Expert thieves have a lot of tricks up their sleeves to rob hapless travellers and natives. If you want to be less of a target for pickpockets, Gene Turner, “America’s friendliest pickpocket entertainer”, offers several tips, including being wary of pickpocket warnings.
Photo by Duncan Hull
A sign that says “Pickpockets operate in this area” might seem like a good warning, but it could work against you if you automatically check your valuable belongings as soon as you read the sign:
A man in a business suit has four pants pockets and six to eight pockets in the jacket. The wallet, cash and credit cards could be in any one of 10 or more pockets. A pickpocket doesn’t usually have time to search all 10, but when they see you check your pocket when you see the sign, they now know the exact location. It saves a lot of time in committing your crime. If you think there are pickpockets around or you see a sign, don’t be obvious about checking for your wallet or valuables.
Similarly, someone yelling that there is a pickpocket in the crowd could be the thief.
Turner’s other anti-pickpocket tips include putting your wallet in sideways and avoid keeping it in your back pocket, even with the pocket buttoned.