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How can I make my purse more secure?

Author: CC
Mar. 07, 2024
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After spending months in Europe I never had anything stolen by a pickpocket-not that it is impossible, but I have been thoughtful and lucky.

So, your money belt will have your passport, back up cards, and any large amounts of cash you are carrying. Your wallet should therefor only have some cash for a day or two (100 Euro?) and one card for any large or automated machine purchase. Your bag will also have your phone, a camera, and sundry items you may need, as mentioned above. What are you worried about exactly? Your money belt is secure, your daily cash isn't much, and you know who to call if your card gets taken. And your phone is just a phone, secure it but it is Just A Phone. Don't get me wrong, I would be extremely upset if I lost my phone especially since it has my email (with ticket info) and other info, but it's just a hiccup and the trip would go on.

Now, think like a pickpocket. First of all, pickpockets are the main problem, not purse snatchers, so you will not lose your tickets, maps, sundries. If he or she has to unclip, lift a flap, unzip, and reach down up to his elbow, then most likely whatever is in the bottom of that bag won't get taken. If you don't need your phone, bury it in your bag under the maps and books, and put your wallet down there with it. Keep a few euro coins in one of the zipper pockets for bathrooms or quick drinks. Pull your bag in front of you when you are in crowded tourist areas, set it on you lap on public transportation, put it between your feet at a restaurant (a pickpocket won't crawl under the table), and just be conscious of what is going on around you. Do a bag check with your travel companions, making sure all zippers are zipped and everyone's bags are closed when you leave a place. You will be fine, and nothing irreplaceable is in that bag, and if those few coins are taken, well you have the best story to post on the forum.
Remember, there are tons of helpful, honest Europeans too. Someone above mentioned a wallet being taken, but also BEING RETURNED by another person who saw what happened. A small bag fell out of my backpack, and an Italian couple picked it up and came after me to return it. Keep an eye out for those people, too.

I know you will have a fantastic trip! Bon Voyage!

We believe that a huge part of staying safe is being a smart, well-informed traveler, and taking the steps to ensure that you aren't an easy target.

One of our biggest goals here at Arden Cove is to help women travel with the peace of mind that their belongings are kept safe, whether that's halfway across the world, or just riding the subway in your city. That's one of the reasons why we created the Anti-Theft Waterproof Crossbody .

Get your own Anti-Theft Waterproof Crossbody here. 

1. Purse Snatching: Yank your purse from shoulder/lap and run away.

  • Targets:

    Loose bags, shoulder bags, people not holding their purse.
  • Avoid by:

     Wearing a crossbody which is harder to pull off, keep a hand on the bag at all times. Wear your bag in front of you. 

 

1.5 Cut the Strap: The thief will take a razor blade and cut the strap of the bag, then run off with it. 

  • Targets:

     Purses with one very thin leather strap
  • Avoid by:

     Wearing a bag with a thicker strap, preferably one that is cut proof like a chain. 

 

2. Dip and Lift: Pickpockets can get surprisingly close without you even noticing and they will stick their hand in your bag to fish out your valuables. You may not even notice your stuff missing until you go in looking for it hours later. This is often a coordinated effort where one person distracts you (bumps into you on the train, asking you a question, etc.) and another person reaches in from behind.

3.  Kick and Swipe: In areas that are busier like a restaurant, a theif may look for bags that are set aside and try to lightly kick the bag until it's far enough from the owner that the theif can bend over and pick it up unnoticed.  

  • Targets:

     Bags that are set behind a person/ under a chair. When the owner is distracted by conversation. Bags that are clearly not touching the person and out of sight. 
  • Avoid by:

     Always set your bag where you are aware of it. If you set your bag down at a restaurant, place it so that it is touching you. If the strap is detachable, wrap it around the leg of a chair so that it's harder to take quickly. 

 

4. What time is it?: A group of thieves may be working together. A couple people may walk up to you looking lost or wanting to ask you a question - something simple like "What time is it?" "Do you speak English?" "I'm lost, can you help me?" They may have a map they want you to look at with them. Meanwhile their associate may be quietly sticking their hand into your purse behind you while you're distracted. Or, they may just snatch the whole bag and run away.

  • Targets:

    Bags that are unzipped or open top, placed behind them. Bags on one shoulder or hand bags that are loose/ easy to pull off.
  • Avoid by:

    Always stay alert and keeping your bag in front of you with a hand on it. Always zip your bags. If you are suspicious of the people talking to you, don't feel bad to say "No" and walk away. 

 

5. Slash the bag: A thief may take a razor and cut into the side or bottom of your bag in hopes that a wallet or valuables will quietly fall though the hole. This can happen anywhere where standing still next to someone for an extended period of time is normal, like on a busy subway, or while waiting in line. 

  • Targets:

     Bags that are easy to cut though. Purse owners that are distracted, looking at their phone and carrying their bag behind them or to the side. 
  • Avoid by:

     Again, always be alert and keep your bag in front of you with a hand on it. Having a bag with anti-slash material is best to keep these thieves out. 

 

Sisters Karin and Carmen are the co-founders of Arden Cove and creators of the Anti-Theft Waterproof Crossbodies - bags created for women who want all the practicality and safety features without compromising in style. Shop ArdenCove.com.

How can I make my purse more secure?

Common Purse Thief Tactics & How to Protect your Bag

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