Petty thieves and common criminals are always looking for their next mark. Pickpockets and purse-snatchers are opportunists: if they see a chance to make off with your wallet or cellphone, they’ll take it. Don’t give them the chance! Here are some simple mistakes people make that turn them into thieves’ favorite marks.
If you’re in a crowded public space, get your wallet out of your back pocket. Pickpockets will notice that wallet-shaped outline in your pants and slip up to sneak it out of your possession. Slide your billfold into your front pocket and keep a hand on it. The same goes for your phone! Thieves aren’t picky about which expensive item they steal from you.
If you don’t like carrying your wallet in your front pocket, you could also opt for a wallet chain. Just be aware that some pickpockets and sneaky enough to disconnect the chain in the same smooth motion that they use to pilfer your billfold.
Don’t just leave your purse sitting on the ground next to you when you sit down for a meal at a restaurant or at a park bench. Either keep your bag tucked under your arm or work one of its straps around the leg of your chair. If you’re sitting at a bench, thread the strap around your own leg to keep opportunistic thieves from bolting with it.
If someone tugs on your purse when you have it secured, keep your bag close but don’t engage with the person. They’ll probably just run off when their grab-and-dash plan fails, but remember that it’s not your job to bring them to justice. Contact the authorities and report the crime, and then move on with your day.
Thieves love seeing a smartphone sitting on a table in a public place. Cunning criminals can employ some quick confidence tricks to distract you long enough to snatch your phone or wallet off the table. Typically, they’ll ask for directions and lay a map on the table covering your valuables. They’ll disarm you with an engaging story or a funny turn of phrase before carefully slipping their hand around your phone.
When they remove the map or other distractions, your phone will be gone before you know it. Keep your valuables in your hand or in your pocket, and don’t give criminals a chance to sneak off with them!