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BACK TO SCHOOL: How parents, students fall prey to criminals in town.

Students getting back to school in an earlier photo.
As schools start opening their doors today for 2nd term, expect a lot of human traffic and activity in town, especially today, tomorrow and Wednesday.

And with the traffic, criminals get a field day. It's harvest season for them. They will be allover the place preying on and stealing from unsuspecting parents and students.

We have attempted to highlight some of the most common methods used to either steal or con parents and students alike and we hope that it will be of some help to someone out there.

1. Pickpockets.

Be very alert as at this time pickpockets are very fond of hoovering around banks, supermarkets, school stationary shops and bus termini. 

They will pretend to be very busy doing something but all they are doing is to monitor your body language and movements. Once they spot an easy target or a victim overwhelmed by the activities of the time, they will strike, pretend to be 'squeezing' for space to pass or to get an item to buy and before you know it, they have emptied your bag or pockets and vanished.

These people usually walk in groups and once one of them steals from you, they will immediately hand over the loot to their accomplices and within a span of one minute, it will have been transferred to more than three hands. So, by the time you realise it, it is very far away and the suspect you hold, in case you get him, will be bearing no incriminating evidence.

Then there are those who will cut your bag using a razor blade and empty your valuables or leave you only hanging its straps on your shoulders.

2. Strangers asking for direction.

The other set of criminals to be wary of are "strangers" asking for directions to a particular place or building.

These criminals pretend to be very new in town and lost. They will immediately offer to greet you by extending a hand for a handshake and before you realise it, they have already drugged you using sedative-hypnotic drugs commonly called depressants. 

Depressants slow down or "depress" the activity of the brain and the victim end up being controlled like a robot. The drugs are known to wipe out someone’s memory on what actually happened.

3. Fake prophets.

These "prophets" will spot their prey and approach them as though God has just sent them to you. More often than not, they are usually middle-aged women between 30 years old and 50. They disguise as village women, more likely to be women in turbans and bearing very innocent looks.

These women will trick you into telling your story through very obvious common challenges that happen in majority of our families. They will even call you by name and pretend to be prophesying about your predicament and before you know it, you have already fallen into their trap.

Majority of them are also known to drug their victims into zombies before emptying their wallets and wiping their bank accounts dry in the name of praying for their money.

WARNING: Do not be tempted to "shake hands" with strangers or encourage too much talk with strangers. If you must, your conversation should be very brief and to the point. Otherwise, you will end up wiped out of all your money without knowing what hit you.

4. Bodaboda bag snatchers.

Then there are the usual bodaboda bag snatchers. This group targets only women and girls and can strike from anywhere. 

Take care of your possessions and always be alert of what is happening around you.

5. Student thieves.

The last batch to keep watch are the "student thieves" or criminals in school uniforms. They look harmless and usually walk in groups. At times they are very noisy and pretend to be those "tough mohines" out to win fellow school girls.

Do not get deceived by their innocence. Majority of these students (some have completed school but dress as students to commit crime in disguise) are hardened criminals and drug abusers. 

They mostly target fellow students especially the younger ones and those walking alone. They will surround their victims, harass them and steal from them without the general public noticing anything amiss because they pretend they are just playing or kidding; the kind of students' stuff you assume.

Before you realise it, the victim has lost their pocket money and all what they had bought for school.

So, stay vigil this "Back to School" moment or lose your money to any of these criminals. We just thought you should know.....

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