Avoid Pickpockets: Learn the Techniques and Traits
Byline by Joseph Murray
Street crime and pickpockets do not only exist in the novel Oliver Twist or villages where beggars and street dwellers ask for spare change. Also referred to as pickpockets or opportunists, thieves and scam artists prey on unsuspecting people who have their guard down. Here are a few suggestions on how to not become a victim of theft by avoiding certain situations and securing your most valuable items and information.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Most pickpockets strike at airports, at the beach and even in the grocery store. Thieves wait for the moment you are not watching your wallet or purse, so they can act quick. A pickpocket will zero in on people who are sleeping on the beach, leaving their belongings unguarded or traveling alone and only paying attention to their boarding announcement. Try to avoid burying your nose in a book, turning your back on your valuables or zoning out on a game of "Tetris" on your iPad. While blocking out all of your surroundings may be relaxing, it can also make it more difficult for you to be mindful of your irreplaceable items.
Keep Your ID and Other Valuables Close to Your Body
Whether you are going to the mall or taking a vacation to Costa Rica, it's best to keep your non-replaceable valued items on you at all times. A pickpocket relies on sleight of hand, and a sly flick of the wrist. If you must carry cash, stuff it in your front pocket. Credit cards can be replaced, so having them inconveniently stolen isn't a huge travesty, but keep a close eye on your smart phone, cash and ID while being mindful of sticky fingers.
It is important to make sure your identity is protected before traveling, so if you do lose your ID or social security card, you won't have to worry about your private information being stolen as well. There are many viable options when it comes to choosing which company will protect your identity, such as LifeLock.
Avoid Crowded Areas
Taking public transportation is, for the most part, inevitable, and crowded subways or streetcars are a pickpocket's favorite places to strike. A thief can get close enough that he or she can reach into your bag, purse or even back pocket, and you won't notice. If you must ride, try to avoid stepping into a crowded car or train. You're on vacation, so you probably have a loose itinerary and can wait for the next bus or train; or look for a subway car that is not crowded.
The key to not having a pickpocket steal your belongings is to be aware of your surroundings and your valuables. Most pickpocket incidents happen to people when they are wandering around or not keeping an eye on their personal belongings. Try to keep these suggestions in mind next time you're out and about and the only highway robbery you'll encounter will be at the gas station.
Joey has written about the automobile industry for 10 years. He guest posts for a number of blogs and is an expert in green technology and fuel efficiency.