Police offer tips to make yourself less vulnerable to purse theft
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- South Bend Police say when the weather gets warmer, purse snatchings become more common. There are a few things you can do make yourself less vulnerable to this crime of opportunity.
"Your main shopping arteries is where you're going to see more of it and also in grocery stores. Those are the number one and two places I see it," said crime victim advocate Barbara Brownell of Real Services.
Purse snatchings are as old as purses. The crime hasn't gone away over the years, but police say the way the crime is committed has changed.
"What we've seen a lot more of in the last couple of years are people getting either their entire purse or items from their purse taken in retail establishments as they leave the purse open in the basket," said Captain Phil Trent of the South Bend Police Department.
"It's all year round. It picks up around the holidays and again when the weather gets warmer," said Brownell.
As the weather gets warmer, it becomes more difficult to hide your wallets and cell phones in the safety of your coat pocket.
"As the weather gets warmer it gets a little more difficult to do just that and travel light, so we'll probably see a little bit more of these purse snatches and or purses being taken out of baskets at retail centers," said Trent.
There are a few things you can do to stay safe.
Shop with a buddy
Carry a small, flat wallet in the front pocket of your pants where it's harder to pickpocket
If you must carry a purse, use one with a zipper
Brownell also suggests taking only what you need.
"If they're giving twenty percent off with this credit card, take that one credit card. When you get home, unpack it. People carry way too much in their wallet," said Brownell.
Although you have the right to fight for your purse, Trent says your belongings are never worth your safety or your life.
"Do not fight. I've never really seen any good scenarios in which you fight over a purse and the person carrying the purse doesn't get hurt in some way shape or form," said Trent.
Trent said there have been 20 reported purse snatching incidents in South Bend in the last year.
If someone tries to steal your purse, police say you should drop it, and try to get a good description of the suspect.