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Purse snatching is a crime of opportunity. You can eliminate that opportunity. Every female carrying a purse is a potential target. Senior citizens are especially susceptible to these criminals since they may not be readily able to defend themselves and pursue their assailants.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Purse snatching is a crime that can be easily prevented when you take away the opportunity from the thief. Most purse snatchers are juveniles under the age of 18 who are waiting for the next opportunity. When you hide the "prize," you protect yourself!

Suppose you are going shopping and waiting for the bus. You are by yourself and your purse is exposed and in open view. You already made two mistakes: you're alone and your purse is vulnerable. Frankly, your personal safety might depend on NOT clinging to that purse, even though it seems a normal way to protect the contents. Grabbing and shoving that may take place can result in being injured. There are ways to protect yourself, however.

The first precaution you can take is to go shopping with a friend, man or woman. You're safer when in the company of someone else. If you must be out at night alone, stay in well-lit areas. Walk close to street lights, staying well away from dark corners, alleys, and building entrances.

When carrying a purse, women should have only 3 or 4 one dollar bills placed inside. Credit cards, currency, driver license, keys, and jewelry should be carried in a coat or sweater pocket, or concealed on your person to reduce the opportunity of large losses. If you carry a purse, don't wrap the strap around your shoulder, neck or wrist. If your purse is grabbed, a strong strap will not yield easily and you may be injured. Some purse snatch victims have been thrown down and have received concussions and broken bones. Never carry anything more valuable than you can afford to lose. Always leave all unnecessary credit cards at home. When you shop and carry a purse, place it in your shopping bag. Never leave your purse on a store counter or in a grocery shopping cart, even for a moment.

You should carry a police whistle and a small flashlight on your key chain where they're readily available. Make a habit to carry your key chain in a pocket, NOT in your purse. And you should NEVER put your name and address on your house keys or car keys. This is simply a way of telling the thief who you are and where you live!

Most victims are attacked from behind. They don't get a good look at the attacker. And when a juvenile gets away with it once, he/she will try it again. If attacked, call the police immediately. Try to remember all details: help your police help you!