Ways to stop personal bags being stolen

Sergeant Paul Devane is providing advice for ways of preventing handbags and personal possessions being snatched by ...

Sergeant Paul Devane is providing advice for ways of preventing handbags and personal possessions being snatched by thieves in public places.

OPINION: In light of a growing trend in handbag snatches in our area, it's timely for a reminder about personal security.

In order for a crime to occur, three common elements must be present: suitable victim, a motivated offender, and the lack of effective guardian such as watchful members of the public, police or security.

Take away one of these elements and a crime cannot occur. There's no shortage of motivated offenders and there's not always a suitable guardian present.

Unfortunately criminals who snatch handbags view the perceived benefits of this crime as outweighing the actual consequences of being caught. Snatching bags can produce fruitful results with very little effort.

As a community we need to work hard at preventing crime rather than apprehension after it has occurred.

We can do this by focussing our efforts on not being the next victim, making this crime as difficult as possible for the perpetrator, and limit any gain or value of property targeted.

If you're a woman who carries a handbag then you're a possible target for offenders.

However, there are a few simple things you can do to make yourself less of a target.

Be aware of your surroundings especially if you've just come from the bank or an ATM, and look to see if there's anyone suspicious around that may be watching you or anyone else.

Carry a handbag on your shoulder, held tightly in front, and appear to be confident and aware as body language speaks loudly.

Lock doors of vehicles before placing down handbags, and record the registration number and description of any vehicles or
people that appear to be acting suspiciously and call 111.

Don't carry large amounts of cash with you, and don't leave handbags in the front of shopping trolleys while unloading groceries.

Don't swing handbags down by your side as you walk along, and don't put handbags on passenger seats getting into vehicles before locking the doors.

Don't be afraid to look at suspicious people and call 111, and don't carry a handbag if you do not need to.

Remember, if something or someone looks suspicious then they usually are. Individually we all have a responsibility to help ourselves to keep safe.

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Please spread the word. Education and raising public awareness is the key to preventing this type of crime occurring.

- Sergeant Paul Devane, Counties Manukau East Police

 - Stuff

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