How to Protect Yourself from Jugging

By Tim Chesonis •  Updated: 03/22/23 •  13 min read
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To protect yourself from jugging, first, maintain awareness of your surroundings while making cash withdrawals and watch for anyone observing you. Second, after leaving the bank or ATM, ensure you’re not being followed by changing your route and remaining vigilant. Finally, keep your cash or valuables secure in a hidden location within your vehicle and report any suspicious activities to law enforcement.

What is Jugging?

Jugging refers to a type of crime where criminals, known as juggers, target individuals who have just withdrawn cash from banks or ATMs. They observe their targets during the withdrawal process and follow them, waiting for an opportune moment to strike, such as when the target is alone or in a vulnerable situation.

Juggers often work in teams, with one person watching the bank or ATM and another following the target in a separate vehicle, making it harder for the victim to notice they’re being followed. By understanding how jugging works, you can be more aware of potential threats and take proactive steps to protect yourself.

Just the other day, a news story came out where the headline read, “Houston teens arrested in caught-on-camera ‘jugging’ robbery that left woman paralyzed.”


Signs You’re Being Targeted

In order to protect yourself from jugging, it’s crucial to recognize the signs that you might be targeted. Juggers tend to look for specific behaviors and patterns to choose their victims. By knowing the warning signs, you can take action to avoid becoming a target and ensure your safety.

Some common signs that you’re being followed include noticing the same vehicle or person repeatedly while you’re on the move. This might involve seeing the same car in your rearview mirror or parked nearby when you leave the bank or ATM. You might also catch someone observing you closely while you’re withdrawing money or notice a stranger paying too much attention to you or your vehicle.

Identifying a potential juggernaut can be challenging, as they often try to blend in with their surroundings.

There are, however, a few red flags to watch for, such as someone wearing clothing that doesn’t match the weather, like a heavy coat on a warm day, or someone loitering near the bank or ATM without conducting any transactions, or looking like they are about to conduct a transaction. Additionally, be cautious of cars with tinted windows or out-of-state license plates parked near financial institutions, as they may be potential juggers lying in wait.

Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim

Staying safe from jugging requires a proactive approach and adopting smart habits when handling cash withdrawals. This section will provide you with practical tips to avoid becoming a victim, helping you keep your money secure and your personal safety intact. By following these guidelines, you’ll minimize the risk of being targeted by juggers and gain greater peace of mind during your daily routines.

Banking Practices

Being discreet when making cash withdrawals involves taking a few simple precautions. First, try to shield the ATM screen and keypad while entering your PIN and avoid displaying the cash you’ve withdrawn. Instead, put the money directly into your wallet or purse without counting it in public. Additionally, if possible, use an ATM inside the bank or in a well-lit, busy location to decrease your visibility to potential juggers.

To minimize the risk of jugging, consider visiting the bank during the least busy hours, usually mid-morning or mid-afternoon on weekdays. Avoid peak times, such as lunch breaks and after work, when more people might be around, and juggers could blend in more easily.

Opt for banks with security personnel or visible surveillance systems, as they can act as a deterrent for potential criminals.

Parking Lot Safety

When parking your vehicle, take the following precautions to minimize the risk of jugging:

  1. Choose well-lit, busy parking areas where potential juggers cannot hide or blend in easily.
  2. Avoid parking close to large vehicles or obstacles that could block your view of the surroundings.
  3. Lock your doors and roll up windows as soon as you enter or exit your vehicle.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings, and scan the area for any suspicious individuals or vehicles before leaving or returning to your car.

To ensure you’re not being followed while driving:

  1. Regularly check your rearview and side mirrors for any suspicious vehicles that seem to be following you.
  2. Change your route or take a series of random turns to see if the vehicle behind you does the same.
  3. If you suspect you’re being followed, do not drive directly to your home or another familiar location. Instead, head to a busy, well-lit area or a police station where you can seek help.
  4. Take note of the suspicious vehicle’s make, model, color, and license plate number if possible, and report the incident to the authorities.

Awareness and Vigilance

To stay alert in public places, use these strategies:

  1. Limit distractions: Avoid using your phone, headphones, or other devices that can reduce your awareness of your surroundings.
  2. Scan the environment: Continuously observe the people and vehicles around you, looking for any suspicious behavior or potential threats.
  3. Trust your instincts: If you feel uneasy or sense that something is off, act on those feelings and remove yourself from the situation or seek help.

To maintain situational awareness while conducting financial transactions:

  1. Observe your surroundings: Before approaching an ATM or bank teller, take a moment to scan the area for anyone who might be watching you or loitering nearby.
  2. Be efficient: Prepare your transaction in advance by having your card, ID, or withdrawal slip ready to minimize the time spent at the ATM or teller window.
  3. Use discretion: Shield the keypad when entering your PIN, and avoid counting or displaying your cash in public. Place the money securely in your wallet or purse before leaving the ATM or bank.
  4. Leave promptly: After completing your transaction, move away from the ATM or teller area quickly and confidently, continuing to stay aware of your surroundings.

Stashing Valuables

When it comes to storing cash or valuable items in your vehicle, it’s essential to choose a location that’s out of sight and not easily accessible. Good options include the glove compartment, center console, or under the seat. For added security, consider using a portable safe or lockbox that can be secured within your car.

Avoid leaving valuables in plain sight, such as on the dashboard or passenger seat, as this can attract the attention of potential juggers and other criminals.

To make it difficult for criminals to access your valuables, always ensure your vehicle is locked and secure, even when leaving it for a short period. Close all windows and sunroofs, eliminating any gaps that could provide easy access for thieves. Employ anti-theft devices such as steering wheel locks, which can deter criminals from attempting to break into your vehicle. When storing valuables, opt for the trunk instead of the main cabin, as it offers an additional layer of protection. Finally, be mindful of where you park—choose well-lit, busy areas with plenty of pedestrian traffic, as these conditions can discourage potential thieves from targeting your vehicle.

What to Do If You’re Being Followed

In the event that you find yourself being followed, it’s essential to know how to respond to ensure your safety. This section will provide you with crucial steps to take if you suspect you’re being followed, empowering you to act effectively and protect yourself from potential harm. By following these guidelines, you can navigate through such situations confidently and securely.

If you suspect you’re being followed by a potential criminal, take these steps:

  1. Stay calm and focused, maintaining awareness of your surroundings.
  2. Change your route, take random turns, or circle the block to see if the suspicious vehicle or person continues to follow you.
  3. Avoid going home or to another familiar location, as this could reveal personal information to the potential criminal.
  4. Head to a well-lit, busy area or drive directly to a police station where you can seek help.
  5. If possible, take note of the suspicious vehicle’s make, model, color, and license plate number, or any identifying features of the person following you.

To safely report an incident to the authorities, first, ensure you are in a secure location before making a call or, if you’re driving, use a hands-free device if available. Contact the non-emergency police number or visit a nearby police station to report the incident in person. Provide a detailed description of the suspicious vehicle or person, as well as any relevant information such as the location, time, and nature of the incident. Be sure to follow any instructions or guidance offered by law enforcement officers throughout the reporting process to help them effectively address the situation.

How to Protect Your Home from Jugging

While jugging typically targets individuals in public spaces, it’s also essential to consider the safety of your home. Criminals may follow you to your residence, attempting to steal your cash or valuables. This section will provide you with strategies and tips to safeguard your home from jugging, ensuring the security of your belongings and the well-being of your loved ones.

Security Measures

A variety of security systems can deter potential criminals from targeting your home. Surveillance cameras, both visible and discreet, can capture any suspicious activity and discourage would-be thieves. Installing a reliable alarm system, which can be monitored remotely or connected to a central monitoring service, adds another layer of protection. Motion-activated lights around your property can also startle intruders and alert you to their presence, making your home a less appealing target.

Securing your home’s entry points is vital for maintaining overall security. Ensure that all doors have sturdy, high-quality locks, and consider adding deadbolts for extra protection. Reinforce sliding doors and windows with security bars or additional locks to prevent them from being easily forced open. Additionally, keep your garage door locked and secured, as it’s often an overlooked entry point. Regularly inspect your doors and windows for any signs of wear or damage, and promptly address any issues to maintain your home’s security.

Communication with Neighbors

Establishing a neighborhood watch program begins with discussing the idea with your neighbors to gauge their interest and commitment. Once you have a group of interested participants, contact your local law enforcement agency to gather information and resources to help set up the program. They can provide guidance, training materials, and support in organizing the watch. Schedule regular meetings with the participants to discuss plans, assign roles, and share updates on any suspicious activities or incidents in the area. Establish clear communication channels, such as a group chat or email list, to keep everyone informed and engaged.

Communicating with your neighbors about suspicious activity is important for several reasons. First, it raises awareness and encourages vigilance within the community, making it harder for criminals to operate unnoticed. Second, sharing information about suspicious incidents allows everyone to stay informed about potential threats and patterns, which can help identify and deter criminal activity. Finally, fostering a sense of community and cooperation among neighbors strengthens the overall safety and well-being of the neighborhood, making it less appealing for potential criminals to target.

Self-Defense Options

In addition to being proactive and vigilant, having self-defense options at your disposal can be invaluable in situations where you feel threatened by a potential criminal. This section will explore various self-defense techniques, tools, and training opportunities that can help you protect yourself and your belongings.

Personal Safety Devices

There are a variety of personal safety devices that can help deter juggers and protect yourself in a confrontation. Pepper spray is a popular option, as it’s portable and easy to use, and can incapacitate an attacker temporarily. Personal alarms, which emit a loud, piercing noise when activated, can draw attention and scare off potential attackers. Tasers and stun guns are also effective options, as they can immobilize an attacker and provide an opportunity to escape. It’s important to research and select devices that are legal in your area and to receive proper training on how to use them effectively.

If confronted by a potential juggler, the first priority is to remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. If escape is not possible, using a personal safety device can help you defend yourself and create an opportunity to escape. It’s crucial to know how to use the device effectively and to have it accessible and ready to use at all times. Be aware of your surroundings, and try to identify potential escape routes or safe areas nearby. If you do use a personal safety device, be prepared to flee immediately and seek help from law enforcement.

Situational awareness is KEY to avoid becoming a victim of Jugging. You have to stay vigilant about it.

Self-Defense Training

Self-defense training can be a valuable asset in protecting yourself against jugging. It provides practical skills and techniques to help you defend yourself in a dangerous situation. By learning how to avoid, deter, or incapacitate attackers, you can improve your confidence and ability to protect yourself and your belongings.

When considering self-defense classes, there is a higher probability of you defending yourself by focusing on taking classes that emphasize situational awareness, conflict resolution, and de-escalation techniques, which can help you avoid potentially dangerous situations altogether.

When taking a self-defense course, it’s important to focus on learning practical skills and techniques that you can apply in real-life situations. This may include moves that have the greatest potential of warding off an attacker, such as strikes to vulnerable areas or escapes from common holds. However, it’s also important to develop situational awareness and judgment, which can help you avoid or de-escalate conflicts before they turn violent. Ultimately, the goal of self-defense training is to provide you with the tools and confidence to protect yourself and your belongings, and to empower you to make the best decisions in dangerous situations.

Staying Safe and Vigilant

Following the tips and strategies outlined in this article can significantly reduce your risk of becoming a victim of jugging. By maintaining awareness of your surroundings, avoiding predictable patterns, and securing your belongings, you can deter potential criminals and reduce your vulnerability to this type of crime. Additionally, understanding the legal consequences of jugging and being prepared with self-defense options can further protect yourself and your belongings.

Key takeaways for readers to remember about jugging prevention include the importance of situational awareness and vigilance, particularly when conducting financial transactions or visiting unfamiliar areas. It’s also crucial to secure your belongings, both in public and in your home, and to follow best practices for personal safety, such as self-defense training and the use of personal safety devices. Finally, working together with your community, through measures such as neighborhood watch programs, can strengthen overall safety and deter potential criminals. By staying informed and proactive, you can minimize your risk of becoming a victim of jugging and protect yourself and your belongings.

Tim Chesonis

Tim loves writing to help people succeed. He loves tech, Linux, his iPhone and iPad. When he's not writing another article, he's probably binge-watching “The Middle” or “Breaking Bad”, (again). To learn more about Tim, click here.