Pickpockets are a fact of life. If you consider Charles Dickens tale of Oliver Twist and Fagin, the man who led a gang of children who were trained sneak thieves, you will see it is not a new concept. Sleight of hand pickpockets have been around for a long time.
Some countries and cities have a bigger problem with such thieves than others. Here in the UK pickpockets have become a problem in London. As the cosmopolitan capital of England, London has busy streets and a large number of naive tourists always on hand. Most tourists have been foolish at one time or another. It is so easy to feel safe and comfortable on vacation. Relaxing in such a way in public can be a godsend for pickpockets. A mobile or cell phone, an IPad, wallet or open handbag can all seem like an open invitation to a crook.
Some nationalities are targeted more than others and of course if you are wearing huge gold rings and flashing the cash you could set yourself up to be a victim of theft.
A recent British Transport police campaign to alert visitors to London about the prevalence of pickpockets issued warnings. Campaign videos were posted showing the way that a pickpocket may manage to nick your possessions from under your very nose.
Officers are deployed, uniformed and plain clothes, in busy train stations and on tubes and trains but there is only so much they can do. They need visitors to stay alert to potential pickpockets. We should act as we would in our home town but sadly many tourists forget to pack good sense in their travel luggage.
Transport police confirm that the most common theft is a mobile phone followed by luggage. Pickpockets are skilled but also opportunistic. The more you make sure your possessions are secure the harder it is for them to succeed.
London has gangs of pickpockets, some from abroad, who target obvious tourists. You can minimise your chance of this being you by some simple steps:
Do not let the thought of pickpockets deter you from enjoying a foreign vacation or visiting a busy city.
Just make sure you are pickpocket aware. The chances are you will not be targeted but if you are make sure the pickpockets fail.
Watch Transport Police campaign videos which show some possible scenarios