A woman’s handbag is an easy target for criminals. Be aware of the risks and vigilant of your surroundings to protect yourself from handbag theft which, according to 1st for Women Insurance, is on the rise.

“Our claims statistics show that handbag theft is increasing. This trend is particularly concerning for women as we live out of our handbags and the loss of one is devastating for personal, convenience and financial reasons.  Fortunately, there are some steps that every woman can take to keep her handbag that little bit safer,” says Casey Rousseau from 1st for Women Insurance.

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.

“Crime is an unfortunate reality in South Africa, and we have to be constantly aware of the possibility of falling victim to theft,” says Rousseau. “Being vigilant, aware and cautious will go a long way to protect ourselves from the massive upset and inconvenience of handbag theft. But, as a preventative measure, you should also make sure your handbag is insured.”