Tags: Crowds | Provide | Safe | Harbor | for | Pickpockets

Crowds Provide a Safe Harbor for Pickpockets

Friday, 30 December 2005 12:00 AM

Hectic after-Christmas sales, crowded airports and train stations, packed concerts, as well as other winter events that attract thousands of people.

What do they all have in common?

They all provide the ideal surroundings for pickpockets.

Here are a few fundamental things you can do, according the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, to help safeguard yourself from the dreaded pickpocket.

First of all, let's clear up some widespread misconceptions about pickpockets:

1. The pickpocket target areas are back trouser pockets and suit coat and sports jacket pockets, located both inside and out. In general, a pickpocket avoids front trouser pockets and especially buttoned or zippered pockets.

2. If you have to carry your wallet in an unbuttoned jacket, coat or pants pocket, be sure it holds only what you can afford to lose. Keep large sums of money, credit cards, IDs, etc., in your front pocket or any buttoned or zippered pocket. Some people even place a rubber band around their wallet because the rubber band creates friction and rubs against the fabric of your pocket if someone is attempting to remove it without your knowledge.

3. Never pat your pocket to see if your wallet is there. This just lets the pickpocket know the exact location of your valuables.

4. Larger-size "pocket secretaries" are particularly inviting to pickpockets, and relatively easy to steal.

1. Do not carry your wallet in your purse.

2. Use a purse that is difficult to open. A purse with a zipper or snaps is best.

3. If you are carrying a shoulder bag, place the strap(s) diagonally across your body – as opposed to carrying it on one shoulder. This keeps the purse in front of you, instead of at your side or behind you. If you are carrying a handbag, make sure to hold it close to the front of your body, instead of holding it on your wrist or loosely in your hand.

4. Never leave your purse unattended on a store counter or in a grocery shopping cart.

For more details, please go to the Metropolitan Police Department's Web site at www.mpdc.dc.gov and check with your local law enforcement agency's Crime Prevention Officer.

And remember, your loss to a pickpocket may not be just the few dollars you may have in your pocket. In this day and age of rampant identity theft, an experienced pickpocket may be able to obtain your personal information from your purse or wallet, and if they use that data to assume your identity, your monetary losses can easily run to the many thousands of dollars!

(Note: If you manufacture or distribute any Security, Safety, Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Defense or Crime Prevention related products, please send information on your product line for possible future reference in this column to: CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.)

Copyright 2005 by Bruce Mandelblit

"Staying Safe" with Bruce Mandelblit is a regular column for the readers of NewsMax.com and NewsMax.com Magazine.

Bruce welcomes your thoughts. His e-mail address is: CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.

Bruce is a nationally known security journalist, as well as a recently retired, highly decorated reserve Law Enforcement Officer.

Bruce writes Staying Safe, a weekly syndicated column covering the topics of security, safety and crime prevention.

Bruce was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel – the state's highest honor – for his public service.

This column is provided for general information purposes only. Please check with your local law enforcement agency and legal professional for information specific to you and your jurisdiction.

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Hectic after-Christmas sales, crowded airports and train stations, packed concerts, as well as other winter events that attract thousands of people. What do they all have in common? They all provide the ideal surroundings for pickpockets. Here are a few fundamental...
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Friday, 30 December 2005 12:00 AM
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