How to Avoid Pickpockets by Watching Videos of Pickpockets in Action

BY Beth Williams

Taking a little bit of time before you travel to up your “street smarts”  is an important detail of your pre-departure preparation, especially if you want to make sure you don’t bring home memories of hanging out in a police station making a stolen wallet or passport report. Watching videos of pickpockets in action is one of the best ways to help make you a more street smart traveler.

There are basically two types of pickpockets, the skilled pickpocket, who may use distractions and even work in teams to alleviate you from your possessions and the opportunistic pickpocket who just grabs vulnerable and unsecured valuables such as wallets in open purses, or camera momentarily left on a chair or table.

Seeing someone who is skilled in the art of pickpocketing is like watching an incredible artisan who has been working on their trade for years. Watch the below videos of pickpockets in action so you one; become wise to the pickpocket’s modus operandi and two; think about taking precautions so that your valuables stay on your person while out in the crowds.

The easiest and most reliable way to thwart a pickpocket is to use travel gear designed specifically to safeguard against theft

Theft of Purse in Hotel Lobby

Theft of Purse from the back of Chair

What lessons are to be learned by watching these pickpocket videos

Any time you place your purse down, no matter how close it is to you, or who you ask to watch it if you have to walk away from it briefly, know that it can be easily stolen as seen on these videos. In the first video, you can see how the group of thieves blended into the location looking at items on the back wall.  That’s all one of the thieves needed to talk the purse that was unattended. In the second video, you saw how the purse was stolen in a hotel lobby of a nice boutique hotel.  The thief was watching the victim to see if she would put her purse down and she did. This is where having a purse or travel handbag with a detachable purse strap would have been a great way to prevent this type of theft.  If you need to set your purse down, someone needs to physically watch it without being distracted or you need to make it snatch proof.

If you do carry a travel bag, shoulder bag, or purse, use one that has security zippers built into the bag.  By using zippers that lock, pickpockets cannot get inside the bag pockets without your knowledge.  Newer styles of travel bags are made with anti-pickpocket features including locking zippers, anti-slashing straps, anti-snatching straps, as well as wire mesh barriers are woven into the bag’s materials so the bottom cannot be cut for the contents to fall out.

You don’t have to look far to find the same anti-theft features on travel backpacks and security daypacks. This is the best collection of anti-theft backpacks and many have videos showing how they function.  As a low-cost solution to use on a bag you already have and love is to put a small lock on the zippers or use a cable – anything that would prove to make it difficult for a pickpocket to get into your purse or travel bag’s compartment.

Pickpocket Video Filmed at the Fontana di Trevia Fountain, Italy

This is another great video that shows how female pickpockets work in groups.  These are young girls who are obvious predators looking for vulnerable women (usually tourists) whose purses are “easy pickins” for the removal of their wallets or other valuables.  You may have to watch this video several times to see all three young female pickpockets.

Watch for the following:  In the beginning, one of the female pickpockets has stolen a wallet from a woman, and is forced to give it back.  2.  Watch later on how one of the female pickpocket’s break away from the group and tries to help a mature lady up the steps away from the fountain.  3.  Watch how the one of the female pickpockets “hones-in” on a woman’s purse being carried by a woman close to the fountain’s edge.  Also, note that no one in this “sea of tourists” is even the slightly aware that these three pickpockets are operating in the crowd.

What lessons are learned by watching this pickpocket video:

Use a security travel purse or travel bag on your next trip.   As an alternative, you could also wear a security fanny pack that has anti-pickpocketing features built in such as security zippers, covered buckles (so the pack can’t be unbuckled from behind) steel cables woven into the rear strap (so it can’t be cut off from the rear) and anti-slash panels to prevent pack slicers. Anti-theft waist packs are a great way to keep valuables close, handy and secure and aren’t as bulky as a bag or backpack.

Last, when you are in Rome and you have that urge to throw “three coins in the fountain” watch this video and it might give you second thoughts when you see where your coins end up.

Theft of woman’s wallet while she’s shopping in a jewelry store