How To Protect Yourself From Pickpockets

The "art" of picking pockets is among one of the world's
oldest professions. Author Charles Dickens' Artful Dodger
is probably among the best known pickpockets. However, all
are not juveniles - and all are not males!

The skilled pickpocket is not the seedy character you'd expect
to find lurking in a dark doorway. He (or she) appears about
as average as you and I in appearance and manner. Because
they make a study of how to "blend" into the crowd, pickpockets
usually remain undetected and can practice their activities
with little hindrance.

Pickpockets follow no regular schedule. They operate equally
well during daylight hours as well as at night. And if you
have been led to believe that picking pockets takes place
only in crowds, forget it! The only known fact is that
they generally focus on the public during times when they
might be carrying more money than usual, such as during
pre-holiday spending sprees, store sales, at fairs,
carnivals, horse races, gambling casinos, near bank
entrances, etc.

While many pickpockets work alone, there are also teams of two
or three which sometimes involves a female accomplice. A team
with nimble fingers is next to impossible to apprehend. The
first team member removes the valuables from the unsuspecting
victim's pockets. He then secretly passes them on to the next
member who quickly disappears. When a female member is also
employed, she generally engages the victim in conversation to
distract or delay his attention.

Contrary to what most think, experienced pickpockets do not
place their hands all the way into the victims pockets.
Rather, the expert criminal reaches into the top of the
pocket, takes up a pleat in the lining, then makes a dozen
or so more tiny pleats, folding the lining with swift dexterity
between his fingers. The shortening pocket lining moves
the valuables upward so that they emerge at the mouth of
the pocket. The entire act takes place in a second or two.

The best protection for foiling pickpockets is to remove
the opportunity of becoming a victim. . .

1. The target areas are back trouser pockets, and suitcoat
and sports jacket pockets, located inside and out. A pickpocket
who values his freedom avoids front trouser pockets, and
especially buttoned or zippered pockets.
2. If it is necessary to carry your wallet in an unbuttoned
pants, coat or jacket pocket, be sure it contains only what
you can afford to lose. Keep large sums of money, credit
cards, ID's, etc. in your front pocket or any buttoned or
zippered pocket; keys on a chain attached to your clothing.
3. Never "pat" your pocket to see if you wallet is still
there. This notifies the criminal of the location of your
4. Larger size "pocket secretaries" are especially inviting
to pickpockets - and relatively easy to steal.

1.    Do NOT carry your wallet in your purse. Conceal it in
a coat or sweater pocket where it does not show a bulge.
2.    Use a purse that is difficult or time consuming to open.
3.    Never let your purse lie unattended on a store counter
or in a grocery shopping cart.

If you have been victimized by a pickpocket, immediately
notify police and give the best description you can.