London, England, is known for pickpockets working the crowds for as long as they have had their underground tube.
Since a majority of pickpocketing occurs in their subway system, the British Transport Police has put together a series of short videos that alert travelers to the most common types of thefts that you would fall victim to in the UK.
These videos are very well done and should be viewed by anyone who is going anywhere pickpockets are known to show their trade. Here is the pickpocket video link that has additional information.
London Transport Police Videos
Pickpocket Tactics Video – The Stall
Pickpocket Tactics Video – The Concealed Hand
Pickpocket Tactics Video – The Easy Dip
Pickpocket Tactics Video -The Helpful Stranger
Pickpocket Tactics Video – The Distraction
Pickpocket Tactics Video – The Diversion
Pickpocket Tactics Video – Luggage Lifters
Pickpocket Tactics Video – The Snatchers
Pickpocket Tactics Video – The Blind Spot
Pickpocket Tactics Video – The Sleeper
Pickpocket Tactics Video – The Plucker
Pickpocket Tactics Video – The Helpful Stranger
Pickpocket Tactics Video – The Grabber
Pickpocket Tactics Video – The Early Bird
Interesting pickpocket crime statistics published by the the British Transport Police:
In 2000, a study of pickpocketing victims revealed that more men are targeted than previously, although women remain at most risk. Men account for 20% of victims, compared to 10% in previous studies, possibly because of an increase in the theft of mobile phones.
- 80% of victims are women
- 43% are London residents
- 30% live outside London
- 27% are foreign visitors
Of the foreign visitors, Americans are the most frequent target, followed by Japanese, Germans, French and Italians.
Most Likely Times to Fall Victim to being Pick-pocketed
Friday is the worst day for pickpocketing accounting for almost 19% of thefts. Over 66% take place Wednesday to Saturday. The worst time of day is late afternoon/early evening with 25% of thefts taking place between 5pm and 7pm.
Areas where most Pickpockets strike their Victims in the London Area
Pickpockets operate all over the central area London where there are crowds. The worst five stations are Victoria, Leicester Square, Oxford Circus, King’s Cross and Piccadilly Circus which account for almost a quarter of all crimes. Fifteen stations account for almost half of all crimes. Over 70% of thefts take place on trains.
Pickpockets’ Top Five Tactics
- Single “dip” operating under cover of a jacket, newspaper or bag
- Group surrounding and jostling the target
- Gang – up to four using someone as a “blocker”, a “pusher” and “dipper”
- Distraction – often used by South Americans. Spill drink, apologies and steal property
- Bag slasher – in crowded trains and lifts. Teams of two to four men/women surround target and cut strap of bag or slit the bag itself – not so common