Metro Manila’s “Traffic-Armageddon” is upon us with the start of major infrastructure projects like the Skyway 3. Heavier than usual traffic is expected in major thoroughfares throughout the metro. Aside from the stress of traveling through traffic, commuters and motorists could be the target of criminals.
Here are the Top 4 criminal activities likely to strike commuters and motorists during heavy traffic and rush-hour.
Bukas-Kotse (Open Car) Thieves could target lone motorists in their vehicles especially if stuck in traffic. Such criminals will fool motorists into alighting their cars. As they unlock the car doors, the thieves will open other doors then grab the victim’s belongings before getting lost in the traffic jam.
For motorists, always keep your doors locked. Look around and observe before unlocking your doors and exiting your vehicle. Also, do not put valuables like gadgets and money lying exposed in the front and back seats of your car. Secure them in the glove compartment or in the trunk of your car.
Riding-in-Tandem Criminals will strike motorists and commuters given the opportunity. Such criminals could be thieves who will grab a commuter’s gadget or bag and then speed off. In some cases, the victim will be dragged off and would get hurt as the criminals fail to remove the bag from the victim. They could also be armed robbers. The criminals’ motorcycle is small enough to get through the tight spaces between traffic-stuck vehicles. The traffic jam is the criminal’s getaway.
For commuters, always be mindful of you belongings and try to not use gadgets when trying to get a ride or in public areas. Also, stand behind other commuters in vehicle waiting areas so as not to present yourself as a target.
Meanwhile, riding in tandem gunmen or assassins present one of the biggest threats to personal security for motorists. Always be alert even if stuck in the middle of the traffic jam. If the criminals turned out to be armed robbers, do not resist and surrender your valuable. Your life is more important than your gadget or bag. For security professionals working in VIP protection, take into consideration traffic jams when transporting VIPs.
Pickpockets, snatchers, and other thieves are expected to prey on commuters who would fall asleep or get stuck in tightly packed public vehicles. Such thieves include the laglag-barya gang whose modus operandi is distracting targets by dropping coins. So always be alert and mindful of your belongings. Be safe from pickpockets by not putting valuable in vulnerable pockets. Also, take precaution against thieves like separating your money in several locations and placing your valuables in the innermost portions of your bag.
Perverts can take advantage of women in tightly packed transport vehicle. Such individuals could grope you and invade your private space in the pretense of being in a packed train or bus. If you feel that you are being harassed or violated, move away. If the person pursues and continues his act, confront him. Doing so will put him to shame in front of other passengers and discourage him from pursuing you. If given the opportunity, report it to a conductor, cop, or security guard. You, as a woman, have the right against sexual abuse, which includes unwanted physical contact with no exemptions even in a packed train during rush hour. You have every right to say ‘stop’.