In the '80's I was mugged by three youths in Charring Cross Underground station in London. Well I should say it was an attempted mugging! All they wanted was my cash, and, as I was only 18 at the time, I only had a few quid. I'd have handed it over without question, but it was in my wallet along with my bank cards and train ticket home. The idea of being stuck in London penniless and ticketless and 400 miles from home was far more scary than getting my head kicked. They had pushed me up against a wall and while one held me by my throat the other two held my arms, but one, I was a big and fit rugby player, and two, I had the wall behind me, I was able to through them all off! I then walked up to the first person I saw and asked him for help ... my attackers disappeared!
I walked off and, quite by chance, met some of my fellow school pupils on the way to the platform ... I've never been so happy to see friendly faces ever! A few minutes later, after I'd separated from my friends, I was standing on the edge of the platform waiting from my friends when I realised that standing either side of me were two of my attackers. I assumed the third was behind me. They had studded belts wrapped around their fists! I turned, shoved through them and ran to rejoin my friends. In order to avoid going back to Charring Cross I ended up going all round London for the next hour.
I learn't a few sessions from this:
1. Don't wear a smart jacket and tie when passing through London with rucksack on your back.
2. Keep a small amount of cash readily available to 'buy them off'.
3. Keep all of your other valuables on your person, but not all together i.e. if a robber frisks you for your money-belt whilst you are wetting yourself at knife point, you don't want to lose everything in one go. Instead tell them your money is in your trouser pocket - let them have the twenty quid that's there.
4. To get from Charing Cross mainline station to Victoria, you don't use Charing Gross underground, but instead go out the side steps, walk down Villiers Street and get on the Circle or District lines! (Londoner's will know what I mean) I'd done the journey dozens of times so must just have had a brain freeze!
I suppose one reason I don't wear a money belt is that I don't really have any money! I also don't like crowds or many tourist attractions. My nationality is not easily discerned (I am a white person of Northern European descent) and I grew up in Germany and Italy, so I "pass" in many parts of Western Europe. I suppose that if I went some place not as comfortable to me, I would consider wearing a money belt, but it would mean changing my whole wardrobe, since wearing a money belt under my current clothes just screams "LOOK! I have something valuable under here!" Of course, the DSLR I plan to get before my next trip might also set me up as a mark! :-)
Of course, I think I'll be avoiding Charing Cross station!