Large gatherings of tourists, whether it’s for an event or to see a popular attraction, bring pickpockets out of the woodwork looking for opportunity. And, statistics show that pickpockets are capitalizing on that opportunity.. In London alone in the time leading up to the Olympics, the number of pickpockets rose to 1,700 per day, which is an increase of almost 20% when compared to reports from 2 years earlier. A major tourist hub like Rome reports 300 pickpocket incidents a day, and who knows how many more go unreported. It turns out raising awareness about pickpockets isn’t fear mongering, it’s just reality.
So what can you do to protect yourself in this climate of high pickpocketing risks? Certainly the most obvious and best thing to do is to stay alert, especially when there are large groups around you or something just doesn’t feel right. Be careful, however, because this mentality can turn you into quite the paranoid person that is no longer open to experiencing travel completely if you’re not careful. The point is to learn from the cultural exchange, not to spend the entire time second guessing every person you encounter.
Skip the change in demeanor and take extra precautions before you walk out onto the street. It doesn’t matter if the world’s best pickpocket gang is waiting for you if your wallet is carefully protected in a place that’s out of reach. A thief may grab something in your purse or pocket, but everything of value will be kept safely next to your person. This peace of mind is surely worth the nominal cost, much less the cost of actually losing your valuables.
Innovative products on the market have stayed one step ahead of the pickpocket gangs. Underwear with zippered pockets from Clever Travel Companion, for example, is one of the most secure ways to carry your valuables. It’s the best way to handle the climate of increased pickpocket attempts without spinning off into a paranoid tourist, skeptical of the very place that you so desired to experience.