Pickpockets have been around ever since the invention of pockets, purses, and carry bags and unfortunately, it is just something that travelers need to be prepared for when they travel – especially when visiting Europe, and other major cities around the world. One of the best ways to combat pickpockets is to treat the subject as something that you just have to plan for while you are getting ready for your trip. For instance, before to taking a trip to Europe or South America, most travelers will spend a significant amount of time reading up on the country which you plan to visit, locations to visit, which hotels to stay, where to eat, as well as other travel related research. However, few travelers take the time to research the subject of pickpockets and how they operate as part of their research.
While most travelers will never fall victim to a pickpocket while traveling simply because most people in the world are honest, you will always have a certain about of dishonest people who make their living by way of stealing from others – and some of those thieves are professional pickpockets.
While most travelers have a basic understanding of how pickpockets operate, some of their schemes, scams, and techniques are very sophisticated and planned out. Some pickpockets have been practicing their trade for years – while others are simple opportunists who are just looking for someone not paying attention to their wallet in their back pocket or a wallet left in an open top purse.
If a traveler wants extra insurance that their trip abroad will be filled of plesant memories and not that of waiting in line at a police station filling out police reports of their wallet being stolen, they should build in a certain amount of time researching how pickpockets and distraction thieves operate. One of the best ways is to watch pickpocket videos of actual thefts in order to truly understand how to better protect your valuables.
The following are a series of pickpocket videos that will provide travelers with a few examples of how pickpockets operate. When you watch these videos, understand that their are countless variations of these scams, the number of pickpockets who will target travelers at any one time, as well as the ages and sexes of the thieves. know that some thieves use their children to steal – while others use their elderly age to try and get tourists to think that the old person next to them is “harmless” when in fact they are a professional pickpocket who has honed his/her skill on thousands of prior victims over their lifetime.
Here are a few of the pickpocket videos that will provide travelers with “street smarts” anti-pickpocketing advice that should be reviewed before you set off on your trip:
This is a video from a China TV news station. Obviously it is in Chinese, however you will see several pickpocket snippets of various pickpockets in action. You will see some which use tools to extract wallets from back pockets and purses.
This is a video of a street pickpocket that is targeting an unprotected zipper pocket located on the rear of a daypack. The victim is stopped at a street corner waiting for the light to change. Notice that several other people are waiting at the cross walk but do not see whats going on. Note that when you watch the video you will see two thieves in the video – you may have to watch the video a few times to see them working in concert together. At first you do not see the accomplice, but she will reveal herself later on.
The main pickpocket is the man with the dark jacket and dark baseball cap, with blue jeans. The accomplice, who is acting as a blocker, comes close into theft and blocks others from seeing her partner remove a cell phone from the back of victims backpack. The cell phone is stolen just as the light turns green and victim walks across the street, never knowing that his cell phone was taken.
1. Never place items of value in rear pockets of non security backpacks. As you will see, a victim will not feel the theft, and many times the theft will go un-noticed by others around you. Solution: If you do carry a backpack, consider a security daypack – one that has security zippers that prevent a thief from unzipping a pocket without your knowledge. A variety of security backpacks and security daypacks can be found on the market – Here are several to review, many with videos showing how they operate. As a no cost solution, consider putting a small lock on the zippers, or use a cable – anything that would prove to make it difficult for a pickpocket to get in your pocket.
2. If you carry a cell phone abroad – or anywhere for that mater, keep it locked so if someone steals it, they cannot charge up thousands of dollars if fradulant cell phone calls – that may be difficult to refute internationally. This is also a reason why you should travel with a GSM chip type phone that will accept a local cell phone card that you purchase when your land. That way if your phone is stolen while overseas, the phone has a limited amount of money on the chip – minimizing your losses.
This is a video of a team of pickpockets working in a department store. The victim is in the uppper left corner of the screen. She is wearing a black, long sleeve blouse, and gray pants. You will see her use her phone then put it in her purse when she is done, then start looking at clothes to buy. At about 25 seconds into the video you will see two thieves enter from the upper right corner of the screen. One is a woman wearing a gray or pink short sleeve blouse, and her accomplice is a man with a black tee shirt with blue jeans. Watch the woman thief pick up a piece of clothes to look at while she hold it up to the rear of the victims purse. The pickpocket uses her free hand to remove the victims wallet from the purse – using the clothes item she is holding up to block the view of others and make it look like she is “just shopping.” The accomplice is acting as a “look-out.”
1. When you carry a purse, make sure it has security zippers so a thief cannot open it when you are distracted. As you saw in the video, the victim , or the friends she was with had no clue what was going on. The main reason for this is that pickpockets are great actors and actresses. They know they have to “blend in” to the situation so they do not cause the victim or others in the area to be alerted to “suspicious activities.” Good pickpockets have this skill down to a science, many times allowing themselves to get right next to you without you have any idea that what they are doing is unusual. This is great video to see how pickpockets blend into any situation.
2. Several security purses can be found on the market today that have built in zipper locks, as well as other anti-theft / pickpocket security features that will help protect a purse as well as its contents from being stolen. Here are several security purses to consider as well as videos showing their various anti-theft benefits. If you don’t want to buy a new security purse, you can buy a purse zipper lock that can be adapted to almost any bag. If you dont want to spend any money, simply make your own small chain that has a clip to secure the zippers around the purse strap.