they've probably robbed someone. I always knew this but the other day was reminded of how true it is. Generally people in London are not that fit (except for the few dedicated running enthusiasts you see jogging through Hyde Park or along the Thames Path), so when I see people who are not wearing some kind of spandex or sweat absorbing material I assume that they are either running from a crime, or running to avoid a fight. There is one exception to this and that is people who run to catch the train - an entirely different category altogether.
I was out running some errands when a guy who appeared to be in his twenties came sprinting around the corner right for me. My first thought was that he had robbed someone - and this was confirmed when he dropped a handful of credit cards and continued his sprint without stopping to pick them up. A shopkeeper quickly appeared and told me the man had just robbed his store.
When you live in a borough that had 32,836 robberies and 95,344 burglaries in the past year, you are bound to be close to crime on a regular basis (stats from the Met Police). That is an average of 90 robberies and 261 burglaries a day. Wow.
Although I have lived here for several years - I have yet to be robbed and I do not think this is by chance. London is as safe as you make it, and this is true of most big cities. Ladies (and gentlemen) when out and about in the big city use your common sense to stay safe! Situational awareness my friends. Be aware of your surroundings, be aware of the people in your immediate vicinity. No big open purses/bags or wallets in the backpocket. Don't flash around your money. Don't go to the cash stop/ATM/Hole in the Wall when there is nobody around late at night. Don't hang out by yourself waiting for a bus at all hours. If you see people getting in a fight - call the police and avoid walking into the scrimmage. Never roam the streets alone if you are even a little bit intoxicated. Use your head. Trust your instincts - if someone is giving you the creeps put some distance between you and the creep factor.
Sometimes being the victim of a crime is completley unavoidable - but there are many things you can do to help keep yourself safe. Always, always be aware of your surroundings. Always. Stay safe and enjoy the big city!