Tips for preventing a purse-snatching -

Tips for preventing a purse-snatching

Letting your guard down, even for a moment, can open the door for a purse snatcher. Here are the tips you can use to avoid becoming a victim.

It's a crime no one ever wants to encounter. Anything of value gone in a matter of seconds.

"We don't want people to be paranoid," said Deputy Chief Reuben Santiago. "We want them to be conscious that it could happen."

Santiago teaches women how to keep themselves safe. The first rule is to be alert and pay attention. "When criminals are looking at a potential victim, they're wanting the ones that are looking the other way so they can sneak behind them," he said.

Santiago says a woman who makes good eye contact towards people around her shows confidence, and that she means business. A tight grip on the purse helps too.

"I call this the double clutch, meaning that they clutch one time on the strap and one more time on the actual purse," said Santiago. "If I'm a criminal, I'm sizing her up and I'm thinking she's aware of her surroundings. She's got a good firm hold on her purse; says they may not be a good target."

But if all else fails and the thief is still bold enough, Santiago says don't fight back. "If the criminal gets to the point where he or she is going to snatch that purse, let it go," said Santiago. "There is nothing I don't think anyone in this world would want to fight over that can't be replaced."

Police say it's best to be a good witness. Take note of their physical description. Track down their license plate number.

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