Robberies, snatch-theft, carjacking and even attempted kidnapping – we have all heard our share of horror stories told by Singaporeans about their experiences in Johor Bahru (JB). Some are utter fantasy but (unfortunately) most have more than an element of truth to them.
No, we are not saying JB is an unsafe place and that Singaporeans should avoid it altogether. By all means, if you want to lepak at JB, go ahead! it is the perfect place to find lepak spots to chill.
But it would help you and your lepak buddies if you read these 5 tips to stay safe in JB!
1 Know your terrain
Don’t go in blind. Knowing what is in store helps keep you ahead of the game, or in this case, the muggers! Some areas in JB are more prone to mugging incidents than others. The petrol kiosk near the CIQ is notorious for the spate of crimes involving Singaporean victims. Other places to avoid is the Taman Universiti and Taman Sri Tebrau. You can find out more of such places to avoid here.
The funny thing is, most of these places earned their notoriety because of the sheer numbers of Singaporeans flocking there. If you can, avoid these places. If you can’t, then you need to read the rest of the tips.
2 Don’t take shortcuts.
Whether traversing a mall, big open areas or driving from one place to another, never, ever take short cuts. No matter how many times you visit JB, just know, the robbers LIVE there. What you think you know, they know much, much, much better. In fact, even more betterer! Keep to open, well-lit areas with a reasonable amount of vehicular or foot traffic.
However, even this may not be enough. There have been cases of Singaporeans and Malaysians themselves who were robbed by thieves on two-wheels as they are walking on pedestrian paths along busy roads.
So, what else can you do?
3 Do not flaunt your wealth
Especially for the Makciks, keep those gold chains/bracelets/necklaces for special occassions like your son’s wedding. No need to wear them if you only want to go shopping at pasar Larkin or Giant. The muggers can spot you from miles away…
Don’t carry too much cash with you too! If you need plenty of cash, change your currency in Singapore instead of JB and keep it safe and close to you. Counting your cash out in the open will only make you become a target.
4 Always be alert
Sometimes you feel so high after a very satisfying grocery run or a seafood meal by the sea. You feel so high and happy while you are digesting that ikan pari bakar, that you let your guard down. You walk but don’t notice the vultures moving in place before striking. Before you know it, your wallet and other belongings are gone.
For the drivers, always lock your vehicle. If someone knocks on your car window, don’t bring down the window fully. It’s not being rude. It’s being safe.
Those of you who are constantly glued to your smartphones or tablets, you need to get off your mobile devices! Put that phone down and look up and around you. Any strangers acting suspiciously? It pays to err on the side of caution but don’t go around looking like the whole of JB is trying to go out with your girlfriends.
5 Stay humble and keep a low profile
Finally, smile. For the Muslims, smiling is a form of sedekah (giving alms). Smiling is a sure way to disarm a tense situation and to form allies with the people you meet there. If you act like your father owns the restaurant, scolding the wait staff or making excessive demands, no one will help you if you get robbed in front of the restaurant.
When shopping, no matter how much you want to go, “Wah cheap ar!” when you spot the latest bargains, don’t! Just get it and go.
Before you do, remember to smile at the staff that served you.