In October, the world celebrates International Handbag Day. It’s a time where women unite in their mutual admiration of the item they would never leave home without. It’s also a time to remind the women of South Africa to keep their handbags safe as handbags are easy targets for criminals.
According to the recent Victims of Crime survey released by Stats SA, there has been a significant increase in the number of street robberies. The 2018/2019 crime statistics released by the SAPS also showed that common robberies have increased by 2%.
“Women live out of their handbags and the loss of one is devastating for personal, convenience and financial reasons. It’s advisable to be aware of the risks and vigilant of your surroundings to protect yourself from handbag theft,” says Casey Rousseau from 1st for Women Insurance.
A survey conducted by 1st for Women Insurance revealed that over a third of South African women own over 10 handbags. The majority of these women spend up to R400 per handbag with 9% saying that they spend over R1000 on a handbag.
When it comes to losing a handbag, 56% of the survey respondents highlighted bag snatching as their biggest safety concern, followed by smash and grab attacks.
Fortunately, there are some steps that every woman can take to keep her handbag that little bit safer.
Rousseau recommends making your handbag a top security priority when you are out in public. “Be constantly aware of where your bag is. If it has zips, do them up. Also, keep it close to your body.”
It’s also wise to know where and when most handbag thefts take place so that you can prepare accordingly:
- The passenger seat of your car. Always put your handbag in the boot. The inconvenience of that extra step is far less to deal with than replacing your belongings.
- A movie theatre. It’s dark and you are caught up in the action on the screen in front of you. Bag thieves often take advantage of this scenario to reach under your seat to grab the bag at your feet or even to take items quietly from the bag. Always keep your bag zipped up and on your lap at the movies.
- Out of shopping trolleys. When you are shopping, you tend to move between your trolley and the shelves, and are often checking a list. If your handbag is in the trolley, it’s very easy for someone to steal the bag itself, or lift things out of it. Rather keep your bag on your shoulder.
- In crowded places. It’s super-easy to snatch a bag in a crowd and then disappear. Be particularly wary in public places, when what seems like an accidental jostle could in fact be an attempt to steal your stuff.
“Being vigilant, aware and cautious will go a long way to protect ourselves from handbag theft. But, as a preventative measure, you should also make sure your handbag is insured.” concludes Rousseau.