PickPocket Protection

One of the most common incidents that students encounter while abroad is pick-pocketing. Most often you will not know you have been pick-pocketed until after it’s happened and you reach for your wallet to pay for something. Usually a pick-pocketer does not want to harm you and will perform his/her act quite sneakily. Here are a few tips on protecting yourself against pick-pocketers and what to do if it happens to you!

  • Don’t carry a lot of cash with you
  • If you carry a credit/debit card, make sure you have a back up card and copies of all of your cards hidden somewhere in your living quarters
  • For girls-have a purse that zips! I had a carabineer that I used to lock my zippers together. Likewise, a purse that goes across your chest is probably the best
  • For guys-keep your wallet in your front pockets NOT your back pocket of your pants. You might consider getting a Rick Steve’s money belt that goes under your shirt around your waist
  • If you are using a backpack and are on public transportation wear it on your front (I fondly nicknamed my backpack the “Baby Bump” since I wore it on my front more than my back!) or place it on the floor between your legs
  • BE OBSERVANT!! I think one of the main reasons why I never got pick-pocketed was because I was constantly aware of my surroundings and what was going on.
  • A lot of countries will have a “target” group of people that are typical pick-pocketers (for instance the gypsies in Rome). If you learn how these groups work you will better know when there is a potential pick-pocketing situation happening. For example, the gypsies in Rome would create crowded situations and distractions such as a disabled old lady or a woman openly nursing a baby.
  • If you do get pick-pocketed the first thing is to REMAIN CALM. I know it’s an inconvenience but it’s not the end of the world!
  • Once you have realized you have been pick-pocketed go back to your apartment or home and immediately call your credit card company to cancel the card
  • If you have a back up credit card then you may have to activate that
  • If you have no access to money your parents can wire you money
  • If you know who pick-pocketed you, you may report them to the police if you feel comfortable
  • Oh if the pick-pocketer isn’t so sneaky and they directly confront you for money (this is more of a mugging than a pick-pocket) DO NOT resist them or try to fight them off. It is FAR better to lose your money, camera, phone, whatever than to try to hold on to these items if it means potentially hurting yourself

One thought on “PickPocket Protection

  1. Hi, this was an interesting post! To add, it is best to stay away from the gypsy children in Rome if at all possible. Often times a bunch of them will surround you and start tugging on your clothes, or start juggling and attempt to put on a show for you– this is all a distraction while one of them reaches into your pocket to steal your wallet. One of the best and most simple things somebody can do to prevent this (especially if the traveler is a male) is to simply walk with their hands in their pockets, keeping one of them on their wallet.
    Thanks for the interesting post!
    – Nate

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