Here’s something we can both agree on:
No one ever likes to spend their hard-earned money on an item that would not serve its purpose.
Do anti-theft backpacks really serve their purpose?
Well…the answer to this might be a little complicated.
Complicated in the sense that no matter how secure your backpack is it cannot completely eradicate the pickpocketing of the items in your bag.
But should this stop you from getting for yourself an anti-theft backpack?
In short, if you want your mind to be at ease during your travels or daily commuting then do yourself a favor and get yourself an anti-theft backpack.
It turns-out these type of backpacks are not so worthless after all and can actually serve a really good purpose in keeping the items in your bag safe.
Still not convinced?
Then continue reading this post so I can show you why it is not sure a bad idea.
You might be wondering:
Why exactly did I decide to write on this post?
Several factors prompted me to write on this.
- I came across a post showing some troubling stats on pickpocketing
- I came across a question on Reddit whereby someone was trying to find out if these type of bags are worth the money.
- I created several posts on some of the best anti-theft backpacks and I was concerned if my readers would benefit from getting these type of bags
The Troubling Stats on Pickpocketing
According to safesinternational.com, 400,000 pickpocketing incidents occur daily worldwide with about 600,000 occurring in the UK alone.
As of 2010 to 2012, there was a 20% increase in pickpocketing in London alone.
NYPD reports 3,000 pickpocket incidents a month in New York City and most of these pickpocketing incidents are not even reported which means if they are then the number would rise above 3000.
Every single day across the world, about 400,000 pickpocketing incidents occur.
Now, what are the chances of you not being within those stats?
Pretty slim right?
But are you willing to take that chance?
That is left for you to answer.
You can also visit clevertravelcompanion to view the stats.
Are Anti-Theft Backpacks Really Worth Your Money?
This was a question I found on Reddit asked by a lady concerned if these type of bags are going to be worth spending her money on.
There were mixed replies with most people indicating that you do not need an anti-theft backpack but few people that they or someone they know have been a victim of pickpocketing suggested that it would be a good idea to get a theft-proof pack depending on the area you frequent.
Of course, those that have not witnessed or been a victim of pickpocketing had some really good advice like…
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Always keep your bag zipped up
- Don’t keep your valuables in the outer pocket of the bag
- Keep your bag close to your body at all times
- and so on…
I would be lying to you if I say these bits of advice are not spot on.
They are and anyone making use of a backpack should keep these bits of advice in mind.
But here is the thing:
Do you always want to be looking over your shoulders or be extremely cautious of anyone around you while you are with your backpack?
Below are the words of some people that have witnessed pickpocketing that I picked directly from the Reddit thread
“Contrary to what everyone is saying I’d say it could be worth it as a day tripper, one of my friend’s bags was slashed while I was right beside him and we didn’t notice for about half an hour and he lost his passport.”
Here is another one
“I traveled with an older gentleman in Africa and he got pickpocketed 2 times and had a 3rd attempt. The two successful times they unzipped his fanny pack and got a camera and a phone. The 3rd time he used a crossbody bag with a flap and was wearing it a little too far of his back hip. Someone had raised the flap and was sticking his hand in when he was caught.”
Do you think these people were always going to be cautious of their surroundings 24/7?
There are moments whereby your mind can drift away and at that instant, you might just come in contact with these perpetrators.
I was going through an article of some ways to avoid pickpocketing and I came across an interesting fact about pickpockets.
A lot of pickpockets operate in the form of a group.
Some members of the group create a distraction while others pickpocket those bystanders focusing their attention on the distraction.
This happens a lot and I have personally seen it happen.
Of course, some people would argue that they don’t pay attention to such distractions but how on earth would you know if these distractions were actually staged.
Some of us use public transportation, visit crowded places. There are some specific countries or places known for their high rate of pickpocketing.
Is there a way that can give you peace of mind that the items in your bag are safe while you are in such a place?
Yes, there is.
How Do Anti-Theft Backpacks Work
Do you know that just by merely using a backpack with hidden zippers can drastically reduce the chances of you being pickpocketed?
The idea behind an anti-theft backpack is simple.
“Make it impossible or nearly impossible for anyone to illegally gain access into your backpack”.
If a bag can do this then it has served its purpose as an anti-theft pack.
These type of bags are designed in a way that would make it very difficult for anyone to gain access into your bag without your permission while you are wearing it.
There is no easy access into the main compartment of the bag or even its pockets so that a casual offender won’t be able to gain access into your bag.
The more experienced pickpockets, however, have ways that they try to use to circumvent going through the zipper to access the main compartment of the bag.
One of these ways is by making use of a box cutter.
How exactly does this work?
They come close to you and use the box cutter to quickly slash the outer bottom of thin bags and catch whatever drops out.
Pretty smart right?
Well, whether you agree or not that is pretty smart and I bet there are other methods these professionals make use of that we don’t even know about.
But how exactly do anti-theft backpacks prevent this theft that occurs through the slashing of the bottom under of your bag?
It is pretty simple.
A really good anti-theft bag would be made of military-grade, extremely slash-resistant material that would make it impossible to nearly impossible for anyone to easily split open your bag by the use of a knife.
Not all anti-theft backpacks are made with this type of material and the ones that are, are pretty expensive but are worth having.
Features Present on Most Theftproof Bags
For a bag to be theft-proof, you should find some of these features present on the bag. Some bags are not specifically designed to be theft-proof but the ones that are, make sure most of these features are present or at the very least the first feature listed below should be present.
Hidden Pockets and Compartments
No other feature on an anti-theft bag deters a likely offender like this one.
Think about it for a second and put yourself in the shoes of a pickpocketer.
If you come across a backpack without any visible access to the main compartment of the bag or its pockets would you still be 100% willing to attempt pickpocketing the bag even with the bag being on the back of its owner?
I know some of us love a good challenge and would take this as a challenge but I can assure you that most people would feel discouraged when they don’t find easy access into the main compartment of a bag.
Some backpacks take for example the bobby anti-theft backpack or oscuart theft proof backpack comes with the main compartment completely hidden from the eyes of outsiders.
This is a method employed by some anti-theft backpack brands as they consider it one of the best ways to protect the items within a bag from being stolen by outsiders.
Until we become a victim of wireless identity theft or Rfid identity theft most of us can never understand just how important a Rfid blocking pocket in a backpack can be.
Apparently, to access your personal information one need not slash your bag or even open your bag. All they need is a device that can access your information wirelessly while it is still in your bag.
Is this type of theft common I am pretty sure you might be wondering.
Truth be told,
it is not common but it does happen.
Do you want to roll the dice and say it would never happen to you?
Well, the choice is yours.
These type of pockets are present in some bags and they help protect your personal information in your credit card, passport, etc.
As long as they are placed inside the pocket your information should be safe.
But here is the kicker:
The security level of these pockets varies in different products which means you cannot easily tell if your information would be completely protected inside the pocket of the bag you buy.
Do you need a Rfid blocking pocket in your bag?
…but as a prudent precaution they might just come in handy.
Anti-slash or Anti-cut fabric
Have you ever left your backpack probably unprotected only to come back and realize that it has been cut or torn open? There are bags made in a way that makes it extremely difficult for anyone to easily cut through the fabric of the bag.
Take for example loctote flak sack II. The fabric of the bag was made with very high-grade slash-proof material that makes it extremely difficult when trying to cut-through.
Whether you want to accept it or not this can come in handy and would completely prevent anyone from cutting through the fabric of your bag.
Are you in doubt?
Then check out the video below.
It would take a lot of work before anyone can easily cut through the fabric of this bag I can assure you that.
See Also: A Review on Loctote Flak Sack II
Another method used is by designing the fabric of the bag by embedding into it stainless steel wire mesh in the most commonly vulnerable areas of the bag, helping to protect your items from a quick slash-and-run theft.
A pretty helpful feature in some anti-theft backpacks.
Cutproof Shoulder Straps
Slash and run theft are said to be common in tourist destinations and are done by those looking to make some quick buck.
This does not mean that they are not present in other locations but they tend to be common in tourist locations.
A backpack user can avoid being a victim of this type of theft by making use of a bag in which the shoulder straps are extremely difficult to cut.
Those vulnerable to this type of theft are those that usually make use of just one strap of their bag.
Slash and run can be difficult to succeed at if a backpack user is making use of both straps of their bags.
Depending on how you carry your bag you might not necessarily require a bag with a cutproof shoulder strap but just like every other feature of an anti-theft bag, it can come in handy when you least expect it.
These are some of the features present on an anti-theft backpack…
…but are anti-theft backpacks all that great?
They are not which means that they do have some downsides that might be advantageous to a pickpocketer.
Care to know what they are?
Then continue reading.
Downsides To Having an Anti-theft Backpack
The Really Good Anti-Theft Backpacks are Expensive
If you intend to get the real deal then you need to be willing to pay well for it. The more features an anti-theft backpack has the more expensive it becomes.
An anti-theft bag with just a hidden zipper at the back of the bag cannot be the same price as a bag with the main compartment hidden which also has a cutproof shoulder strap and slash-proof fabric. That is just the way it is.
It Indicates You Have Valuables Inside Your Bag
A huge disadvantage of overprotecting anything means that you are telling others that what you are protecting is extremely valuable. This is also true when it comes to anti-theft backpacks.
As much as an anti-theft backpack would protect your items they can be an indicator that you are probably trying to protect a valuable item.
This can make you a target because like I said some people do like a challenge.
Unfortunately, this can be considered as a downside of using an anti-theft bag.
The good thing about an anti-theft bag is that for pickpocketing to be successful the bag would have to be snatched from you which would be extremely difficult as long as the bag is on your back.
They Can Give You a False Sense of Security
An anti-theft backpack though a good thing can make you very less cautious about your surroundings which can leave you vulnerable if your bag does not have great anti-theft features.
Just because the main compartment of a bag is hidden does not mean the compartment cannot be accessed through other means such as from beneath the bag.
Just because you buy an anti-theft bag does not mean that your items are 100% protected.
Yes, the bag can work its magic but we still need to be cautious of our surroundings so we don’t fall victim to any kind of theft.
If you are to ask me if anti-theft backpacks are worth every penny, I would say yes but they might not be necessary if you know you can make sure your bag is always well protected.
The game is being street smart. You have to be cautious of those around you and your surroundings.
Be careful of the items you take to some particular places.
Know where valuable items can be safely placed in your bag. It can never be a wise decision to place your phone in an exterior water bottle pocket of a backpack.
That is just like handing the offenders your phone without them even making the effort.
Anti-theft backpacks are awesome and can give you a better sense of security but if you know you don’t need them you can always stick with a regular backpack and make sure it is well protected when you make use of it.
I would like to read your opinion on this topic.
Do you think anti-theft backpacks are worth it and would you be willing to spend your money on a really good anti-theft backpack?
Please leave your comment below because I would like to know what you think about this.