Today I had two guys trying to steal my things in a local bus using the sandwich technique (pressing against you from each direction). This has happened to me a lot of times, in a lot of countries, but they never got away with it so far. Here are a few tips that will help you keep your belongings. A lot of the tips are common sense, but it’s still good to be reminded of them.
- Don’t have valuables in a wide pocket or open handbag
- If you have a backpack, have a lock on the pockets and keep it in front of you when you are waiting or are in a local transport
- Same with a handbag keep it in front of you when you are not walking
- If people are within a hands distance from you, keep your hands in the pockets (or where your valuables are)
- Don’t think you can recognize a pick pocket; he can be a homeless guy or a guy in suit. At a carnival in India I caught one guy in suit and a business suitcase with his hand in my pocket, probably with a hidden compartment in his suitcase to easily stash away new things.
- Pick pockets work both by themselves and in pair. In the later case, the accomplice usually stops in front of you with the intention that you walk into them, while the pick pocket are behind you stealing your things. Another common distraction is also when the accomplice ask you a question to distract you.
- A common technique is that pick pockets hides their hands with a jacket or newspaper (in crowded places)
- Be extra careful in places where you are more easily chosen in a crowd, for example if you are the only white face or the only one with shorts.
To minimize the eventual damage you can do this:
- Have only the necessary valuables and money with you at all time
- Use a cheap phone when you don’t need your fancy/work mobile phone
- Don’t walk around with your passport, instead have a photo copy of it with you
- Use several small size memory cards for your camera instead of a big one
- Back up your pictures so at least you have them if your camera gets stolen
The most common place to steal from you is at tourist spots, local transports and in generally crowded places. This specially includes train stations, metro and busses.