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How to prevent a pickpocket stealing your valuables

Updated on July 10, 2011

Finding your personal belongings have been stolen and the traumatic distress it can cause and the inconvenience is any persons dreaded nightmare. There are people in the world that feel that your property is their own and do not think twice if they see an opportunity to take what is not rightfully theirs.

On a recent trip to London, I had the unfortunate incident of having my purse stolen on the Underground. Having travelled to parts of the world that have reputations for high crime, I was quite surprised to find I had my belongings stolen in what seemed innocuous circumstances, but it proves that this can happen in any place at any time, even if you do use preventative measures.

Its important to stay safe and be aware at all times. It is easy to forget where you are, chatting about which tourist attraction to visit next, plans for the evening and not being aware of the people around you and your belongings. Even if you are travelling on public transport or on a well worn journey its definitely worth being aware of your surroundings to prevent the possibility of them being put in the wrong hands.

Safety First

Remember, thieves are opportunists and will seek any chance to lift you of your belongings. If you are travelling in rush hour public transport and buses, trains are very busy ensure you have a bag that you can put over your shoulder and that you can pull to around the front. A bag that can be zipped and also closed from the outside would be ideal as this could prove to be a good deterrent for a would be thief. If you have internal zipped pockets in your bag it may be a good idea to put valuable belongings such as Iphones into these compartments, again to ensure your belongings are secure.

Always keep your bag to the front of you, this is especially important point if you have other bags on your person as it would be clear to the thief that you do not have your hands available to protect your belongings.

Its important to remember to keep your belongings in sight at all times. Sitting down for a coffee in a coffee shop with a friend and placing your bag to your side seems innocuous but your distraction talking could make you the ideal target for a pickpocket. its fair to say you can’t always be aware of your surroundings, but a few tips might help the next person from being in my situation.


Thieves love tourists, with all your suitcases, shopping bags and distraction at being at a new place makes you the perfect target. This is unfortunately how I was robbed. I was there with my rucksack and bags and didn't notice that my over the shoulder bag was behind me and with a busy London Underground I was the prime target. If you are travelling, try and be more alert to your surroundings and ensure your bag is safe from wondering hands.

Money pouches are always a good choice, as they can be hidden underclothing and prevent the loss of money and credit cards. Try and avoid carrying passports and all your holiday money, leave these in secure safes in your hotel.

It is important to have travel insurance, and could save you a few hundred pounds and distress if you are covered.

On busy public transport be aware of someone pushing you and distracting your attention it is one of the most common techniques of having your belongings stolen. The person behind will push you and their likely accomplice will have their hands in your pocket or bag before you realise your belongings have been stolen.

It is difficult on holiday to have to be aware of your surroundings, especially when you have travelled to relax and enjoy your break. However if you consider some of these actions it will save you some frustrations and also your opinion of locals will not be diminished.

If you do have your belongings stolen.....

Sometimes no matter how hard you try to avoid being robbed you can’t stop it happening. Try not to panic, gather your thoughts and head to the nearest police station. If you have had your whole bag stolen, go to a local shop for help and they may allow use of their phone to contact the local police station.

Speak calmly to the police and explain the situation, try and remember if you have a description of the thief to provide as much detail as possible. Try and remember what was in your purse, and write a list if possible and contact the relevant banks to report them stolen and for them to be cancelled.

If you have a mobile phone stolen, let the police know, and contact your provider to ensure the phone is blocked and cannot be used.

Remember wallets and purses are replaceable and if you carry belongings that hold sentimental value, try not to put them in your bag if you do not want to lose them. Try not to become paranoid about your belongings as this could ruin a good trip, just be aware that there are people that will try and steal without any remorse.

Unfortunately for myself, I did fall victim and for those few minutes of not being aware cost me my purse. I did have other valuable belongings in my bag but luckily they were not stolen. I am hoping that my travel insurance will cover the value of my purse and the money that was stolen, next time I will be more aware but sometimes there is just nothing that can be done to prevent such incidents.


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    • debbie roberts profile image

      Debbie Roberts 5 years ago from Greece

      It is a horrible way to think, but your hub is correct in pointing out that tourists are easy targets. You give some good tips in your hub.

    • Leanne1783 profile image

      Leanne1783 6 years ago from Bradford, United Kingdom

      I am sorry to hear that Suhana that is an awful lot of money to lose. I guess people are opportunists and skilled in pick pocketing and there is just no way to avoid it no matter how hard you try they are just too good.

    • profile image

      Suhana 6 years ago

      I just got pickpocked $5000 in Vietnam! I travelled all over and was extremely careful. But, God knows how they got my money!!!

    • Leanne1783 profile image

      Leanne1783 6 years ago from Bradford, United Kingdom

      Thanks for stopping by! I think thieves can target any time in any place if they see an opportunity. I like your tip on tight trousers, it definitely would help to prevent your belongings being stolen.

    • Alma Cabase profile image

      Alma Cabase 6 years ago from Philippines

      I never knew that there are also thieves in rich countries. Anyways, try to wear fit jeans. You can easily feel their hands getting into your pocket by doing so.

    • Corin profile image

      Corin 6 years ago

      Really useful. I will also add to be careful of group of children who are begging for money: most of the time, while they surround you, one of them will go for your pockets, watch...