Protecting Against Theft

Protection from Theft

I have only had a bag snatched once in all my travels and that scene played out like a Three Stooges skit. I was in Brussels and my daughter was 7 at the time. She was complaining about having to walk so far to our accommodation and my attention was on encouraging her along. The first I was aware that we’d been robbed was when a group of young girls behind me started yelling in all sorts of languages until they perked my attention when they said in English, “That guys just stolen your bag!” I looked ahead and saw this young lad running looking back at me at the same time as some workers were moving a long couch out of a shop and blocked the footpath. The would-be-thief was knocked off his feet and as he rolled over the couch, he threw our bag up in the air. We ran to retrieve our belongings.

Even though this bag had nothing of real value in it, it taught me several huge lessons. The biggest one was BE AWARE of your surroundings. Pay attention to what you’re doing.

The next thing is – TIE everything together. I wrap the strap or the cord around larger items. I tie my keys onto the outside of a bag and then tuck them just inside for easy access, I tie a camera strap onto the strap of my handbag, I clip my watch onto my shower bag or onto my handbag when I’m sleeping. Before you fall asleep on a bus – wrap the straps of your bag around your wrists so you can feel if someone is trying to steal it. Tie your handbag onto the leg of a table when at a restaurant. I was riding a bike around Central Park and the guy renting them out, teasingly tried to snatch my camera out of the front carry basket to show me how complacent I was being, but was complimentary when he realised it was tied onto the handle bars.

If staying in dormitories, take a small lock to lock up your values and have a key on a lanyard to wrap around your wrist as you sleep.

Being aware of where your belongings are at all times is a way not to become complacent. Count the number of bags you are carrying regularly. If you haven’t seen an item for awhile, check your bags and account for it. Do a full repack every few destinations to ensure you have everything. Check a room carefully before you leave – no matter how rushed you are. Establish ‘homes’ for important items so you can just quickly lay your eyes or hands on them to reassure yourself. Take super care of your passport and put it into a waterproof clear bag with a strap so you can tie it on to something inside your bag.

Automatically take care of your items. Your freedom of movement relies on this and you don’t want to waste time pulling bags a part. It puts you at risk in a new situation.