SJPD Star

Prevent Chain Snatch Robberies

The Bay-Area has seen a recent dramatic increase in Chain-Snatch robberies.  Similar to a Purse-Snatch, a robber approaches a woman walking along a sidewalk, a park, or interior of an apartment complex.  Women of South-Asian descent are frequently targeted. The robber will yank the gold chain off the woman’s neck and flee to a waiting vehicle.  The robber may attack the woman from behind, the front, or distract her by asking a question just before the robbery.  The suspect may or may not be armed and threaten the victim during the attack. These robberies occur at all times of the day.

Local police agencies have made arrests of young males in these robberies. After interviewing the suspects involved, this is what we have learned. 

In general, they hear about the robberies from other perpetrators at parties and through social media.  These people brag about how South-Asian women always wear gold and make easy targets. Calling the robberies various slang terms, they discuss locations within San Jose that have high South-Asian populations to include shopping areas and apartment complexes.  They also discuss how hard it is for law enforcement to track down the rightful owner of the gold and how easy it is to sell the stolen goods.

You have the ability to dissuade and prevent these robberies.  Remember, your necklace will pass through several hands within a few short hours of the robbery. It will be melted and become unrecoverable. Please do not walk in public wearing gold.  If you must wear gold due to cultural or religious reasons, please keep the gold covered or wear it in an unconventional manner.  Below are tips to help to keep you from being that “easy target.”

  • Avoid displaying and carrying large sums of money or valuable jewelry in public.
  • Leave your purse at home if possible. If you must carry one, carry the smallest one you have.
  • Be alert and aware. Pay full attention to who is around you when you are in public.
  • Know your destination and route.
  • Avoid text messaging and talking on the phone.
  • Use the buddy system.  If you must walk alone, choose open, well-lit, and well-traveled areas.
  • At night, avoid taking shortcuts through deserted areas such as parks, playgrounds and vacant lots.
  • If you sense that you are being followed, change directions or cross the street. If the person persists, run to the nearest place where you'll find people.
  • DO NOT allow a stranger to follow you to your doorstep. Go to a public place where you can call the police whenever you feel threatened.
  • If you are confronted, COOPERATE! Give the criminal what he/she asks for.  Your life is more valuable than replaceable possessions. Concentrate on remembering a description and call police immediately. Time is of the essence.

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