Do Anti-Theft Bags Work? Prevention Is Better Than Nothing

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What’s inside your bag as you head to work, college, or a trip abroad? 

Your smartphone, cash, and credit cards. A laptop, maybe? Sometimes even a camera! And if you’re a traveler, you may have some important documents in there.

Having all these valuable belongings on you can tamper with your peace of mind.

Should you buy an anti-theft bag? Do anti-theft bags work?

Read on to find out!

What’s an Anti-Theft Bag?

An anti-theft bag has certain characteristics that make it more secure. These built-in elements are meant to make it more difficult for thieves to steal your bag itself or its contents. 

The special features can be embedded in a travel bag, a laptop bag, a regular backpack, or even a wallet. Anti-theft bags range from tiny purses to huge wheeled suitcases.

When they first came out, anti-theft bags were pretty much universal in style and weren’t exactly trendy. Today, they’ve developed some style and are more diverse in color, shape, and size. 

Manufacturers have also started to take customers’ gender into account, creating some bags specifically for men and others for women.

You can even buy an anti-theft bag for your kids, too

Do You Need One?

You may need an anti-theft bag for everyday use if you:

  • Live in a big crowded city 
  • Use packed public transportation
  • Often move around with your laptop or camera 
  • Have credit cards or personal ID with RFID chips and are worried about your information being scanned by electronic pickpockets

If you’re a traveler, an anti-theft bag could come in handy for you too. Many beautiful destinations suffer from high rates of pickpocketing

As a tourist, you’re a very tempting target for pickpockets. You’re overwhelmed and distracted by being in a new place, and you have more goodies on you than a regular citizen does.

Attraction sites and shopping areas are also always packed with people, so they’re the perfect setting.

How Does PickPocketing Work?

Pickpocketing can take many forms. For instance, it can be really easy for thieves to unzip your bag and go unnoticed. 

In a different scenario, you could be enjoying a meal and forget about your bag for a moment, only to never find it again.

Other thieves will slit your bag open and take whatever they please. Sometimes, they’ll cut the strap of your bag, take it altogether, and run away. 

Finally, nowadays, many credit cards have embedded chips that thieves can scan using an RFID reader and obtain sensitive electronic data. 

Here is a video about several ways how pickpockets can steal valuable things from you.

How Do Anti-Theft Bags Work?

The Fabric


Not all anti-theft bags are slash-proof. Some are made of polyester, although that sort of defies the purpose if you ask me. 

Better models are lined with mesh metal panels, which make it harder for thieves to slit the bag open.

The best anti-theft bags, however, are the ones made of UHMWPE (ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene). This material is extremely sturdy and almost entirely cut-proof.

Slash-Proof Straps

To further power the anti-theft aspect, some manufacturers ensure that the shoulder straps of the bag are slash-proof as well. 

They reinforce the straps with a flexible steel wire. This wiring doesn’t make the straps painful. It just makes it difficult or impossible for thieves to cut them.

Locked Zippers

Many anti-theft bags have lobster claps that you can use to lock your zippers. 

With this locking mechanism, unzipping your bag stops being a smooth 1-step process, so it’ll hinder a pickpocket’s progress and hopefully drive them away.

Secret Pockets

Anti-theft bags may also come with multiple pockets where you can keep your precious items away from prying hands.

Instead of having your wallet floating on top, zip it inside a hidden compartment. This way, it’ll be more difficult for a pickpocket to get to it even if they manage to open your bag discreetly. 

It’ll also keep your bag organized so you don’t have to keep it open for a long time as you rummage around in search of something.


If you’ll be sitting down for a meal or during a train ride, it could be practical to keep your bag chained by your side. 

Some anti-theft bags have chains or removable straps that you can use to keep your bag chained to your table or chair, or even have it looped around your arm or leg.

This way, you can rest assured that nobody will sneakily take your bag while you’re not looking.

RFID Blocking

Some anti-theft bags contain RFID blocking slots where you can keep your credit cards, ID, and passport. 

If your cards have RFID chips, this will prevent thieves from using RFID scanners to read confidential information from them.

You might like to read about how to protect your laptop from theft here.

A Video: Backpack Vs Pickpocket

The Shortcomings of Anti-Theft Bags

Anti-theft bags have many great features, but they have their shortcomings as well. 

The majority of anti-theft bags are more expensive than normal bags. Although some of them are more affordable than others and may suit your budget.

Also, these bags make it difficult for thieves to reach your belongings quickly which is great.

However, when it’s you who needs an item from the bag, it can be a little irritating.

Should You Buy an Anti-Theft Bag?

Despite their many useful features, many people still reject anti-theft bags. 


Many travelers argue that anti-theft bags are overrated. Some say that a regular cross-body bag or money belt is secure enough. This could be the case for you, too. 

However, anti-theft bags have several advantages over other solutions. Being slash-proof is arguably an anti-theft bag’s most prominent perk. 

Slash-and-run crimes are rare, yes, but they do happen. They’re not hoaxes or myths. An anti-theft bag makes it nearly impossible for these kinds of thefts to happen to you.

A money belt can be a unique way to secure your money, but then again, how big is it? 

It may be convenient if you’re only carrying small items like cash for the day and a passport. But what if you have a camera or a laptop that you need to keep safe?

Unwanted Attention

Another concern is that an anti-theft bag attracts attention. Some even say it’s an invitation for thieves because it implies that you have a lot of valuable items in there. 

However, it’s more likely that an anti-theft bag will deter thieves. Pickpockets are after vulnerable or easy targets.

They’d rather avoid the hassle of trying to unlock or slit open an anti-theft bag.

Do You Need Anti-Theft Bags?

To decide whether or not an anti-theft bag is for you, you need to weigh the benefits against the downsides. 

Even though your budget can play an important role in the decision-making process, it shouldn’t be the only factor. 

At the end of the day, it all depends on where you’re heading and what you’ll be keeping inside your bag. 

For many people, investing in an anti-theft bag can be incredibly worth it.