Shoppers given tips on bag security

A recent spike in handbag and purse thefts in the area prompted police to work with retailers in educating people on how to ensure their safety and the safety of their belongings.

Sergeant Steve Banks said people needed to be vigilant because the five seconds that people turned their backs to look at the shelves was sometimes all the time crooks needed to snatch a bag or purse from a trolley.

‘Don’t leave every single item of value in your bag, leave your phone on you so you can call for help,’ he said.

Sergeant Banks said it was important for people who realised their handbag had been stolen to call 131 444, but if the bag was snatched from their person it was a violent crime and they should call 000.

‘All crimes are taken seriously, but especially those that involve violence.’

Police spoke with shoppers and distributed handbag shaped information flyers, as well as free purse theft alert buzzers, provided by the City of Belmont.

‘At the end of the day nothing is better than police engagement with the community,’ Sergeant Banks said.

Police will also hold crime prevention campaigns at the Morley, Midland, Warwick and Whitford City shopping centres.