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Robespierre Jan 5th, 2008 07:04 AM

Death by purse - redux.
I'm still trying to make up my mind whether Mme. Robespierre should carry a purse cross-chest with a steel strap. It has been posited that carrying a purse in that fashion involves a risk of injury or death that does not exist with other designs. I am trying to assess such risk numerically rather than anecdotally.

So far, the only "definitive" evidence is this article from the U.S State department, quoted by travelnut:
"Motorcyclists are known to snatch bags, cameras and other valuables from pedestrians or passengers riding in "cyclos" (pedicabs) or riding on the back of rented motorcycles. Serious injuries have resulted when thieves snatched purses or bags, which were strapped across their victims' bodies, leading to the victim being dragged along the ground by the thief's motorcycle. In November 2003, an American citizen victim of a drive-by purse snatching was dragged to the ground and seriously injured in this manner."

Two comments: this happened over four years ago - in <u>Vietnam</u>. Are there any newer incidents to report? Closer to Europe?

I Googled <b>motorcycle snatch</b> on the State Department site, and it returned 10 hits - the only one in Europe being &quot;France and Monaco&quot; - other combinations of <b>motorcycle scooter purse snatch crime</b> offer little corroborative evidence. The terms <b>motorcycle dragged</b> yield only Vietnam and Malaysia.

So the data I have so far suggests that being dragged by a motorcycle is a very low-risk consequence of carrying a more secure purse. An urban myth that has been blown out of proportion by the timid. Or the terminally innumerate.

We've got the anecdotes, now let's see the charts.

Travelnut Jan 5th, 2008 07:34 AM

How about she wear whatever purse she likes, and you walk beside her on the street-side, between her and the motorcyclists?

I mentally connect these incidences to Italy (espec. Naples) and Barcelona from reading past anecdotes here and there. Maybe southern France, too, based on the reports of cyclists reaching into cars and riding off with a purse.

thursdaysd Jan 5th, 2008 07:39 AM

How about she carries her valuables in a money belt, in which case it doesn't matter so much whether her purse is stolen, and she can wear it over her shoulder instead of across her chest. And how come you don't regard my link to a different incident in Vietnam as &quot;definitive&quot;? I wouldn't want to wear a steel strap in any case - sounds too heavy and uncomfortable.

Robespierre Jan 5th, 2008 08:02 AM

Save your other modes for another discussion. This one is about the statistical risk of being dragged while carrying a steel-wire purse bandolier-style. They weigh the same as leather straps.

One incident four years ago in Vietnam does not a European hazard make. Let's see some numbers.

BTilke Jan 5th, 2008 08:28 AM

I was wearing a bandolier style purse when I was attacked by 3 men in the Parc Egmont by the Hilton Hotel in Brussels, Belgiun on October 31, 2000. They did not have motorcycles (at least not in the park). To get the bag, they knocked me down, yanking it from my shoulders. The fall injured my shoulder and my knee and broke my glasses.
There is a full report filed with the Brussels police on that date. I'm sure you can find a way to look it up.

Nora_S Jan 5th, 2008 08:29 AM

I've never understood this one. I used to ride a small motorcycle, and don't see how someone could control the cycle after encountering sudden resistance from a 120-pound weight, applied from the rear/side. Even if it's someone riding on the back who does the grab, the sudden impact is bound to have an effect. Why doesn't he get yanked off the cycle?

Robespierre Jan 5th, 2008 08:31 AM

Exactly my point, Nora_S - and one that I'v been trying to make here for years.

People, F=MA. Always has.

BT - Aren't many people injured by simply not letting go of their hand-held purses? How does being assaulted in a park bear on the question of the statistical risk of styles of wearing a purse?

BTilke Jan 5th, 2008 08:34 AM

Because they wouldn't have had to knock me down and hold me down to grab a purse that was on my arm or just hanging off one shoulder.

That's your answer, if your question was at all sincere.

Apres_Londee Jan 5th, 2008 09:20 AM

BTilke, that must have been terrifying. I hope you recovered okay after that incident. I agree that it's best to wear a purse in a way where it's easy to let it go. We talk so much about protecting our valuables, when the most important thing to protect is our own self. Money and things can always be replaced. They aren't worth protecting at the risk of injury or worse.

sshephard Jan 5th, 2008 10:06 AM

Feeling a little belligerent today, Robes?

Robespierre Jan 5th, 2008 10:33 AM

No more than usual. I guess you don't know my <i>persona</i> very well.

toedtoes Jan 5th, 2008 11:52 AM

I don't know about the statistics. I do believe that it has been exaggerated. But, I believe that having your purse stolen while on vacation has been exaggerated also. People tend to get a bit paranoid.

However, I attended a self-protection class put on by the state police and they said NOT to wear your purse around your torso because it's more dangerous for your personal safety. If you can't let go of the purse quickly, you can get pulled down, dragged, beat up, or worse.

To me, it's like walking a dog. You never put your hand completely through the leash because if the dog takes off running, you can't let go. That increases your chances of getting hurt. Better to always have that ability to let go quickly.

Ackislander Jan 5th, 2008 01:50 PM

Nora_S et al: it is usually TWO people on a moto, one drives, one grabs.

grapes Jan 5th, 2008 03:27 PM

I once attended a personal safety lecture, and the police officer told us not to wear a purse across the body. If it is grabbed by someone, you will most likely be injured. No money is worth the added risk of personal harm. In my opinion, it is not paranoia. It is proactive.

Robespierre Jan 5th, 2008 03:49 PM

Enough of bandying about of opinions. Opinions are worthless where science is concerned. I don't care about your opinion, I want facts.

Just cite the odds:

Chances of losing a purse and its contents if carried bandolier-style.
Chances of losing a purse and its contents if carried over the shoulder or in the hand.

Chances of severe injury when carrying a purse bandolier-style.
Chances of severe injury when carrying a purse over the shoulder or in the hand.

I'll take it from there.

avalon Jan 5th, 2008 04:00 PM

There were many more than one incident reported in Asia. And if it happens or happened in Asia ,why could it not happen in Europe? The laws of physics don't change by continent.

Of course , we all realize that the Robe will never give up or give in, he's always right, at least in his mind.

toedtoes Jan 5th, 2008 05:05 PM

Robes - if you want actual stats and not people's opinions, then I suggest you go talk to a law enforcement agency rather than posting your question on Fodors.

The truth is, that there are no stats readily available on this subject. It has not been studied.

So, rather than waste everyone's time here being snarky, why not let up and allow people to have their own opinions. Does it really hurt you in any way because some unknown woman wears her purse one way or the other?

The &quot;assessment of risk&quot; for this situation is not available numerically, so get over it all ready.

MademoiselleFifi Jan 5th, 2008 05:42 PM

If you were a purse snatcher on a motorcycle, why would you aim for a bag that's worn across the body when there are so many that are not?

Now I'm getting paranoid. When I carry a bag on one shoulder, I (like many others) have a habit of draping one hand around the strap. In this position, if someone were to grab the bag while zooming by on a motorcycle, the risk of having my thumb ripped out of its joint may be significantly greater than that of getting injured in a fall.

Robespierre Jan 5th, 2008 05:51 PM

<i>The &quot;assessment of risk&quot; for this situation is not available numerically, so get over it all ready.</i>

Thank you for your opinion (which I shall ignore). Now, back to your sitcom.

Robespierre Jan 5th, 2008 05:52 PM

<i>If you were a purse snatcher on a motorcycle, why would you aim for a bag that's worn across the body when there are so many that are not?</i>

Well - that could be because the perceived risk is minimal in either case. Or - because the perceived payoff could justify an increased risk.

But that's just my opinion - I could be wr... wr...

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