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VPD Warns of Purse Snatchings

February 2nd, 2011 | by admin admin | in Safety Advice |    41   comments

After three purse snatchings in three days, Vancouver Police are warning the public to be vigilant. Between January 24th and 27th, three victims had their purses snatched shortly after getting off a public bus. These recent incidents took place near South Main Street, but could easily have happened anywhere on the Lower Mainland, especially near transit.

While these victims were all Asian females, they ranged inage from 21 to 62. How can you avoid being the next victim of a purse snatcher?

  1. Be aware of your surroundings. Whether walking or riding public transit, know who is around you. If the person sitting next to you on the bus makes you feel uncomfortable, move.
  2. If you think someone is following you, cross the street and turn around to get a good look at the person’s face. Contact the authorities if you’re concerned.
  3. Don’t carry a purse. This may sound like common sense, but if there’s no purse, there’s nothing to snatch.A fanny pack is less tempting than a shoulder bag or clutch.
  4. Don’t flash money or valuables. Put away your cash before leaving a cashier or bank teller. If a thief sees you pop an expensive camera into your purse, she might decide to follow you. Even better, keep your cash and valuables in a front or side pocket.
  5. If you want to give someone spare change, take it only from your pockets, not your purse.
  6. Look confident. Thieves are more likely to target someone who looks afraid or uncertain, so keep your head up.

The Vancouver Police Department has some more personal safety tips on their web site.

What should you do following a purse snatching? If youhave been injured, or if you have evidence, call 9-1-1 for immediate assistance. Otherwise, if there is no injury, evidence or suspect, you can call your local police department’s or RCMP detachment’s non-emergency line. However, if you have lost your passport or Canadian citizenship card, you may need to report the loss in person. The VPD offers guidelines for reporting a crime in Vancouver, and links to other police agencies and RCMP detachments.

Do you feel safe taking public transit or walking in the LowerMainland? Have you or someone you know ever had a purse or wallet snatched? What happened? How would you respond differently today? Post a comment below.

Author: Susanna Chu

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