Handbags often contain a number of financially valuable or sentimental items.
Prevent your bag from being stolen by keeping it close to you - this may sound obvious but unfortunately the handbag left unattended on the back of a shopping trolley, or pushchair is a prime target for an opportunist thief.
Don't leave your bag on the floor in changing room, or public toilets where is could be reached.
Consider using bags with straps that can be worn diagonally across your body, with the openings facing inwards.
Utilise zipped internal compartments to make it harder to a thief to 'dip' into your bag and gain access to valuable items.
Don't unnecessarily carry around documents containing personal information or excessive amounts of cash -remember take out with you only what you need.
Would you give up your bag if a thief demanded it? ... remember your personal safety is more important that anything that you carry in a bag. If a thief demands your bag it is suggested that you throw it away from the thief to create some space between you and them.
What's in a bag?
Each time a handbag is stolen, women are faced with an average bill of £109 to replace the items and its contents. However, nearly one in ten (9%) carry a bag worth £250 or more. Of those who had suffered handbag theft, items lost included cash (87%), make-up (55%), door keys (50%), mobile phones (30%) and even medication (12%).
Source: Direct Line Insurance Research 2009
Mobile Phone safety tips
Mobile phones are attractive items for a thief and highly valuable to the owner. Not only does your mobile phone have all of your friends and families contact details which allow you to keep in touch, for many mobile phones are used as electronic diaries, and for accessing the internet. To protect your mobile phone from theft, remember, don't advertise your phone to thieves.Don't leave your phone on tables in pubs or restaurants. Wherever possible avoid walking and texting at the same time, and keep calls to the minimum when walking in public. When not is use keep your phone out of sight in your bag or a pocket. Utilise any inbuilt security lock codes which your phone may have.
Property mark your phone - further details can be found within the property marking section of the prevention pages.
To protect your mobile phone and other property further visit www.immobilise.com and register your details for free. By registering your property you stand a much better chance of getting it back if it is stolen. Millions have already done so.
Police Need Your Mobile Phone's Serial (IMEI) Number
If you have reported your phone stolen you must provide police with the serial number (known as the IMEI number) of your handset. This is a unique 15-17 digit number assigned to the handset at the point of manufacture. It will be placed on a national database to which all UK police have access.
How to get your IMEI Number
The IMEI number is printed on a label usually found behind the phone's battery. It is also stored electronically within the handset. To display this onscreen simply key in to the handset: *#06#
When you register your phone or other property details are entered into the Immobilise database. This information is then available to all UK police officers who regularly search the database when handsets are recovered. So, if a mobile phone is lost or stolen anywhere within the UK and located by police, by registering it on immobilise you are increasing the change of getting it returned to you!
A lot of the advice in this section is common sense, you may even find what's listed are things that you do naturally without thinking about it.
Whilst the likelihood of becoming a victim is very slim, you can help keep yourself safe by following this simple guidance - it really can make a difference to your personal safety.
Before going out ask yourself these simple questions:
- Where am I going?
- How am I getting there?
- How am I getting back?
- Am I prepared for a change of plan?
- Have I let people know where I am?
The questions will start you thinking about your personal safety whether this is when you are out and about during the day or having a night. If you are on a night out make sure you plan for getting home - look out for one another and stick with friends!
The key to good personal safety is to trust your instincts...
When out and about, try to look and act confident and like you know where you are going.
Think about the route you are taking try to avoid lonely and quiet locations , don't be tempted to take shortcuts where they take you away from main routes - a voiding alleyways and underpasses.
Stay is busy well lit areas, and stick to main routes.
Where possible walk with friends, and don't accept offers from strangers to walk with you, or to give you a lift.
Don't advertise the valuables you are carrying, or leave them out on show.
When walking or jogging avoid wearing stereo headphones as they prevent you from being aware of your surroundings.
If for any reason you think you are being followed, cross the road. If you are still being followed cross the road again to make sure. Make for a busy well-lit area, or public place and ask for help.
- Shout and scream as loud as you can if you're being attacked, are threatened, or at risk of being attacked. This will alert people who may be able to help. It is also likely to cause the offender to run off.
- Consider purchasing a personal attack alarm. The purpose of a personal attack alarm is to shock and disorientate an attacker, giving you vital seconds to get away.
- There are various types of personal attack alarms available a personal attack alarm needs to be easy to carry and accessible in order for it to be used effectively
- If your personal safety is at immediate risk or in an emergency dial 999.
Money and Credit Cards
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash
- Avoid using ATM machines late at night. Make use of cash back facilities in shops
- Carry wallets in inside pockets of jackets or coats, not in back pockets of trousers
- If you are suspiciously bumped into in a busy crowded place, check to see if your purse/wallet/money has been taken
- Report the loss or theft of credit and cash cards immediately. Remember that thieves can use cards to make transactions over the phone and via the Internet
- Never disclose your PIN number to anyone - even if they claim to be calling from your bank
- Keep cash cards separate from your cheque book
- When using your card, shield your PIN and take the time to make sure you safely put away your purse or wallet