How to Reduce the Risk of Becoming a Purse Snatching Victim

Savings Angel

This article, entitled "How to Reduce the Risk of Becoming a Purse Snatching Victim," comes from

Ladies, take a look in your purse. How much would you lose right now if your purse was snatched? A few dollars, hundreds of dollars, or would it amount to thousands?

According to the publication, Crime in the United States 2013, FBI findings calculated the average loss of purse snatchings at $412. And this only took into account offenses known to law enforcement. Furthermore, it did not include the costs of personal injury, loss of work time, or potential identity theft. Not to mention the value of the loss of your peace of mind!

Think about the losses to this dear lady in a recent newscast: A woman was severely injured when dragged behind a vehicle during a Meijer purse-snatching incident. Police say the incident occurred when the woman was loading her groceries into her vehicle. A man pulled up alongside her cart and grabbed her purse from it. Attempting to thwart the theft, the woman grabbed her purse as well, and held on. But instead of letting go, the man accelerated, dragging her alongside his vehicle.

Not all snatchings are this dramatic, but they are still devastating to the victim. They happen all over, even in normally safe areas; and they happen at no set time or season. Although summertime and holiday times for theft, awareness and vigilance is needed year-round. If you’ve never had this happen to you, chances are, you know someone who has.

Just like the dragged woman’s story, most often purse snatchings happen while out shopping. We’re focused on the task at hand, often in a hurry, distracted by something or someone, and not fully conscious of everything going on around us.

So what can we do to minimize the possibility of becoming a thief’s next victim?

Leave your purse at home. If you don’t already have one, get a small wallet you can put into your pocket for your cash, ID, and debit/credit card. Your coupons, keys, and phone can be carried separately in a small zippered bag or pouch. No pockets? Consider getting something you can wear around your body, instead of just on your shoulder or arm.

Don’t take more than necessary. If you’ve heard that a woman’s car is just her oversized purse, it gives you an idea of the amount of stuff that women carry in their purses. When it comes to shopping, learn to leave unneeded items at home. The less you carry, the smaller the mess you’ll have to clean up if your wallet or purse is taken. Or leave some of those ‘must have’ items in your car, but, not in a purse. Purses get stolen from cars too! Quickly, and without drawing attention, stow items out of sight in your vehicle. And don’t forget to lock it up!

Shop with a friend. When possible have someone else with you. When shopping alone, try to walk into and out of the store with another shopper, especially if it’s at night or beginning to get dark. If feeling nervous, don’t be shy to ask store personnel for a quick escort. They are happy to help a customer keep safe.

Pay attention to traffic. To help prevent a drive-by snatch, walk on the side of the street or parking lot that faces traffic, so you can see vehicles approaching you while en route to your destination.

Make thieves move on. Thieves observe and watch for a good mark. They want people who are distracted. Distractions can include listening to music, talking on a cell phone, appearing oblivious to what is going on, and/or standing with one’s back to personal belongings for long periods of time. (Such as browsing while your purse is in a cart behind you, or loading groceries and frequently turning away from the cart). Make thieves move on by being the opposite. For example, if you have to use your phone, look up and around while talking – rather than down at the ground. Move with purpose, surveying your surroundings frequently, and do not ignore or dismiss any gut feelings of uneasiness about a person or an area.

Keep it close to your body. Shorten the strap so you can hold it tightly tucked under your arm. Or lengthen it to wear diagonally across your body in the front. Don’t sling a purse over your shoulder sticking out behind you. Keep it closed, latched or zipped. An open purse is an invitation to anyone looking for a quick pick without ever taking your purse. Another option would be to wear your purse strapped under your sweater, coat, or jacket.

Strap it to the shopping cart. Use the child safety strap to attach your purse handles to the cart. This works even when you have a child strapped in. Place something on top of your purse to help conceal it from someone looking for a quick grab. Just remember not to walk away from your cart. An unattended purse is the easiest to steal from. Realize a purse strapped in doesn’t prevent someone from grabbing something out of it!

Before you leave the store. Have your car keys in hand so you can unlock your car and put your purse in first. Be sure to place it in a hard-to-reach place. (Just throwing it on the seat doesn’t make it hard to grab while you’re loading your purchases). Then unload your bags into the car.

Finally, think about how you would respond if someone tried to steal your purse or wallet. If someone attempts to take your property by force, let it go. Your safety should be the number one priority. Rather than expending energy trying to prevent the snatching, try to focus on memorizing descriptive elements for law enforcement. You’ll be safer physically, and in a better position to describe the thief to police.

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