Precautions the public can take

The next day, Anna learned from her bank that in the 20 minutes between the mugging and her reaching the police station, the bag-snatchers had already drawn out money seven times using her ATM card. Her diary, which was also stolen, had her PIN number written in it, though with an additional digit, so that it resembled a post code. «You should be aware,» Yiannakopoulos said, «that these people think like us. They know that we hide the codes within telephone numbers or in post codes.» Another common mistake is to have the PIN number written as a date of birth. «If people don’t take precautions, the police can’t do much. Only yesterday, after a bag snatch, the perpetrators managed to draw 1,800 euros, because the girl had the PIN number scratched on her card!» When moving around, he said, people should walk against the traffic, holding their bag on the pavement side. But if somebody does encounter someone trying to snatch their bag, the police advise them not to resist in order to avoid likely injury. Drivers need to take precautions before setting out. Any bag should be stowed under the seat or in a locked trunk. «Quite a few times, the trunk has been opened and the bag snatched out of it while the car is in motion,» Yiannakopoulos said.

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