Purse snatchers have most probably been operating since purses were first used. It is nothing new yet something that few people actually take the necessary steps to prevent.
During this guide we are going to take a look at a few ideas that will help you to better protect your purse from being stolen or snatched.
How Targets are Chosen
To start off I think it is only right that you actually understand what a purse thief looks for in a victim. They are looking for any of the following things:
- A woman who drapes her purse on the back of a chair or keeps it on the floor beside the chair.
- A woman whose purse is sticking out of her handbag.
- A woman who leaves her purse or wallet in a shopping cart.
- A purse or bag left in an unlocked car.
- A woman who has set her purse or wallet down on a table or counter.
- Purses left in unattended offices or dressing rooms.
- Purses and coats left hanging on coat racks.
The best target is a woman alone with a purse that she is not paying much attention to and believe it or not, this happens all the time. A simple snatch is all that is needed and it isn’t difficult to set up; the hardest part for the thief is the waiting that is involved.
Types of Purse Theft
Now that you understand how a victim is selected, let’s take a look at the different kinds of purse theft that a thief may use.
Snatch and Run
This is exactly how it sounds. A thief will see an opportunity, grab the purse and make off running. Simple, effective, and not very creative.
This method is used by the more daring of thieves who don’t actually worry about getting caught and hauled off to jail. Maybe they have addictions or whatever but this is the most recognizable version of purse snatching.
Dip and Lift
The dip and lift method is a very simple technique used by thieves and as the thief approaches, he will dip down and remove something from an open purse or bag. This will usually be the wallet or cell phone.
This kind of technique can often be seen in which the theif will pretend/deliberately drop something and as they pick it up they also make the steal.
Sneak and Stash
This is also a form of pickpocketing. The thief will sneak up, take something and exit.
A local church here in my hometown had this happen not too long ago. On a Sunday during church service, somebody sneaked in through the back entrance and without anybody paying attention went through coats, handbags and anything else they could to take anything of value.
Methods a Purse Snatcher Uses
Kick the Purse
Oftentimes, as a woman takes a seat at a table she will usually put her purse down on the floor. This allows a thief to simply get close to the victim and gently kick the purse out of her view so it can be easily taken without her knowledge.
If the woman hears or sees her bag kicked, the thief will say “oh pardon me” and reach down to slide the bag back into place while simultaneously helping himself to the wallet from the unzipped bag.
This happens a lot due to the fact that the purse is his whether he gets seen or not, he still has a way of getting what he wants.
Do You Have the Time?
This technique uses multiple thieves that are working together. The first will strike up a conversation with the victim by asking if they have the time or how they can get somewhere.
As the victim gets involved in the conversation, they are distracted which gives the second thief the chance to steal the purse from behind.
This is a very common theft. The thief simply removes the purse from the back of your chair where it is hanging. Your bag should always be in view.
How to Prevent Purse Snatching
1. If You Don’t Need it, Leave it at Home
When going out, take only what you actually need. You don’t need to carry a purse full of everything that you aren’t going to use. Take your ID and a bit of cash and keep it in your pocket. If you must take a bag or purse out with you then never allow yourself to get distracted from it and always keep your purse hidden in plain sight.
2. Keep to Busy, Well-lit Areas
A thief wants an easy target so don’t make yourself one. They are more likely to choose somebody that is walking down dark and quiet areas rather than those where they have a much higher chance of being spotted. When walking, do so briskly and confidently and whenever possible, take a friend with you.
3. Know the Area
A little bit of situational awareness goes a long way. Be mindful of what is happening around you and take a mental note of faces and hands of those around you. Don’t allow yourself to look vulnerable or exposed.
4. Keep it Close
It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, keep your bag held as close to your body as you can. You can also wear it under your jacket or coat and keep it hidden. Be careful if you want to wear it diagonally on your body or wind the strap around the wrist because a solid pull on the strap can hurt you really bad.
Extra Safety Tips
- Never leave your purse in your shopping cart, hanging on a stroller or on a counter.
- Never leave your belongings unattended on a table or chair beside you in a restaurant.
- Always be aware of your surroundings all the time for most of these snatchers like to strike from behind.
- If you plan on carrying just a wallet, consider carrying a small wallet that fits easily in a pocket.