Stay Calm: This maybe seem very hard to do, but it is the only way to survive the situation. Some robbers accost their victims by gently tapping on their side window and revealing the butt of their gun, or whatever weapon they have, while others prefer to scare their victims by smashing their side window or windscreen with a hammer. Whatever the case, do not panic, or raise alarm. The numerous witnesses will not assist or give you any protection, neither will the security men on patrol. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are still alive and will only have to lose a few possessions. Staying calm can reduce the chance of the offender becoming agitated and reduce the risk of violence.
Do not attack: Do not use your pepper spray or pocket knife. Do not attack the robber. Most of the robbers are not only armed, they operate in gangs and while you might have been initially accosted by one member of the gang, the others lurk around. Attacking the armed robber very rarely ends well.
Avoid direct eye contact: No matter how low-class the robber may look or seem, behave deferentially. Avoid looking him directly in the eye as that might irritate him. Don’t stare either, as this would be perceived as threatening to the offender. Keep your eyes down and look at the chin of the offender and use your peripheral vision to obtain details. This is less threatening to the offender. Address him as ‘Sir’ or ‘oga’, whichever you find more comfortable. Most robbers have low self-esteem and a little bit of respect might calm them down or even deter them.
Cooperate: Unless your car is bullet and hammer-proof, do not argue with the armed robber. Cooperate. Ensure you first inform the robber in clear terms that you are willing to cooperate, then respond quickly to their demands to whatever instructions they give. Speak only if you need to answer the offender and always reply honestly. Do not try any form of heroics.
Speak clearly and with simple language: There is no gain in impressing an armed robber with good grammar. Do not try to confuse him with a foreign language, heavy/polished accent or big grammar. Respond in the simplest English you know. If you are fluent in pidgin or local dialect, whichever the robber starts communication with, continue with it. Trying to sound too polished might give them the notion that you have more than you are giving to them and that would aggravate them, and possibly encourage them to inflict harm on you. Also, try not to add to much detail or say anything that is unnecessary as that could increase the pressure, cause a breakdown in confidence and lead to panic. Keep your answers short, precise and positive using simple words and phrases.
Take the robber seriously: While strong-armed robberies can also occur without a weapon- just the threat of physical violence or an actual beating followed by the demand for moneys, it is always important to assume the offender is armed. Whether you see the armed robber’s weapon or not, you can never be too sure. Be cautious, ensure you observe all his movements and listen to every word he utters. Do not underestimate his actions.