From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Travel: Backup Money?
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2006 20:14:24 -0400
I'm a certified firearms instructor. One of MY trainers (ex-big city
cop) gave a one-day class on street-smarts that I thought was quite
thoughtful. Here are some highlights.
Never keep all your money or plastic in one place. Keep a card and
some money in your carryon bag. Carry some more on your body. Carry
some money in a money belt and some more in your shoe. Even $20 can
make the difference between being stranded and being able to hire a
cab to take you to civilization, the police station, etc.
Never carry anything valuable in your rear pockets. You'll never
appreciate the skill of a pickpocket until one gets you. In my case,
it was part of the street-smart seminar. If the guy's good, you won't
feel or see a thing.
Put your money and your wallet in your front pockets and consider
adding a button or velcro to the opening. I carry a business card
wallet in a hip pocket that contains nothing but my business cards. I
figure that's a pretty decent decoy.
If your vehicle is old enough to have a twist-off horn button, stash
some bills under there. Thieves never think to look there. Stashing
cash inside a dome light after removing the bulb is another good
Never keep your money and the rest of your personal stuff in the same
pocket. Use a money clip with your bills in one pocket and your
wallet in the other.
If you're ever mugged, take out the wad of money, show it to the
mugger, then toss it 20 or so feet away. Not in the weeds or
anything, just down the street or sidewalk. The idea is to get the
mugger to go for the money while you haul ass away. Or get out your
piece if you're carrying :-)
The same thing works if you're being 'jacked. Grab the keys if you
can and throw them away from the car. When the 'jacker goes for the
keys, run like hell. Or start shooting.
Along those same lines, when traveling in bad spots, pad your wad out
with some paper to make it look larger. That gives the mugger more
incentive to go for the wad and not you.
Traveler's checks are worthless. They're easier than money to
counterfeit. Many places either won't take them or won't take
anything larger than $20 worth.
Plastic is much better. Have several and store them in different
places. Back when I was a road warrior I always kept one card under
the insole of my shoe. Even if robbed of everything, as long as I had
my shoes on, I had some cash and credit available.
If you store cash under the liner of your suitcase, be sure and leave
a small wad out, plainly visible if the suitcase is opened. Odds are
the thief will take that and then move to other objects.
Don't use motel room safes - the pass codes are far too easy to get
and they're screaming "rob me" beacons for burglars.
Don't use the fake spray can safes or the safes that fit down inside
the toilet tank. Every punk worth his rep knows to look for those.
You can roll up a single bill and place it inside your ink pen. That's
another object that a thief or mugger will never think to look. If you
have trouble getting the bill to fit, feel free to cut it. Federal
rules say that as long as more than 50% of the bill is present, it is
valid money. You might have to go to a bank to use it but that's
better than being broke.
The idea is to spread your cash around and provide small value decoys
to lure the robber away from your larger stashes.
In my motorhome, I have a small steel safe bolted to the floor with
the bolts welded to the frame and the threaded ends inside the safe.
this safe is under the front seat, out of sight. I keep emergency
money, spare ID and my critical meds in there. The safe has the
built-in lock plus I drilled the door and body so that I could fit a
high security bolt-cutter-proof padlock.
And for the guy who might try to use a power tool or torch to gain
access, there's a half pound of black gunpowder in a silk bag
suspended from a string attached to the inside top of the safe :-)
I used to keep spare cash stashed under the base of my MH's bed until
I became the victim of a police stop'n'rob in Knoxville, TN. A
"stop'n'rob" is when the cops stop you for something minor or made-up
and then under the pretense of looking for drugs, tear your vehicle
apart, stealing whatever they find useful.
In my case, they did several thousand dollars' damage to my rig, stole
several hundred dollars and a gun. Of course, no contraband was found
and I was allowed to proceed after the robbery.
I managed to find the serial number of the gun and reported it to the
BATF. Mysteriously, a few days later the gun showed up at my lawyer's
office in a plain yellow envelope. Hmmmm.
If you're going to be around a big city, I highly recommend taking a
"street smarts" class. There you'll learn simple street smarts,
necessary survival skills, plus a selection of defense moves, all
designed to let you run away. Eye pokes, nose smashes, groin kicks,
foot arch stomps that kind of stuff. Not really incapacitating to the
thug but distracting enough to let you run.
A major part of street survival is your posture and attitude. If you
carry yourself like you're in charge and like you belong there, you're
much less likely to be messed with than if you appear weak and lost.
Ex-cops make good instructors but even better is the reformed 'banger.
These guys know tricks that you'd never even imagine.