The Bottleneck Pickpocket Technique and Ways You Can Avoid It
The public transportation system is a necessity in the lives of commuters and travelers. Without buses and trains, going from one place to another can be very expensive. Not everyone has a car or is willing to bike all the way through. Not all travelers or tourists can afford to rent cars and take cab rides. This is why at the busiest hours of the day, platforms and terminals are filled with hundreds of people just trying to get on and off at their stops.
Unfortunately, rush hour commutes also make these places a feast for pickpockets. People often think that pickpockets are lone wolves working solitary operations lifting wallets and phones off unsuspecting victims. The reality is that many pickpockets work in organized groups in crowded places such as these. How?
Take a look at this video.
“The Bottleneck”: How It Works
The pickpocket’s technique that you just witnessed is called the bottleneck. In places where people crowd and wait to move in one direction, a pickpocket’s accomplices will create a blockage at a passageway so that more people will gather as they push forward. As people crowd around them, the target is no longer in the mindset of trying to sense whether their belongings are still safe. They just want to get to the exit.
Even when the target realizes that their valuables are being taken, it can be quite hard to turn around to see who the pickpocket is. In the rare moment that they see who it is, the pickpocket’s accomplices may start to create an even tighter blockage to prevent the target from running after the thief.
How to Protect Yourself
Pickpockets are smart, we can tell you that. They can always think of ingenious ways to outsmart someone for a quick buck. So, what can you do to protect yourself? Here are some tips:
- Keep your bags in front of you and close to your body.
- If you can help it, limit the number of bags you’re bringing so that you have at least one of your hands free to shield yourself or to help you navigate a crowd.
- Keep your cash in your clothes. It would be better if the pockets were inside or secured by a button or zipper, like on this shirt. Deep pockets are also better than shallow pockets. The Clever Travel Companion carries the best travel clothing designed to keep your valuables safe and as close to your body as possible without being obvious.
- Travel earlier or later than the busy hours if you can.
- Know your way around a station, terminal, or platform. The same goes for schedules and directions.
- Keep your travel card ready in one hand so that you do not have to stop in the middle of a crowd to look for it inside your pockets or bag.
- Avoid answering phone calls or texting when you are about to board or disembark.
Keep these in mind the next time you travel to avoid losing your valuables. If you stay alert and travel smart, you’ll get to your destination safely whether you’re traveling as a tourist or just heading off to work.