US Embassy warns Americans of crime in PH
The US Embassy in Manila on Thursday told Americans visiting and living in the country to take security precautions during the Christmas season, which it described as “a prime time for criminal activity.”
In its holiday security guidance for US citizens, the embassy gave a list of measures that Americans could follow to reduce the chances of being victimized.
“Remember, while victims can often simply be at the wrong place at the wrong time, they can also be targeted because they appear to be wealthy,” it said.
The embassy cited incidents of unattended vehicles and vacant homes being robbed. It said thieves were also known to hit “prime venues” such as trains and passenger jeepneys.
Americans should “maintain a low profile” and avoid attracting attention by “displaying large amounts of gold or jewelry,” it said.
They must also limit the cash they carry around, and always bring an identification card.
“Take with you only what you will require for the moment and keep it in the front pocket of your clothing whenever possible,” it said, adding that tourists should also avoid getting drunk.
“Avoid resisting an armed criminal attempting to take your valuables. Good rule of thumb: Don’t take more with you than you are willing to lose. Possessions can be replaced, people cannot,” it said.
US citizens should pay attention to their surroundings and when possible, to avoid going out alone at night.
Americans were also cautioned against walking in dark or isolated areas, and told to prepare a preplanned route.
The embassy likewise reminded US citizens to be alert when in crowded public places, such as malls, churches, and concert venues, as “they can be prime targets of crime or terrorism.”
“If you notice suspicious individuals approaching you, attempt to cross the street to avoid them,” it said, adding, “In the event they continue to follow or harass you, walk to the nearest establishment and seek assistance from the security guard or door escort.”
The embassy also warned of pickpocket gangs posing as beggars.
As for American motorists, apart from a brief mention of anticipating worse traffic conditions, the embassy advised them to always secure their vehicles and to avoid smash-and-grab incidents triggered by openly displaying valuables inside cars.
“Always maintain copies of your driver’s license and vehicle registration in your vehicle. Avoid surrendering the original document to police.” It did not, however, offer an explanation as to why the original document should not be handed over to lawmen.
The embassy said in case suspicious packages are found anywhere they should just “leave the area immediately.”
However if they found the item, they should notify the authorities before beating a hasty exit.
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