How to Prevent Purse Snatching, Pickpockets and Petty Theft

Purse snatching is a crime of opportunity. You can eliminate that opportunity. Every unconscious person (especially How to Prevent Purse Snatching: Avoiding Pickpockets and Petty Theftfemale) carrying a purse is a potential target. To avoid loss, it’s always wise to carry any important documents (like your passport), your debit/credit cards, and most of your money in a travel security wallet or passport holder that can be worn under your clothing.  Find below safety tips on how to guard against purse snatchers:

Avoid Being a Crime Victim during Shopping/Holiday SeasonsHere are some simple steps that can be taken to lower the risk of becoming a crime victim:

  • Shop during the day when possible.
  • When shopping after dark do so with a friend or family member.
  • Dress casually and comfortably.
  • Expensive jewelry should be left at home.
  • Always carry a government issued photo driver’s license or identification card.
  • Only carry absolutely necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card.
  • Stay alert regarding the surroundings.
  • Avoid being overloaded with packages.
  • It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
  • Notify the credit card issuer immediately if a credit card is lost, stolen or misused.
  • Park in a well-lighted space, be certain the car is locked, the windows are closed, and store shopping bags and gifts in the trunk.

Shopping and Safety Tips in Regards to Children

Shopping with children can present possibly dangerous situations. Simple prevention actions can assist in keeping children safe:

  • If possible, leave small children at home with a trusted babysitter.
  • Teach children to go to a store clerk and ask for help if the child becomes separated from the caretaker.
  • Teach children to stay close to their caretaker at all times while shopping.
  • Never allow a child to make an unaccompanied trip to the restroom.
  • A child should never be allowed to go to the car alone and should never be left alone in the car.
  • Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security.
  • Teach children to take note immediately if a stranger is bothering them.
  • Remember, use the same common sense you would use in a big city anywhere in the world. In crowds, it’s better to carry your pack or purse in front of you where you can easily see it. Always be aware of your surroundings and don’t put your purse, day pack, or camera where someone could snatch it. If you have zippers on your purse or pack, be sure they’re closed.
  • Should i bring, or not bring? Bring only what you need. Don’t carry more cash, debit or credit cards than you absolutely need to do your shopping that day. Thank God with the recent introduction of a cashless society into the Nigeria economy, now, one debit/credit card is enough, and you should have the customer service number written down somewhere so that you can report the card stolen immediately if your purse is snatched (Watch out for the upcoming book: Safeguarding yourself and business from fraud in a cashless society, by Abdulazeez Idiaro) for many professional advice. Decide even before leaving the house whether the contents of your purse are worth getting hurt for.
  • Walk in busy, well-lit areas. You may think that you’re exposing yourself to more purse snatchers, but they are more likely to strike in dark, isolated areas because they don’t want to get caught. Walk briskly and confidently.
  • If you’re traveling with another person, divide your debit/credit cards so you’re not both carrying the same ones. If one person’s wallet gets stolen you’ll still have cards you can use.
  • Be aware of the area and the people, especially if you find yourself having to walk in an isolated or lightly populated area. Look at the person who might approach or pass you. Do not look away. Look directly at their hands or at what they might be carrying. They prefer to strike and run, and not be recognized. If you do not appear to be vulnerable and will be able to give their description, they just might keep walking past you.
  • Hold your purse tightly and close to your body, whether on a bus, train, or walking. If possible, wear it underneath a coat or jacket. Also, secure the latch or zipper. You might be tempted to wear your purse diagonally on your body (over the neck as well as the shoulder) or loop the strap around your wrist to prevent the purse from being easily snatched, but keep in mind that if someone does try to steal your purse, a hard yank on tightly wound purse strap can cause injury.
  • If you believe someone is following you don’t turn around use a shiny object like a car mirror or window to look back.
  • Shorten the strap on your purse so you can carry it tightly between your elbow and body.
  • Remember that your life comes before your purse. If someone pulls it away from your hands or your shoulder (especially with a dangerous weapon you can’t fight back), let it go! It is more important to avoid injury or death than save a purse. Never fight foolishly to keep it when you know you can’t win.
  • Report anything or anyone suspicious. If you suspect that someone seems to be lurking someplace that they do not belong, contact security if you are in a mall, or contact the manager if you are in a supermarket. Better to report your suspicions and be wrong, than to ignore it and be robbed or hurt.
  • Don’t leave your purse or bag unattended on the chair or table beside you in a restaurant or library.
  • Photocopy both sides of the important contents of your purse (credit cards, driver’s license, etc.) and store the copy in a safe place at home. Should your purse or wallet get stolen, you’ll have a record of your account numbers and whom to notify about them.
  • Most purse snatchers strike from behind the victim – so be vigilant and conscious of your environment always.
  • “Con-artists” may attempt various distractions with the intent of taking money or belongings. Be wary of people asking you for money or asking you to do something for them. In many cities, tourists are sometimes approached by someone holding a piece of cardboard in front of you for you to read. While creating this diversion, a child or another person, picks your pocket. Leave your purse at home. Carry necessary items (ID and money) in a wallet, tucked safely in your pocket. If you don’t have pockets and/or there are additional items you prefer to carry, such as makeup, keys, and a phone, consider putting them in a bag that wraps around your stomach and can be hidden from view, or a backpack strapped around both shoulders so that it can’t easily be snatched.
  • Shop with a friend, travel together.The first precaution you can take is to go shopping with a friend – man or women. You’re safer when in the company of someone else. If you must be out at night alone, stay in well-lighted areas. Walk close to street lights, staying well away from dark corners, alleys and building entrances.
  • 16. How to outsmart the purse snatcher.When carrying a purse, women should have small denomination bills placed inside. Debit/Credit cards, currency, driver’s license, keys and jewelry should be carried in a coat or sweater pocket, or concealed on yourself – to reduce the opportunity of large losses. If you carry a purse, don’t wrap the strap around your shoulder, neck or wrist. If your purse is grabbed, a strong strap will not yield easily and you may be injured. Some purse snatch victims have been thrown down and have received concussions and broken bones. Never carry anything more valuable than you can afford to lose. Always leave all unnecessary debit/credit cards at home. When you shop and carry a purse, place it in your shopping bag. Never leave your purse in your grocery shopping cart, on a store counter, even for a moment. Don’t hang your bag on a stroller, either.
  • 17. Don’t carry weapons that can be used against you. You should carry a police whistle, a flashlight, and pepper or mace spray on your key chain where they’re readily available. Make a habit to carry your key chain in a pocket – NOT in your purse. And, you should never put your name and address on your house keys or car keys. This is simply a way of telling the thief who you are and where you live.

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