Purse snatchers have police on guard for safety tips while shopping

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Franklin Police Department is reporting an “alarming” number of cases where purses are being snatched.

Police across Middle Tennessee are warning shoppers to secure their bags and purses while out, especially during the holiday season

Ron Paisley — a security guard with decades of experience — said he thinks shoppers make the mistake of having a particular stereotype in their head about a criminal when it could be someone dressed in the best outfit.

“There could be a couple of guys in tennis shoes or someone well dressed. One person will act as a distraction and come up asking for a good place to eat dinner, while the other people are picking pockets or taking purses off shopping carts,” Paisley said.

Paisley suggests shoppers be aware of their surroundings the same way they drive.

“Even the smallest lady who is aware, she’s got her head on a swivel. She’s turning, looking (and) paying attention. I would rather choose a bigger person than a small person who is aware. I’m thinking, as the criminal , she has too much energy. She’s paying too much attention. She’s using her voice in a loud way,” Paisley said.

To protect your purse if you have a shopping cart, the Franklin Police Department suggests clipping it into the straps. If there are no straps, you can carry a carabiner to clip it to the shopping cart.

“Tools at your disposal are great. Simple tools that you can use to defend yourself,” Paisley said.

Paisley also suggests carrying a whistle to bring attention to the crime, carry a miniature flashlight if you’re parked in a dark place and get your hand and arm exercises in. He said it would help you hold on tighter to your purse.

Also, if you’re not using a shopping cart, strap your purse across your shoulder. You should keep it zipped and have it in front of you. Don’t put your purse or bag behind your back.

More good advice would be to shop in groups and during the daylight hours. Police add try not to carry a lot of cash on you. Stolen credit cards can be canceled, but cash is likely gone for good.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask a security guard to walk you to your car if you’re feeling uncomfortable.

Finally, don’t overload your arms with packages and bags while shopping. Just remember to parksmart.

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