With cases of snatch theft, robbery, burglary and abduction getting more and more rampant, many safety tips have been shared to better protect ourselves. While no precautionary measures is 100% foolproof if we are really so unfortunate to have been targeted by criminals, there are ways to lower the chances as much as possible and to minimise the damage we suffer. The whole idea is also about deterrence – to make ourselves a less convenient target. So here are some less conventional safety tips we could consider adopting. Some may be a bit drastic, but then sometimes it’s better to be drastic and paranoid than to be sorry…
1. If you become a victim of a snatch theft, robbery or abduction and you need to shout to get people’s attention to help, never shout ‘Help!’, ‘Snatch thief!’, ‘Robbery!’, etc. Generally, people are concerned about their own safety or are too selfish to help. Most of the time, they’ll just fold their arms or peep from the window. To effectively get people’s attention and lure them to come to your rescue, shout ‘RAPE!!!’. Naturally, people get more curious about sexual crimes! It doesn’t matter you are a male or female – when they hear a male shouting ‘rape’ , they’ll be even more curious to come out and be a busybody.
2. The most troublesome consequence of having a handbag being snatched is having to get the IC and driving licence reissued, blocking and renewing the credit/ATM/SIM cards, and changing the locks in the house. Since it’s really hard to put a handbag in a secure place in the limited space of the car cabin (it’s also unsafe to open the car boot and put it inside), it’s good to place the handphone, purse and keys in a separate smaller pouch inside the handbag so that we can conveniently take it out and put it into the dashboard drawer within a few seconds. Most snatch thieves will not open the dashboard drawer and search for valuables after grabbing the handbag (unless they are readers of TARfm ;)). They would want to sprint off ASAP! I personally do not recommend attaching the handbag strap to the seatbelt or any other part, hoping that this would cause the snatcher to get pulled and fall off the bike. The strap might just snap, or worse still, the snatcher who most probably won’t die or faint just because he falls off the bike, or his partner might cause physical harm to the driver. These criminals are daring and cold-blooded!
3. If a lady is walking on the street with other family members or friends, avoid carrying the handbag – let a man carry it. Of course the snatch thieves might also snatch it from the man. However, they would think twice – after all, most men are bigger in size and physically stronger than women. Criminals always look for the most convenient target. Between a woman and a man carrying a handbag on the same stretch of street, they would most probably go for the woman.
4. This is more drastic – instead of carrying your nice and elegant LV or Coach bags while on the street, put it into a cheap-looking non-transparent plastic bag e.g. the ones used by hypermarkets or market traders. You may appear ‘cheap’ but then you are safe! Nobody would want to snatch a bag of groceries. Same thing if you are bringing a large amount of cash – never use the typical bag or envelope!
5. I’m sure each one of us has an emergency contact person i.e. a boyfriend, family member or reliable friend. Every time you are about to leave a particular place, let that person know where your car is located, and while walking to the carpark, hold your handphone in a discreet way, being on standby to call your emergency contact person at the press of a button, in case of emergency. In the unfortunate event that when the other person picks up the call without hearing anything from you, he or she should immediately contact the police or security office.
6. If you live in a landed property, most car remote controls are good enough to trigger the alarm (unless you live in a SUPER-large bungalow) – place it beside your bed instead of in the living room. Trigger your car alarm if you suspect that thieves are in the process of breaking into your house or have broken into your house (but have not attempted to break into your bedroom). In the first place, your bedroom should be locked securely at night.
7. Many of us have a safe at home. This is to be used as a decoy. Do not put ALL your valuables inside the safe – it is the first thing burglars look for in the house. Instead, just put a bit of cash or valuables inside, perhaps worth a few hundred bucks (it is not recommended to not store anything valuable at all because the burglars would then search more meticulously around the house once they know they have been cheated; feeling angry of the wasted time opening the safe, they might even set fire to your house before leaving!). Hide your expensive belongings in different places – be creative!
8. (Applicable to landed property) Many of us have more than one car at home. When we travel outstation or go overseas, park the car as close as possible to the main door (a few inches to the grille) so that burglars would have no chance or great difficulty breaking in through the main door. When they encounter such a hindrance, they might just give up and move on to another house!