Travel Health

How Not to Get Pickpocketed

‘Charity’s fine – subscribe to mine!

Oh, you’ve got to pick a pocket or two’ (Fagin from Oliver Twist)

The most common way to get robbed is without you knowing. Thieves tend to be rather selfish people and as such would rather not risk their personal well being by confronting their victims. A discreet hand in your handbag or back pocket and they’ve plucked your purse, wallet or Ipod long before you’re aware you’re missing something.

In many parts of the world children are employed as pickpockets in scenarios not too distant from Fagin and Oliver Twist. The kids are trained to put their hands in coat pockets lined with bells (or in severe cases with razor blades) to encourage dexterity. Children can’t really be considered guilty and street kids really don’t know any better. Nor do they have frequently have much choice in the matter if they want to eat.

Here’s how to avoid getting pickpocketed:

– Pickpockets also tend to aim for easy targets so don;t walk down the street with a bulging moneybag containing your passport, cash and bank card. In the time it takes to open a zip you could be left broke and stranded.

– You’re most at risk in crowded situations such as markets, street shows or public transport when you might have trouble working out to who the hand in your pocket belongs.

– Pickpockets often work in pairs. One of them will distract you by asking you the time or spilling something on your shirt while the other pilfers from behind.

– If you’re wearing jeans you can generally keep your cash safe in the front pocket which is too tight for fingers to go fishing. Never keep anything of value in the back pocket or in a shoulder bag which can be unzipped without you noticing. Best is to use a discreet money belt that goes under your dress or trousers.

– If you’re carrying a bag get used to keeping one hand on it at all times. Or else with a strap around your arm or ankle when you’re sitting. Keep everything of value in sight and in touch when in public.