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Need Advice From Veteran Travelers: How Do You Prevent Pickpocketing?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chit Chat' started by OursIsTheFury, May 5, 2016.

  1. OursIsTheFury

    OursIsTheFury Member

    I'm curious about what more veteran travelers have to say about this topic based on their experience. What did you guys do in your travels to prevent getting pickpocketed by local criminals who prey on tourists? Any advice you can share with us so we can learn from you guys?

  2. Destiny

    Destiny Member

    Well, my best advice is to keep all your credit cards, important documents, and cash in a zipped pocket and when in a crowded area keep a hand over thay pocket. Also, for women... Wear a cross body bag.
    hades_leae likes this.

  3. jnorth88

    jnorth88 Active Member

    Have deep pockets. Always be aware. Don't leave things loose, or hanging on a strap on your shoulder. Be careful that most pickpockets are not like in the movies where someone just brushes by you and steals your wallet. Generally, it is a mob of kids that surround you, confuse you, touch you, and steal your things. You pretty much know what is happening, but are shocked still and unwilling to defend yourself. But being aware and cautious will keep you safe most of the time.
    hades_leae likes this.
  4. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Here's a few tips I can give you from my experience as a traveler and living in a country where pickpockets are notorious:
    • Have a lock for your backpack's zipper so that pickpockets cannot easily open the bag. Or better yet, carry your backpack in front of you. It might seem weird but from where I am, it isn't weird at all. It's a good way of preventing thieves from stealing from you and protecting your valuables.
    • You can put some change in your pocket so if ever someone steals your wallet, you at least have some coins to be able to get home.
    • If you have shorts or pants with zippers, that's great, you can use them to prevent thieves from stealing your valuables.
    • Body bags are great, as @Destiny mentioned, they are easy to wear and you can position them so that thieves won't be able to easily steal from them.
    • Don't use your phone on busy streets. It can be snatched easily this way. If you have an older phone, use that for texting. You know, those phones where you can just text and call, those aren't interesting to thieves. Leave your smartphones and gadgets on your bag or pocket.
    • Wear simple clothes and don't even wear jewelries. This can be snatched by thieves and you might end up getting hurt especially if they choke you or snatched your earrings.
    I hope this helps!
  5. tabby

    tabby Member

    As for me, try to blend in as much as possible! By that, I mean don't act so 'touristy!' I know visiting a place can be a marvelous experience, but it's also wise to keep the wonder to a minimum. Practical application would mean, be attentive to your surroundings. Be vigilant. Don't dress up that shouts "Hey, I'm a tourist!" As much as possible, not too much flashy jewelry so as not to draw attention. While I understand that DLSR's will make great pictures, if your smart phone can take high quality images, I would choose to bring that instead of a big DLSR that shouts I'm new to this place. Yeah, apply all that the others have said; deep pockets - cross bag - keeping your hand in the pockets especially in the crowded area truly helps.
  6. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    I'm not sure that there's a 100% effective way to stop pickpockets, but as others have said already, there's a few things that you can do to lessen the risks.

    One of the most important things is to be aware of who's around you, aswell as keeping as much as you can in a pocket that you can keep a hand on. Pickpockets will go for the easy targets and its all about making sure that you're not seen as one of those.
  7. GammaRay

    GammaRay Member

    If you're using public transportation then watch out for your bag at all times wherever you are. Keep your valuable items in a zipped back instead of an open or buckled one and stay away from shady strangers. Also, it's best not to leave your items or bags anywhere while you're eating or whatnot. Always have a plan B either with your hotel, embassy, friend or money you can hide for safekeeping.
  8. OursIsTheFury

    OursIsTheFury Member

    These are all amazing tips and tricks, guys. Thank you so much. But what do you think about actually purchasing self defense weapons like a taser or pepper spray, to complement these tips? Would it be like an insurance in case things turn out for the worst, and you have at least something you can use to defend yourself against an attacker? I think it's a great idea, but I want to hear your opinions on the matter. Should it be a simple yes or no question, or does it entail any ethical issues when considering buying these dangerous items for your own protection?
  9. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    The only concerns I'd have with buying things of that nature, would be the legality of using them, as I'm not sure you're allowed to use certain items in all countries so it would be worth checking before you go.

    As far as any ethical issues are concerned, I wouldn't have an issue with using things like this, because at the end of the day, they've brought it on themselves.
  10. Elaine Lat

    Elaine Lat Member

    I'm not a veteran traveler but my brother's been traveling a lot from nearby to far off cities. He has a wallet that comes with a chain that can also be attached to the pants. It's keeping his wallet from getting stolen. In my case, I've made a habit of not taking my whole wallet with me if I'm going to go out. I'd take a few bills and just stash them in my pocket. Sometimes, I'd even sew on secret pockets on my clothes where I can put my money. There are lots of creative ways you can do to avoid getting robbed or pickpocketed.
    pwarbi likes this.
  11. pwarbi

    pwarbi Active Member

    When you mention about the secret pockets in clothes, that to me would be something I'd buy or see myself if I knew I was going to be travelling a lot in the future.

    The wallet and chain idea is a good one aswell, and I even have two wallets. One that as all my important items in that stays locked away, and then one that I just take out and use. That way if I do get robbed, they won't have taken much.
  12. dane

    dane New Member

    How often do this happen? I know people talk about it but how many travellers have actually experienced this first hand?
  13. Danny Luke

    Danny Luke Member

    In order to safeguard yourself from pickpockets, you need to understand how pickpockets operate and how they chose their victims. You have to understand that if you are a tourist, you are going to be a popular target. In order to lessen the risk of losing your belongings to pickpockets, here are some practical tips that you can follow:
    1) Put your wallet in your front pockets. It would be a lot harder for pickpockets to steal it.
    2) Put locks on your backpacks and bags. There are cheap bag locks in the market today that you can use.
    3) Don't carry too much cash in your wallet. Just carry the amount that you need.
  14. dane

    dane New Member

    Good advice, thank you. How sympathetic are the police to tourists who have been pickpocketed? Suppose in such a large country there's not much chance of them finding people is there, but if the suspects are there in sight, are police helpful when it comes to foreign tourists?
  15. cecejailer

    cecejailer New Member

    Honestly, the best ways to avoid being pickpockets is hiding your things very well. I consider fanny packs to be the worst fashion trend ever, but they're really good to keep inside your pants with all your money and cards. Get a really light fanny pack and you're good to go. Also, avoid going to neighborhoods you don't know, always research what kind of location it is you're going to. Luckily I've never been a victim of pickpocketing because of these tips.
  16. dane

    dane New Member

    Haha totally, nothing screams tourists like those fanny packs. Even the name makes me cringe!

    I have used very flat one that goes under your shirt, only good for passport and a bit of cash. Can be a little annoying but you do feel a lot safer with it. Especially if you don't want to leave anything at your accommodation.
  17. hades_leae

    hades_leae New Member

    You definitely don't want someone to end up with your passport, and all your money. I would be fine with loosing the money, but the passport is a bigger problem. Like some have already, I also would recommend deep pockets, but it's not like they can go that deep, and not everyone has access to deep pockets .
    Pants with zipper pockets is ideal, and or you could wear shorts under your pants and have important things in those pockets so if someone tried to steal from your pockets, it's technically impossible for you to not notice them going in your shorts if their under a pair of pants. They'd give up.
  18. dane

    dane New Member

    Yea losing passport is always my biggest worry. I just can't imagine the headache of trying to get new one issued. Especially if you have travel plans.
  19. Normad

    Normad New Member

    Wow, there is a lot of really great advice here for some of us who aren't as seasoned travelers. There is nothing quite as distressing on a trip and nothing that's more likely to spoil your entire experience than having your credit cards or other valuables stolen. That once happened to me and I appreciate all the tips that I've learned here that will help me on my next trip.
  20. audrinaa

    audrinaa New Member

    Does pick pocketing happen a lot in India. I am not that worried my phone gets erased if you put the information in too many times wrong or try to bypass anything, and all my accounts are electronic I don't carry any cards with me. When you said pick pocketing I was thinking of New York back in the 1900's. I think that I will be safe but I recommend that other people take precautions as well.