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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Crimes of Opportunity

I was just reading Jazzmint's blog about Snatch Thief Going Desperate and remembered that I wanted to blog about this.

Recently I read and wanted to note down that many crimes happen because of opportunity. So one way of preventing crime is to reduce those opportunities for crime to be committed.

Some of the crimes that have happened to people close to me include:

  • handbag snatched while getting into car with kids
  • handbag snatched when opening gate to get into house with kid
  • handphone snatched from table at mamak stall
  • laptop stolen from carboot in luxury hotel

We mothers are a prime target for crime because we are often carrying handbags and numerous other bags for kids' stuff etc. We are distracted because we need to handle the kids and think about their safety. Not only that, the kids themselves are sometimes being cranky or being playful adding to our distraction.

So how to we protect ourselves? Below is my crime prevention checklist. Most of them are related to personal safety. These are some of the things I try to do when outdoors, especially when walking alone on the road or in the carpark:

  • Don't wear flashy jewellery
  • Walk against the direction of the traffic when on the road
  • Carry a laminated copy of my I.C. and keep the original one at home in a safe place
  • Don't carry sling handbags when walking alone. Wear outfit with pocket and carry in pocket instead
  • Always try to look alert
  • Try to be free of distractions and don't dream or think about other things
  • Don't talk on the handphone while walking
  • Try not to be distracted by the kids
  • Try to have the house key or car keys ready instead of searching desperately for it by digging in the handbag only when trying to open the door
  • I used to carry pepper spray and a loud alarm but have stopped doing so. I guess the alarm is ok but am a bit worried that things like pepper spray or umbrella or anything that can be used as a weapon will be used on me instead by the wise crook. What does anyone think about this? I'm really not sure. Hmm...
  • Never carry a sling bag when putting petrol at the petrol kiosk
  • Always lock the door immediately upon getting in the car
  • I don't open the car door from too far a distance afraid that someone may get into the car without my noticing
  • Always lock the car door when waiting in the car with the kids for hubby to run a quick errand especially if the engine is left running. I'm worried that someone may come in and drive off with us in it!
  • Never leave my handbag on a table unattended when dining
  • Put my handbag on the floor near my feet when driving instead of on the passenger seat so its not visible to other motorists or passerby
  • Don't stand near the entrance of the LRT, it makes it easier for someone to snatch your stuff and run off
  • Try not to carry too many stuff when handling kids at the same time

My list is certainly not exhaustive even though I may sound paranoid enough with it. Still its better to be paranoid then sorry. Feel free to share your personal checklist here so we can all remind each other to be careful in order to prevent crimes by not providing the opportunities for crime to happen.

When you're done reading this, head over to Marsha's blog for more Personal Safety Tips.


  1. Good one! No..not paranoid at all..I'm like that too.

    It's important to be mindful of your surroundings esp. if you hv kids! These perps (even lang-chai ones!) seize opportunities like this to take your belongings!

  2. Keep valuables in baby's bag :) Perhaps, the nasty snatch thieves will think it only contains baby food and such :)

  3. mott,
    I didn't use to be alert about my surroundings but now no choice with kids and with hubby always reminding me.

    Thats how my relative who had her handbag snatched when she was opening the gate of her house after walking her child back from kindy managed to still have her house keys, handphone, purse etc because they were in the kid's bag. However, since we can think about it, I'm sure the crooks can figure it out too one day. That makes me worry about the kid's safety when they are carrying their little bags. Best to teach them some safety measures too ie to be alert of strangers etc.

  4. Wow...thanks for sharing your list..very comprehensive! :)

    Ya, it's quite scary..reading those incidents on the papers...must really protect ourselves...

  5. my colleague was held with a knife on her throat right in front of her gate! no more safe place!

  6. You are certainly not paranoid. Crimes are so rampant nowadays, who's to help us if we don't do it ourselves :) Another plus to have your car keys ready when you go underground parking is so that you can enter your car quickly & also hit the alarm button in case you get attacked.

  7. blurblur,
    And those incidents are on the rise too. Very scary indeed. It could happen to anyone of us.

    Oh no! Thats awful! Not safe even in front of own house. So sad.

    Yes, getting the keys ready is very important. I used to be very kelam kabut, fumbling for the keys in my handbag only when I reach the car door. That creates an opportunity for anyone with bad intentions.

  8. My hubby insisted that our kids will take martial art classes to protect themselves. Nowadays, snatch thieves don't just steal, they attack too.

  9. shoppingmum,
    Probably we need martial art classes as well.

  10. totally agree with you on this!!

    My hubby's taekwondo sifu told me to hold the keys in between each finger and form into a fist (one finger, one key, one finger, one key). So when anyone comes near just whack the fella..keys are good weapon.

    But i think best is have bodyguard huh

  11. jazzmint,
    The keys sound like a good idea but like you say, best to have a bodyguard. :P


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