Theft Prevention – Protect the Property on your Person!


Unfortunately, there is no style of handbag or wallet that cannot be taken. There is no foolproof way to carry possessions. If the robber wants your valuables, chances are he/she will get them. However, there are good strategies to reduce your risk of becoming a victim.


Safeguarding yourself from in-person electronic device thefts

Thefts of mobile devices right out of the hands of those using them, and the taking of advantage of those in public distracted by their personal mobile devices is becoming an ever-increasing crime trend. Remember – these bandits are opportunists – and they will seize an open opportunity to pray on the distracted and unsuspecting. Follow these tips, taken from a resource provided by SF Mayor Lee and DA Gascon in November for SF’s Muni Riders – they apply to anyone in public:

Phone & Electronics Safety Tips

    Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you.

Avoid engaging in cell phone conversations while on transit or in public.

Keep your cell phone and electronic devices in a pocket, purse or backpack.

Do not walk and text.

Never loan your cell phone to a stranger.

If your device is lost or stolen, immediately report the loss to your service provider and the police.

If you see a theft in progress, please call 911.


  • Be aware of your surroundings and know who is nearby.
  • Choose open, well lit areas whenever possible.
  • “Natural Surveillance,” or presence of windows and balconies that face the location where you are walking, can provide a ready-made deterrent to criminal activity.
  • Pay attention to the uncomfortable feelings that often warn us of potential danger.
  • LISTEN to that “little voice” – Don’t be afraid to cross the street, return to a business, or ask for help based on a “funny feeling”. You may be right!

Dark Spot


  • Learn to carry only what is actually needed.
  • Carry only small amounts of cash.
  • Take only the credit cards you actually plan to use.
  • Leave expensive jewelry at home.
  • Don’t carry anything that is irreplaceable unless you absolutely must, even if it has no cash value.


  • Your safety should be the number one priority.
  • Make a plan for how you would respond if someone tried to steal your purse or wallet
  • Don’t resist or try to fool the robber.
  • “Instinctive” behaviors or responses can be overcome with practice and planning.

Suspicious at Night


  • Handbags should be closed, carried in front of the body with an arm held loosely across it. A bag dangling by your side is much easier for a thief to grab on the run.
  • If wearing a handbag with a strap over the head, choose a thin strap, and wear it under your coat. This makes it harder for the robber to grab the strap. A hard yank on a strap may cause a fall and an injury.
  • Many women find they don’t need to carry a handbag all the time. Place essentials (keys, small amount of cash, I.D.) in a pocket.
  • Avoid carrying house keys in your handbag. Instead, carry keys in a pocket. Chances are your address is on a document in the bag. If the thief has your keys and address he/she has easy entry to your home.
  • Consider reducing the items of personal or sentimental value that you routinely carry. Losing family photos, address books, and important papers is usually more traumatic to victims than financial loss.
  • If you must carry a large amount of cash or valuable items, do not carry them in your handbag or wallet. Carry valuables in an inside pocket.



  • Don’t’ make it easy for thieves. They are on the lookout for items left in cars, grocery carts, dressing rooms or desks. It takes only seconds to grab your property and get away.
  • When in public be sure your handbag clasp or zipper is closed. Wallets and checkbooks should not protrude from pockets.
  • Be especially cautious in busy stores, shopping districts, at public events, on buses, and at bus stops. Thieves are attracted to crowds. Noise and confusion help conceal their crimes.
  • Pickpockets often work in teams; one creates a distraction by bumping or shoving, dropping something, or asking a question while others lift wallets from pockets or handbags.

Purse Theft Suspect


  • If a robber grabs your bag, resist the impulse to play tug of war. If you hang on, chances are you will be knocked down, hit, or kicked and the robber will get your bag anyway.
  • Victims sometimes tell a robber they have no money. This technique may backfire. It is safer to give up a few dollars. Carry a little money in an accessible place for just this purpose. Keep it separate from other funds.
  • If someone demands your property and displays or implies in anyway that they have a weapon, hand the bag or wallet to them.


Call SMPD if you see or hear anything suspicious in your community. Call 911 for in-progress crimes or suspicious activity. Program SMPD Dispatch 650-522-7700 into your mobile phone AND MEMORIZE IT in case your phone is stolen!

Take the ipod

Much of this information has been obtained from an excellent list of safety tips posted by Seattle Police

One thought on “Theft Prevention – Protect the Property on your Person!

  1. Please consider using darker text in a larger font for those with older eyes and more likely to be victims. Thank you.

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