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6 Ways to Avoid Pickpockets

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If you're planning on traveling, you know you need to take extra caution with your belongings. Whether you're traveling to Europe, South America, Asia, or the United States, pickpockets are everywhere. 

Over 400,000 people fall victim to pickpockets every day worldwide. If you want your trip to be hassle and pickpocket-free, then you need to be one step ahead. Here are the six ways you can avoid pickpockets on your next trip.

Know well-known pickpocket cities

Some cities are worse than others when it comes to pickpocketing. Where there are large, noisy crowds, there will be pickpockets. Here are some of the most infamous cities for pickpockets:

  • Paris, France
  • Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Buenos Aires, Argentia
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Rome, Italy
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Florence, Italy
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Remember, though these cities are infamous for pickpockets, it can happen in any town or city.

Who are pickpockets?

Though you may think pickpockets are sketchy look men, they're not typically what you expect. Usually, pickpockets are the complete opposite. Women and children are often pickpockets as they're the least suspicious.

Plus, many of them are dressed respectfully and do not fit your stereotypical thief. In other words, pickpockets can be anyone. Though the one thing in common is they mostly work in groups, that way, it's harder to catch the thief.

Know where pickpockets hang out 

Pickpockets hang out wherever tourists are because that's where the money is. Here are some locations to be mindful of when you're out traveling:

  • Tourist attractions
  • Public transportation
  • Train stations
  • Beaches
  • Museums
  • Restaurants and cafes
  • Stores

Of course, you shouldn't avoid these areas, but you do need to be more aware when you're there.

Know the tricks pickpockets use

Pickpockets will try to distract you when taking your things. The distraction won't necessarily be dramatic of long; just enough to divert your attention. Here are some of the tactics they use to distract you:

  • Large crowds
  • Helping you with your bags
  • Act as beggers when you're at the ATM
  • "Charity" worker
  • Asking for directions
  • Slash your bag
  • They'll bump into you accidentally
  • Snatch your bag while on a scooter
  • They'll create a crowd on an escalator
  • Create a fake fight

Who do pickpockets target?

When it comes to pickpockets, they're opportunities. They'll pickpocket anyone who's an easy target at the moment. Though certain tourists are easier to target than others. 

Obvious tourists

If you clearly look like a tourist, your odds of being pickpocketed have increased. For pickpockets, tourists mean cash. Keep your valuables under a watchful eye and try not to look too touristy.

Overly trusting people

Many people are simply too trusting when traveling. Though having trust in people is great, it'll be taken advantage of when on the road. 

People with a lot of luggage

When you're overwhelmed with luggage, it's hard to keep an eye on everything. That's exactly what a pickpocket is looking for. You're vulnerable, which means you're an easy target.

People who flash their valuables

You may love to wear gold, but when you're traveling, look very modest. The more attention to put on yourself, the more likely you'll be pickpocketed.

How to protect yourself from pickpockets

Though you cannot 100% prevent theft from happening, you can reduce your chances. Here are some ways to protect yourself from pickpockets.

Wear pickpocket travel clothing

This isn't ideal or necessarily trendy for everyone, but there are pickpocket-proof travel clothing you can wear. These clothes have hidden pockets and are made of high-tech fabric.

Money belt

If you want to keep your money safe, get yourself a money belt. You'll be able to keep your cash and passport either around your neck, or waist in a money belt. 

Anti-theft bag

When it comes to security, get yourself an anti-theft bag. It really reduces the odds of you being pickpocketed as thieves aren't looking for a challenge. They want a bag that's vulnerable and preferably already open. An anti-theft bag can come with special locks and codes that make it a nightmare for thieves.

Split your valuables

Do not keep all your money in one place. Instead, split your money up. In your money belt, keep your credit cards and larger bills. In your wallet, you can carry small bills - enough for meals and drinks. 

Limit what you carry

You don't need to carry everything with you when you're out and about. Keep your valuables in the hotel safe and bring the bare necessities with you when you're walking around. 

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