I used to ride in an economy bus from my place to work and it takes 1.5 – 2 hours of travel. I've experienced so many people come in and out of the bus, of different ages and different purposes. Here’s the fact: I've already encountered for 3 times that a snatcher seated beside me. I commonly seat 1-2 rows behind the driver. I’ll tell you my story.
First of all, these snatchers all ride between the Kamias and Aurora area (Going to south).
Snatcher #1: May 2011. Two ordinary-looking men (one w/ a hat), carrying no bags ride on the bus. The one seated beside me and the other seated beside a sleeping man on the row opposite to my side. The one tries to “kapkap” the sleeping man’s bag (btw, he looks a construction guy). Fortunately the potential victim awakened and then they had very strong exchange of words. The snatcher hardly denies. Those exchanges of words turned into punches. Whoa! They’re inside the bus and the bus driver even closed the 2 doors! Then the snatchers left disappointed and very, very mad. (Thank God, I’m awake that time and the snatcher seated beside me did not make me a victim.)
Snatcher #2: June 2011. Two guys younger than the first pair entered the bus from the middle door. They look “tambay” and carrying bags. They actually both want to seat beside me. I’m glad because before they arrived, I moved from the window to the aisle. So when they try to seat beside me, I did not move at all. One guy seated beside me and the other at our back. As usual, it’s traffic going to Cubao. Since they arrived, the condoctor did not even collect their fare. When we got to Cubao, one of them said, “Tara, MRT nalang tayo”. (Uh oh! The MRT’s last trip already passed.) I’m saved again. :D
Snatcher #3: This happened only last Friday. He’s alone, looks like a long-haired construction worker, carrying a back pack and seems going home. He only seated beside me for around five minutes and while the traffic is on, he just gets out of the bus. Then the condoctor shouted, “Dun ka nalang sa iba ha, yung style mo bulok!”. Oh my Gosh, I’m beside a snatcher again! After a minute he then continues to collect fairs at the back and just said, “Huwag kayong matutulog sa biyahe ha at baka madukutan kayo.” Confirmed! He’s indeed a bad guy. After that I realized the reason why the condoctor never left the front door is because he was watching over me. Thanks to him!
Here are facts:
- Drivers and Condoctors know bad people. They can’t fight or not even allow them to enter the bus because they don’t know what these bad guys can do to them along the road.
- Snatchers have different techniques. They work as a solo, duo or triple. Here are some of their styles and you should be aware of these:
· Victims a sleeping person
· Tutok (a knife or ice pick)
· Laglag (a thing will fall, of course the potential victim’s focus will be there, the bad guy’s partner will get your the wallet)
· Dukot (commonly used in standing ovation)
· Pick and run.
- Their primary victims are the sleeping ones. I think this is the very effective and safest strategy because their faces will not be remembered and can’t be reported to the police.
- They are everywhere. Economy or air-conditioned bus, jeepneys, public vehicles, MRT and LRT. Day or night, rain or shine.
Tips to all Commuters:
· Don’t sleep. It is not advisable to sleep on travel.
· Be vigilant. Don’t be paranoid, just relax.
· Don’t seat at the back. Go to the available seats near the front if there’s any. Better to seat in the aisle.
· Know your seatmate. Don’t ask them; just know where they will go when they pay.
· Avoid exposing your cellphone and other gadgets. This may attract attention to others.
· Wear your bag/pouch handles. So you will not be a victim of pick and run.
But, above this, the best tip is a prayer. Pray for a safe trip, pray that a trusted person will seat beside you, and pray that no bad guys will attack you. I keep on dong this, and it really works!