Antitheft Handbag

Old Apr 25th, 2011, 08:54 AM
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Antitheft Handbag

I am taking a tour in September to Northern Italy- Maggiore,Cinque Terre,Tuscany,Venice- and wondering if a purse with slashproof strap, mesh panels etc as advertised by Travelsmith and Magellan is necessary? I would appreciate your opinions. My daughter-in-law's Mom had her purse stolen on Day 1 in Rome. I realize one must be cautious in any big city, but being a tourist certainly may leave you more vulnerable. Thanks for the input!
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 09:11 AM
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IMO - I think those are more dangerous than just a regular, run-of-the-mill cross body handbag.

They only protect you from someone cutting the strap -- and if the strap won't cut/release -- the thief could end up dragging you til one of you let go. But that is an absolute worst case scenario. Just have your wits about you, and use a normal handbag . . .
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 09:18 AM
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Necessary? No. But if having one will give you peace of mind, then go for it. However, even slash proof purses can otherwise be snatched. Street smarts are important. Keep cash, cards, etc in a money belt. Thefts can happen anywhere but looking at Italy as a whole, you probably are at higher risk in Rome and Naples than where you are going.
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 10:07 AM
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No you don't need one or a money belt. Just keep your bag tucked under your arm and keep your wits about you, just like in any major city.
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 10:23 AM
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I think the best approach is to have a bag that is comfortable enough to wear that you won't need/want to set it down a lot because that is when it is most likely to get stolen. I have a bag that has an adjustable strap for wearing cross-body or tucked close under my arm. It is small enough that I can wear it while sitting at a table or on a bench or just hold it on my lap.

To protect against a mobile purse snatching (ie someone on a moped or something comes along and grabs the bag) don't walk at the edge of the sidewalk or in the gutter - esspecially not with the bag worn toward the street. If someone can't reach you from the street, they can't grab your bag.

To protect against someone slashing your bag - I think the best way is to just pay attention. In a crowded place, hold the bag in front of you.

And of course, no matter how careful you are, sometimes the theives are just that good and will successfully steal from you. So as protection against that, I don't keep all my valuables in one place. And I have ATM cards to 2, unrelated accounts. I have credit cards to at least 2 accounts. If someone steals my bag and gets an ATM card, I have another in the safe back at the hotel. Cancel the stolen card and continue enjoying the trip.
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 10:27 AM
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No - they are not only not necessary - they are silly.

All you need is basic awareness of your suroundings - and never to let go of your purse. (Even an antitheft purse can be stolen if you put it down and walk away.)
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 10:32 AM
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alihutch - I disagree about using a money belt and this is why. In the US where I live, I do not use a money belt because if I am pickpocketed or passport lost I am inconvenienced but all of my resources are at hand or nearly so. Not so when in another country. It is not if I am at any greater risk, although that is arguable, but what happens when passport is stolen or pocket is picked. Simply, my vacation if not ruined is pretty close to being so. Now I have to spend my very finite vacation time replacing things, getting the resources to pay my bills that are growing with each passing day, etc.

Using a money belt is a cheap and easy way to mitigate all that.
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 10:55 AM
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I don't think you need that kind of purse anywhere in Italy, and especially not where you are headed.

Bring your common sense, and your regular travel handbag.

As others have already implied, even a steel-sided safe can be lifted if left unattended.
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 11:01 AM
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I think you need to think in terms of likelihood of different mechanisms. While I have not found sites detailing specific rankings, it appears the likelihood of losing valuables from a purse are in following order based on what I have been reading in this forum.

1. Pickpocket removing wallet from a purse.
2. Pickpocket taking the whole purse away from the owner or when left unguarded.
3. Pickpocket cutting the strap/bottom and taking the contents.

I think the pickpockets rather want to get the valuables without you noticing it.
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 11:07 AM
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basingstoke2 the only time I lost anything was when I had a moneybelt. It was uncomfortable so I slipped it off while sat on some steps and forgot it. By the time I got it back, although my passport was still there, the money was gone.

I stick to my usual way of operating because I think that I'll make less mistakes with the familiar and be less likely to do something stupid or caught off guard. Has served me well in many European cities for nearly 30 years. Was brought up by my Mum how to carry a bag in London, so it's my normal way of operating.
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 11:21 AM
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"basingstoke2 the only time I lost anything was when I had a moneybelt. It was uncomfortable so I slipped it off while sat on some steps and forgot it. By the time I got it back, although my passport was still there, the money was gone."

Well, we can blame that entirely on 'operator error'

(BTW -- if a money belt is used properly it would have been very difficult for you to 'slip it off' like that -- it is supposed to be a "body safe" and not see the light of day, or night for that matter.)
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 11:31 AM
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Well, we can blame that entirely on 'operator error'

My point exactly....using something I don't usually use. But I would have been fine with a bag.

I don't really get the 'it shouldn't be easy to slip off'....it was hot, and under my summer top round my waist...not quite sure where else I was supposed to wear it and how to you get things out if you're not allowed to see it? Anyway, very uncomfy.....Maybe I'm too stupid to use one.....
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 11:58 AM
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" how to you get things out if you're not allowed to see it"


You don't get things out of it when you are wearing it. Place things in the money belt that you don't expect to need that day. The back up credit card, backup ATM card (or if you have sufficient cash, both ATM cards). If you have a LOT of cash --put the 'extra' money in the money belt. Passport unless you are going through immigration that day. You get the idea.

In you regular wallet/handbag is where you'd have maybe one cc and one ATM card and your 'walking around' money. You do not use a money belt like a purse you are into all day long . . .
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 12:13 PM
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meant to add -- it sounds like your moneybelt was hot and uncomfortable because you put ALL your money/cards/passport/documents in it.

I usually don't even feel my money belt is on.
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 01:24 PM
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I bought an anti-theft backpack -- one that cannot be slashed and that also has "hidden" hooks to secure the zippers. Well, I was standing on a city bus in Sicily and failed to move my backpack to wear in the front (which is what I usually do on a crowded bus). But I wasn't overly concerned because I had secured the zippers with those anti-theft hooks.

I got this sense that something wasn't right, and when I pulled my backpack around to the front, I saw that every zipper was wide open! Apparently, the would-be thief was not deterred by those anti-theft hooks one bit. Luckily, I had no cash which must have been what they were looking for because nothing was taken, not even my camera.

So anti-theft devices are okay but no substitute for good sense and never a reason to be careless or overconfident. I actually like my anti-theft backpack, but I will never make a mistake like that again!
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 01:38 PM
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meant to add -- it sounds like your moneybelt was hot and uncomfortable because you put ALL your money/cards/passport/documents in it.

Nope just my passport and some Turkish notes. A belt against my skin is not comfortable.
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 01:45 PM
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Thank you everyone. I think I will just use my cross body travel purse and get a money belt. Separating credit cards is a great idea.
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 01:46 PM
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I tried the money belt thing - with summer clothing you can see the outline through my clothes. Same with a neck pouch. Plus it is just not comfortable for me - and that is when I tried it empty.
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Old Apr 25th, 2011, 04:59 PM
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Well I've been to europe more than 70 - actually quite a bit more than 70 times in the past 30 plus years - with either my regular purse (business) or my vacation purse (a littel barrel sportsac) and have never had any sort of problem. Ever.

Granted I'm a native New Yorker and I've noticed that some things that are obvious to me (NEVER take your hand off your purse, hold it in your lap while eating, always know who is around you - and seems to be watching) are not things that other people always do.

I recall one post about a woman who was distraught that her purse was stolen off a hotel restaurant table - when everyone from the table had gone to the rest room. The poster seemed to think the hotel was "in on it" as if they were responsible for everyone who works in the door.

IMHO if you are aware you should be fine.
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