Surveillance is a constant monitoring of a person or place. It extends to criminals observing day-to-day movements to find a possible weakness to exploit against us. Observers can be difficult to identify to the untrained eye but the following information is advice on how to counter the threat.
Methods and mitigations of surveillance
In October 2016, the reality TV star Kim Kardashian-West was robbed of millions pounds worth of jewellery. Her social media presence had made the thieves aware and made her a target.
While it is rare to be targeted from solely from your social media; your online profile can either help or hinder your offline movements. It is a source of information to anyone following you. It is your right to wear what you want and post what you wish, awareness on how this affects you as a target for criminals is essential. Vigilance and special awareness is key for protection from would be surveyors.
Remember that not all states are sympathetic to freedom of speech. Avoid posting anti-government content and/or political content while in countries of an authoritarian nature. Remove all prior political content off platforms so as not to make yourself a target of the government.
You may be followed because of your gender, perceived wealth, age, mobility or other factors.
You can make targeting – both planned and opportunistic – more difficult
- Research the place you are going
By understanding the region where you are travelling, you will be better placed to decide how you move around it. Time spent in preparation is very rarely wasted. Read articles on what is going on in the location and what are the headline security issues. Check out SheTravel’s country profiles or request a profile from us here.
- Keep your appearance in line with those around you
Before you visit, research how people dress, move around and get by in the region. When you are there, look to see what people around you are wearing, driving and how they’re travelling. This will give you a good understanding of how to manage your own profile so as not to stand out when you don’t want to.
3. Be wary of staying or travelling through quiet places
If you are travelling in a quiet place, be aware that the risk of being kidnapped, mugged – is heightened. A kidnap team is less likely to snatch you in places where they can be observed by others. Do not to travel on your own through these places.
- Keep exits nearby
Don’t willingly corner yourself and keep to well-lit and populated areas
- Don’t set patterns
By leaving your house at different times, wearing different clothes, going to different locations, varying your route and using different transport methods – you increase the difficulty of people trying to follow you.
- Quickly change your appearance
If you feel like you are being followed, finding a quick and low-profile method of changing your appearance will make it harder for you to be tracked: adding or changing a hat, scarf, sunglasses, thin outer layer on our top or bottom, will make it harder for people tracking you to ensure they are following the right person.
The advice provided will not guarantee safety but will go a long way in helping protect you from being marked out as a target.