I was robbed but I don’t really care

On Friday evening, my purse was stolen from my zippered bag tucked under my arm. Whoever got at it was probably a very experienced pickpocket, or perhaps it was a gang of them. Either way, they managed to do it without me noticing, which is no mean feat. But in the great scheme of things, I’m actually not all that bothered.

bag theft

Why? Because it could have been a lot worse, and because I have personal safety and money habits that minimised the fallout. The net effect has been minor inconvenience, and not much more.

For example:

  • I’ve memorised my bank’s emergency out of hours phone number – my two cards were cancelled as soon as I noticed them missing. If you don’t have that kind of brain, just add it to your mobile phonebook or leave it with a trusted relative or friend whose number you can always remember.
  • I didn’t take all my cards out with me. Seriously, the minimal approach is best so only take what you need on any given day or evening, and keep at least one back home in a safe place for emergencies.
  • My two cards were replaced after one working day and delivered by courier. Thanks, bank!
  • I never write my PIN numbers down, not even in ‘code’. If you do this, the bank or credit card company are not obliged to compensate you.
  • My keys were stolen, but I never carry anything with my address on it in the same bag – so no worrying about burglars rocking up to my home.
  • I don’t carry loads of cash. They got away with a £10 note and not much else, because I clean my purse out regularly and put coins into coin jars.
  • They got away with my library card, so I called the library first thing to make sure it was cancelled and nothing was stolen from them either.
  • My purse was completely knackered, and ironically I’d been in the shops that afternoon looking for a new one anyway. No great loss.

The only thing I might change in the future is perhaps attaching my new purse to my bag with a chain. Apart from that, it’s all ok and life is already back to normal.

Do you have any tips of your own for minimising the fallout of a theft?

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  1. You have my sympathies. I changed the way I carry my stuff after my gorgeous purse was pick pocketed on a No 23 bus on Oxford Street a few years ago. It was a posh one, in which I kept cash, bank cards, loyalty cards, stamps and, most precious of all, a prayer card (irreplaceable) that my late aunt had given me. Keys were always separate (in the small zippered pocket at the back of my bag). NOW I have a small, cheap, money purse with only cash and loyalty and library cards and my bank cards are in the zippered pocket with my keys. Despite CCTV on the bus, the police did nothing. I cancelled the cards and spoke to the police while still on the bus. The other passengers told me a gang had been working Oxford Street all day.

  2. Hi Anna, thank you – am okay here, promise! Really sorry to hear that you lost personal items that couldn’t be replaced, and that the police didn’t help. Your new safety system sounds pretty smart though so thank you for sharing. Small and cheap is clearly the way to go with purses in the big city, unless you have a chauffeur to drive you everywhere door to door.

    There are lots of gangs operating around the city, and I’d rather it happened like that than getting mugged or threatened. Okay, not much consolation, but it could have been so much worse.

  3. Sorry to hear that happened to you!

    I was pick-pocketed back in 2008 during a study abroad, but had a laugh because the bank card stolen had actually been blocked earlier that day by the bank (they forgot I was in a foreign country, and I hadn’t called to unblock the card yet), and there was no cash in my purse*; I keep cash in a separate zip pocket inside my handbag.

    Since then I’ve started putting my entire paycheque into an ‘online saver’ account. Then I transfer over the money I need each week to my debit account; that way if the account is compromised there’s only so much damage that can be done.

    *They also got a half used packet of gum and the ‘cool’ clip on sunglasses lenses for my prescription glasses.

  4. Hiya Katie, don’t worry – all fine here really. I smile when people steal things that turn out to be worthless, it totally serves them right. Shame about the gum though.

    Your debit account idea is a good one. Really helps with the budgeting too, if you know that you absolutely cannot go overdrawn.

  5. Sorry to hear that you had all that hassle to sort out, but well done for having all those amazing habits! I carry everything in my purse and have my cheque book with me at all times even though I never use it so must start rethinking how I go out. Especially when I visit places like london and go into town! Thanks for the reminder about keeping things safe as there are untrustworthy people about.

  6. Hi Gemma – there wasn’t that much hassle really, thank goodness! I would definitely recommend not carrying your cheque book with you if you hardly ever need it, especially if it’s in the same bag as the cheque guarantee card. It’s one less thing to carry, and one less thing to worry about – win-win 🙂

    P x

  7. I carry quite a lot of plastic – two bank cards (one a business debit card), loyalty cards, my two NHS cards (incl. free prescription one), assorted ID (incl. mypress card – never go *anywhere* without that!, and my Co-op card. I have photographed all these so I don’t forget what I’ve lost if I get robbed. It’s easy to overlook something when replacing stuff and not realising until you actually need it.

    My coinage is carried in a separate purse, as I use a regular wallet for notes and cards, – it has a secret zip compartment where I keep an “emergency tenner” for taxis or whatever. I use this purse if I’m nipping to the corner shop, as there’s a lot of street crime in my neighbourhood, so if I do get mugged they’ll only get that and not the plastic.

  8. Hi Louise, like the idea of taking a photograph to help remember things! I’m the same when going to the corner shop – just some change and my house keys, nothing else needed…

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