a drunk and loud person.