How it works:
- Two versions: strike and run; distract and grab. Possible scenarios:
- Street, mall, shop, park, transportation hub: distracting and snatching from you, then escaping via a getaway car or down a street corner.
- Bar, restaurant: stealing unattended bags/valuables on the chair or table.
- Car/taxi: smashing your window and snatching your valuables at traffic lights or in crowded traffic; roaming carparks at night to steal car parts.
- Beach: stealing unattended bags/valuables from tourists who are relaxed or in the water.
- Train: stealing unattended bags/luggage in luggage compartments (e.g. routes between Johannesburg and Pretoria; commuter trains in Cape Town).
- ATM, bank: one poses as a fellow customer to mark anyone who withdraws a large sum of money.
- Airport: where distracted/tired tourists carry all their valuables out.
Places to beware:
- Anywhere (hotspots – e.g. Johannesburg: Newtown; Pretoria: Church Square; Durban: Durban North Japanese Gardens, isolated areas at night, townships)
- Check out other hotspots of violent crime
What to do:
- Valuables: avoid laying out on tables or carrying in your hands while walking.
- Bags: consider using lockable bags that can be locked to another object and cross body anti-theft bags (difficult to snatch).
- Travel insurance: get a good one that covers theft (e.g. World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and National Geographic – review).