How to avoid getting pickpocketed
You put your hand in your pocket to grab your smartphone for a selfie, but the phone is nowhere to be found: did you forget it somewhere, or have you been pickpocketed? This happens more often than you can imagine, even with the many warnings both travelers and locals receive. However, tourists have more chances for this to happen to them, and some countries are more dangerous in this regard than others. If you never had to deal with this problem before, better read on, to be prepared.
Avoid using your pockets
If you don’t have pockets, you can’t really be pickpocketed, right? The best way to avoid this is by wearing pants that don’t have them. If most pants you own do have them, either remove them, if they’re on the outside or sew them in – if they’re on the inside. If you carry a backpack, make sure its outer pockets are either empty or secured with a lock. Of course, a skilled thief will still be able to get a hold of your possessions.
Don’t believe the stereotypes
Perhaps your grandparents told you to be wary of certain type of people, based on age, appearance, and even gender. We tend to think that only teens or people in their 20s top are doing it, but this is definitely not true. People also seem to think that only boys or guys are doing this, but there are plenty of female pickpocketers as well. Furthermore, thinking that it is mostly people from a certain country or of certain race that rub you, is also wrong: anyone from anywhere can do it. Children look innocent, and they’re probably not blamed for it, but they certainly can do this better than adults.
They look like average people
Still related to stereotypes, we might think they look like street urchins. This might be true in some cases, however those who want the most profit out of this “occupation” will dress just like everyone else. Having a middle-class, working 9-to-5 appearance, will make them less threatening and more trustworthy, thus they can approach their victims easier.
Beware of groups of people
It is common for a few people to work together to pickpocket. One or two distract the victim while another one takes care of the pockets. Be wary of these situations. You may not always see the thieves gathered in a group, in the middle of the street, however, should you notice any commotion it might be a good idea to avoid it or to protect your belongings.
Some areas are more populated by thieves than others
Like mentioned above, some countries and some cities might have a higher number of pickpocketing people. The tourist attractions are the most preferred places to operate, in any city. Tourists are the easiest targets there, but even locals fall victims to them. However this practice can be observed in any crowded place, like on crowded public transportation, in the stores, and even when you try to pay your fare for the subway train.