When to Fight a Purse Snatcher

Every police office will tell you if someone tries to steal your purse to let it go. Despite that, there are frequent videos on social media showing women fighting purse snatching attempts and prevailing. The videos where the women don’t prevail don’t seem to ever go viral.

When to Fight a Purse Snatcher ACT Self-Defense

On August 30, 2018, a woman was able to fight off an armed purse thief who pistol-whipped her during a robbery attempt on a Miami street corner. The woman was waiting for a bus at 5:00 a.m. on her way to work a shift at a nearby restaurant when a man put a gun to hear head. The incident was captured on a nearby surveillance camera.

Notice in the video the man was pacing back and forth. Note that the victim did not make eye contact or assume a physical stance that communicated she was not going to be an easy target. When he attacked, she fought to keep her purse, getting hit on the head with the gun in the process. The perpetrator gave up and ran away.

On August 17, 2018, a woman who had withdrawn $75,000 from a bank entered a gas station. Thieves, who may have followed her from the bank, attempted to steal her purse. A bystander tried to help her despite the beatings from the perpetrators. She ended up be run over by the car driven by one of the perpetrators. She was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

There is no single right way to respond to a purse snatching attempt because each situation is different. Your response will depend on the circumstances: the location of the attack, your personal resources, the characteristics of your assailant(s), and whether a weapon is present. Should you end up in a purse snatching situation, you must rely on your own judgment to make the best choice.

One of the best ways to ensure you will use good judgement in an assault or robbery situation is priming your brain. Priming your brain means thinking through “What would I do?” for given situations. Priming your brain helps ensure an assailant does not catch you like a deer in headlights.

To circumvent the likelihood of a purse snatching situation, follow these general safety guidelines:

  • Don’t leave your purse in a shopping cart, on top of your car, or any place else where it can easily be snatched.
  • Always keep your purse under your arm and tight to your body.
  • When walking on streets or in parking lots, keep your purse on the side AWAY from the vehicles to help prevent drive by snatchings.
  • Keep your house keys in your pocket so if your purse does get snatched, the thief won’t have your house keys.
  • Remember, nothing in your purse is worth your life.
  • Consciously maintain condition Yellow in Cooper’s Awareness Color Code when you are out and about. Be prepared for condition Orange and condition Red. If you are not familiar with Cooper’s Awareness Color Code, Google it or attend a Warrior Women’s Self-Defense Class.
  • If someone is approaching you in a hostile manner, do not hesitate to get into a fighting stance and use a strong voice command like “Stop” or “Stay back”. Remember, criminals are typically looking for easy targets, and making it clear you will fight back can make them leave you alone.
  • If you decide to fight for your purse and are taken to the ground, LET GO! The likelihood you will keep your purse is non-existent, and you are likely to be seriously injured or killed if you continue to fight.

About ACT Self-Defense

We believe the world would be a less violent place if everyone had the benefit of a quality education in risk awareness, verbal self-defense, and basic physical self-defense. That’s why we’re here. Our self-defense classes provide a holistic education in the dynamics of violence, how to reduce the likelihood you will be a victim, and how to effectively physically defend yourself if required.