Depending on where you go, you may need to prepare yourself for pickpockets. Many travelers have shared pickpocket stories from subway stations to crowded lines and buses. As a traveler, you may be a target of theft since someone is betting that you got a fancy camera or a lot of cash on you.
However, have no fear! Travelers have compiled anti-theft strategies through their experiences. Here are ten tips to not get your stuff stolen.
10 Don't Show Off Your Stuff
To not even get someone attempting to pickpocket you in the first place, it may be a good idea to hide your wallet, jewelry, and camera. Even if your jewelry does not cost that much, you should still hide it because a common pickpocket may not know any better. Some thieves are less subtle than pickpockets and just take the jewelry and run (even if its a piercing, ouch!).
A safe traveler is a modest traveler. Not only will this not attract pickpockets, but it will make you lighter on your feet.
9 Avoid Putting Things In Your Back Pockets
Most pickpockets come from the back. It just makes sense so that you cannot see them. In that light, just avoid putting any objects in your back pockets. In a crowded place, you may not feel someone pulling your phone out while you are already shoulder to shoulder with others. If you have large back pockets, you still may not even feel someone taking out your wallet is an uncrowded place!
8 Divide Your Money
Do not keep all your money in one place, because if a thief somehow steals that one wallet or cut that one pocket . . . then you are in trouble.
What a lot of travelers do is divide their money between various spots on their body, luggage, and where they are staying. That way, if a pickpocket does succeed then at least he or she did not take everything you have. Just make sure to remember all the places you put the money! We do not want you accidentally losing your stuff while trying to hide it from pickpockets.
7 Buy Pickpocket Proof Supplies
Sometimes money is a quick problem-solver. If you have the funds to do it, then you can buy pickpocket proof bags, pants, and more. The clothes have many pockets that are layered with protection such as additional buttons and zippers. There are bags with zippers and locks. There are also little bags with straps that are cut-proof. It is all very cool and secure, but can get a little on the expensive side.
6 Have Hidden Pockets
A pickpocket cannot take your things if they cannot even see the pocket you are keeping them in. A lot of travelers keep hidden bags and pockets under their shirts where they cannot be seen. It is perfect for little items like your cash, phone, or a credit card.
The only downside is that you may have to reveal your hidden pocket when you have to pay for something. No worries though, because the hidden pocket should stay in the front of your body.
5 Do Not Use A Backpack
Backpacks are worse than back pockets. People can take things from your backpack easily without you noticing because they do not even have to touch you. So it is best to leave the backpack at home, especially if it has a lot of front pockets.
Travelers sometimes wear their backpacks in front of them instead of the back, but that just seems uncomfortable to travel with and is still not very secure if you are in a crowded place.
4 Have Tight Pockets
You know how women's pants have really tiny pockets? Well, at least they cannot get pick-pocketed!
Some thieves will actually cut your pockets out if they are loose enough. Travelers have shared stories of stepping out of crowded buses to look down and see new holes in their pants, and their pockets missing. If you have tight pockets though, pickpockets are not even going to bother trying. While you cannot fit much in them besides some cash and maybe a phone, it is worth the security.
3 Know The Tricks Pickpockets Use
Pickpockets have a lot of tricks in order to steal your stuff without you noticing. One such trick is by bumping into you. Another is to spill something on you and then try to help clean it off (when they are actually pick-pocketing). A sad truth of areas of poverty is that a lot of pickpockets are little kids. One may offer to take a picture of your or another will offer an umbrella while a friend pickpockets you.
Do not be hostile if this happens, because there is a chance they are not pickpockets and actually are genuine. Just make sure you have all hands on your things in these situations and politely tell them you want to be left alone.
2 Keep Your Wits About You In Crowds
Crowds are where most pickpockets do their work. People are busy, distracted, and are used to perhaps feeling something graze them once in a while. Due to all that, crowds are where pickpockets have the most success in stealing and sneaking off without being noticed.
So if you are in a crowd, keep your hands in your pockets or pull your purse to the front of your body. A pickpocket can typically spot those who are very aware of their surroundings versus those who look clueless.
1 Anchor Your Bag
Lastly is what to do if you have luggage or a large bag. If you are sitting, standing, or taking a break and not moving, then we suggest anchoring your bag. That means looping it over a chair leg, table leg, or even your own leg. This is less about pickpockets and more about certain thieves that will just take your bag and run. With an anchor, if someone tries to take the bag, they are going to be stuck and will have to either run without the bag or get caught in the act.