Bali safe memorial KimmyThe notion of Bali as a safe travel destination and place to live, is being shattered by a spate of nasty crimes. Bag snatching, particularly from people riding motorbikes, is growing at an alarming trend. Women carrying handbags, coming home late at night on a motorbike, seem to be the main target.  As the handbag is pulled from the victim while they are riding their motorbike, the rider loses control, eventually falling off or crashing. Several cases have resulted in serious injuries and there have been some deaths. Of course women are not the only victims, men, expats, locals and tourists are all at risk.

On the night of May 17, Kim Eun Sol, from South Korea was riding home on the back of motorbike with a friend, when a robber drove up beside her and grabbed her bag.  She was pulled from the motorbike and fell into the oncoming traffic.  She was hit by another motorbike and killed instantly.

What has surprised many people is the general lack of reporting in the media over these incidents. Many expats have turned to Facebook to post crime reports and discuss potential solutions.

The good news is that people are getting together to share their concerns, with police and the local governments.  Solutions are being proposed, but it could be some time before concrete steps are taken to address the problem. In the mean time everyone needs to be more vigilant.

While some people are reluctant to report the crime to the police, I would still recommend doing so. It is the only way they can follow up on these cases.

Some safety tips:

– avoid carrying any kind of bag, while riding a motorbike
– carry valuables under the seat of the motorbike
– avoid traveling alone, particularly at night
– go out in groups and take taxis, or organize a car with driver
– carry a small bit of cash in a wallet or purse, without your cards and hide any valuables in your sock or money belt

There will be a memorial service for the Korean girl at Pantai Batu Bolong (Tugu Beach) on May 26, from 4-7pm.  You can find more details on the Facebook event page.

Do you think Bali is becoming more dangerous?  Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments.