Nairobi street cons and muggers: 10 ways to avoid them


If your possession was stolen from you today; in Nairobi, it will not make it to the news. You are neither the first nor the last person who will fall victim to mugging or con.

All the same, here is a simple guide that will help you not fall for the whiles of the muggers.

Talk to as few people as you possibly can

Call it bad manners, antisocial behaviour; but if you are looking to be social, the Nairobi streets are the last places you want to look into. They are filled with honey-tongued cons who will talk you into just about anything. Sometimes, as you are busy conversing, the con artist’s partner goes through your pockets and bags. Speak to strangers at your own peril.

Do not use your phone near the window in a matatu

This is especially risky around Country Bus and Ronald Ngala Street in Nairobi. It does not matter if the window is closed; muggers will somehow open it and snatch the phone from your hand, then walk away whistling. They are so agile it will take you a whole minute to register that your phone has been stolen.

Do not put important things in your backpack

Backpacks are an open invitation to muggers. As you walk along, the muggers will be on your case.

Ignore people who pick seemingly loaded wallets near you

They will ask you to follow them so that you may share the loot before the owner of the wallet comes a-looking. The places they suggest are usually dark and dingy, and you will be joined by other muggers who will strip you of the last valuable thing.

Street prophets

They will tell you everything that is going on in your life; and ask to pray for you.  By the time you say Amen, your phone and your handbag will have taken leave.

People who ask you to smell perfumes

Tales have been told of people who smelt these perfumes and woke up hours later, every single thing stolen and in places they had no recollections coming to.

Conductors who won’t return your ‘change’

I am not sure if they qualify as muggers but I do not know what else to call a person who refuses to return your ‘change’. It is important to pester the conductor as much as possible immediately you pay your fare. They might have bad things to say about your insolence but that is the small price you have to pay to get your full ‘change’ back.

Ladies with sling bags…

Sling bags are easy to steal from, so be sure to hold the bag to your front, make sure it remains in your line of sight.

Crowded streets

Be super-alert in crowded streets, bus terminus and street gatherings. Crowds are pickpockets’ best friends. Besides, when you look at clothes being sold on the streets, the fact that your concentration is on the clothes, gives the pickpockets ample chance to run through your bag and pockets.

Avoid displaying your phones, tabs

There are phone brands that will obviously excite muggers and they will make you their business of the day. Be sure to not use your phones, tabs, laptops in public. The little muggers know about what you have, the safer.

Now be safe, won’t you!


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