Pickpockets prefer women. Why and what to do.

Pickpockets prefer women!

Bambi Vincent in Khasab, Oman. Pickpockets prefer women.
Bambi in Khasab, Oman

It’s not that we’re any less savvy. It’s the darn handbag. It’s simply easier for a pickpocket to slip his fingers into a bag than into a pocket. Or worse, to grab the whole bag. Our research proves it: pickpockets prefer women!

Anti-Theft Tips for Women

Don’t send signals that you’re worth the thief’s effort. Forget the flashy jewelry when you’re out and about. Knock-off watches and costume jewelry are no better; the thief can’t tell they’re fake.

Public restrooms: Rude, but true: you may or may not notice a hand reach over the door and snag your bag off the hook at the most inopportune moment. Loop it around the hook and keep your eye on it. Dropped coins in the stall beside could be a distraction ruse.

If you carry a purse, try to give it nerve endings: hold it snug against your body, never let it stick out behind you, especially never let it stick out behind you open.

  • Use a wide-strapped bag and wear the strap diagonally across your chest, or a short-strapped one with the purse tucked under your arm.
  • Keep your bag closed properly. If it has a flap, wear the flap against your body.
  • Keep your wallet at the bottom of your purse.
  • Never hang your purse on the back of a chair in a public place, where it’s out of your sight. Keep it on your lap. If you must put it on the floor, tuck the strap under your thigh, or put the chair leg through it.
  • Be sure your purse is in front of you as you enter revolving doors, board trains, etc.
  • Never leave your purse in a shopping cart or baby stroller.
  • Never set your purse down in a shop so you can turn your attention elsewhere.
  • To prevent a drive-by bag snatch, walk far from the curb, on the side of the street towards traffic.
  • If your bag is snatched, let it go. It may be impossible to fight the instinct to hold on, but try to ingrain that thought. You can get seriously hurt in a bag snatch.
Pickpockets prefer women. Secure your fanny pack zippers with paperclips, or anything to slow a thief.
Secure your fanny pack zippers with paperclips, or anything to slow a thief.

Fanny packs may not be the height of fashion, but they are very safe if you secure the zippers, which are easily opened by practiced thieves. Use a safety pin, a paperclip fastened to a rubberband around the belt strap, or string. Anything to make opening the zipper more difficult.Hotel lobbies are not secure enough to leave bags unguarded.

Business travelers:

  • Don’t leave your purse, laptop, or briefcase unguarded at hotel breakfast buffets. “Breakfast thieves” specialize in stealing these at upscale hotels.
  • Always make sure your hotel room door closes completely when you leave.
  • Do not carry your electronic card key in its folder marked with your room number.
  • In nightclubs, do not leave your drink unattended. Drink-drugging is a growing problem.
  • Stow your stuff safely in underclothes pouches.

For a summary of common (and not-so-common) thefts, cons, and scams, see Pickpockets, Con Artists, Scammers, and Travel.

© Copyright 2008-2013 Bambi Vincent. All rights reserved.

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