Avoid Being A Taxi Crime Victim While Traveling

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I came to Nicaragua in March and while I have never been robbed, I was attacked during training. Peace Corps has alleviated that issue for us in the capital by providing us a service of taxi drivers pre-screen and paid to work primarily for volunteers. You call ahead and they are waiting for us. Still, away from the capital, you need a way to be vigilant. How? Easy.

  1. Set a price for the ride BEFORE YOU GET IN. If you can, talk to a local before you even get in. Know what the typical rates are. DO NOT be duped because you look like a tourist.
  2. ALWAYS  get the license plate of the driver. It usually is both in the front and back of the car.
  3. Get their name. Usually, their badge is hanging from the mirror or on a sticker in the corner of the front window. After I was attacked, I wasn’t able to get justice because I did not have any information on my attacker. His description wasn’t helpful because, no offense, Nicaraguan males tend to look alike. If his badge isn’t visible,
  4. Start a conversation. Get their name. Ask when did they start driving a taxi? Do they like it? Does anyone in their family drive taxis? Just starting a conversation shows you know the language, you are less likely to be targeted as a tourist.
  5. Give someone that information. After being attacked, I begin texting my friend the taxi number of every taxi I get in (because my memory is not the best).
  6. Be vigilant. Stay woke. Pay attention. What do you see? Are you alone in the taxi? Are you a woman and the driver is a man? Most likely the driver will be a man. If the surroundings don’t appear to be what you expect or are not the way to your designated stop, GET OUT!
  7. Have a safety precaution. For me, mace makes me feel safe. For others, a key-chain knife. Whatever your vice, have something to make you feel safe.
  8. Have your money in your hand. If you can, have exact change.
  9. If at any time you feel unsafe, call someone. Tell them why you feel unsafe and describe your location. Don’t quit if the first person you call does not pick up. Call someone else. No matter what, a real friend will talk to you until you reach your designation. Your safety is more important.
  10. Lock your belongings. If you can, put a lock on all your things. Your money to pay should be in your hand so you can lock your purse/wallet away in your backpack or suitcase.
These are the ways I have had success in my safe travels. Traveling alone isn’t a problem when you practice safe travel habits. I wish you the best in your travels. Be safe and have fun!

 

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