Protecting Your Purse or Valuables Out in Public

Question from one of our readers

Twice in the last two years I have had my purse or valuables from my purse stolen while out in public. I live in a pretty good neighborhood and want to know if there is some reason this keeps happening to me. My friends don’t seem to have this problem and they shop in the same malls and grocery stores as me.


Studying criminal behavior has taught us that criminals look for easy targets and take advantage when an opportunity presents itself. Keen Situational Awareness is the antidote. Criminals look for people who are not paying attention to their surroundings, caught up on their phones, distracted at malls with products or mothers attending to their children. Commonly these people are much more focused on other things than their valuables or safety. Paying attention and looking around periodically, is the first and easiest anti-crime tool.


Wearing a bag cross body will be helpful in your case too. There are so many things demanding attention these days so set yourself up for success by only attending to one or two things. Don’t answer the texts or phone calls while shopping for example and if feasible, only take one child with you to the mall. It’s also worth noting that distraction thieves will work in teams to distract the target while the other lifts the bag or the valuable right out of the bag. This can happen almost anywhere, in any type of neighborhood.

Be careful never to allow a stranger to move your focus off of your bag in a checkout line and it is never recommended to sling your bag over the back of your chair in a restaurant. Your awareness and actions can make all the difference.