Some places are known for it: Pickpockets
If you go to the Ramblas in Barcelona, for instance, everybody will warn you of the danger. Also other places are known pickpockets. I got warned in Penang, Malaysia about young men on scooters. They would rip your bag off your shoulder as you walked down the street. Just be alert when you walk in the bigger cities or at big events like carnaval or festivals. There is always a chance people will walk the streets with other intentions.
Protect yourself against Pickpockets
This woman is obviously looking at the place the wallet is put in
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You probably have heard stories from friends or family. Maybe you even have been victim of a crime. To prevent you from becoming a victim, I wrote down a couple tips. I give this advice when I work as a police officer to people shopping in the city, and I, ofcourse, will use them myself when I travel solo.
What can you do to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of pickpockets?
Trying not to look like a tourist just will not work in many countries. I am white, and I do travel a lot in Asian countries. But what I can do is not wear my expensice jewerly while traveling. Don’t walk with your expensive camera the entire time and don’t constantly check your status on your smartphone or tablet. Those are some little things you can do.
What else is there to take notice of?
Keep your wallet behind a zipper
When you buy a new bag for travel purposes, always make sure that there’s an additional space for a wallet. Carrying it with you in that pocket will make it impossible to get it out of your bag in one movement. Most bags have such a pocket in them. Just look for this when you look for a new bag.
Always close your bag
Especially when that bag has your wallet in it. Closing your bag is not that big of a deal, but for the one who wants to open it again without yout noticing, it is. Especially when you have your valuables tucked away behind that extra zipper.
How Pickpockets work
Keep your bag in sight
When I’m in a busy area, I always keep my bag in front of me. I don’t hang the bag on my back where I can not see it anymore. If someone walks behind me, it is easy for them to work on opening my bag without me noticing it.
Hang your bag across your body
Don’t only put your bag over your shoulder, get your head through the handle. This way the bag can not be pulled off your shoulder in a firm motion so that you loose the whole bag.
This is a well-known method of robbery. Is some countries or cities you will be warned for this kind of robbery. If you get used at wearing you bag handles over your head, while traveling or at home, this cannot happen to you.
This is how I carry my bag. (Jemaa El Fna Square, Marrakech, Morocco)
Always stay in physical contact with your bag
Let your arm hang loosely against your bag. That’s enough to feel it when someone wants to try to get something out of it. When that happens, you will react immediatly and grap your bag. There is no better and faster reaction then a reflex reaction.
Simple and Practical Tips – Pickpockets
These are some simple and practical tips to take notice of and decrease the chance of being a victim of pickpockets.
Keeping an eye on your surroundings is something you should do always and everywhere.
Who is near you? What kind of person is that? Is it a tourist or a local? Maybe somebody with the wrong intentions and looking at your belongings? If you can read the situation, you can adjust you behaviour to it.
Walking the streets with this in the back of your mind can change your appearance. Maybe, for some, enough to think twice about trying to pickpocket you. Wouldn’t it be great if you could achieve that?
Make sure to protect yourself from ..
but also to recognize the Pickpockets
Read my 5 Tips to Recognizing a Pickpocket
If you want to read more about safety issues:
How to Travel Safe as a Female Solo Traveler
Scam in the Souks of Marrakesh
Trust Your Feeling
Rules about Smoking Weed – Holland
Jacomijn is a police officer from The Netherlands who loves to show you how to travel the world Safe, Healthy and Active!! Safe and Healthy Travel is a MUST!