Last month, 72 year old Chet Dunham fought off a 275 pound pickpocket with his walking cane as he was walking down a quiet street in Detroit. The 23 year old culprit was eventually arrested, and learnt that pickpocketing isn’t a good idea after all (Source:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2598152/Beaten-away-walking-cane-275-pound-pickpocket-learns-hard-way-72-year-old-man-no-easy-target.html#ixzz2yNE9d9Dy )
While most reading this aren’t at that stage of life to carry a cane (and as an improvised weapon), there are practical travel tips which we can take to keep our valuables safe. Thieves have evolved in their sneaky tactics, but these are 3 timeless travel protection tips that still work today.
1) Keep your Belongings with You
Be it your phone or your camera, the first step to preventing your belongings safe is to keep them with you all the time.
Thieves prey on our short moments of vulnerability and we cannot afford to make such costly mistakes. You can also have a trusted friend to watch over your items while you go to the washroom or have to leave your belongings momentarily.
2) Front or Inside Pockets
Most of us naturally place our most important items into our front pockets, but sometimes our wallets end up in our back pockets for comfort. Amateur pickpockets love it when our wallets are in the back pockets. It takes a lot more skill to get a wallet or phone from the front pocket and it takes us a much shorter time to notice the item is missing.
The inside pockets of your jacket ( if you are wearing one) is another good location. Many of these inner pockets have a zip or flap designed to prevent the items from falling out. Zipping up your jacket will help further prevent intrusion into your valuables.
Also make it a habit to note place too many things in different pockets or switch them around. Using just 1 or 2 pockets which you can constantly keep track of your items will reduce the chances of you realizing your lost your item too late.
3) Lock Your Bags
While it seems to be a hassle, locking your bag ensures that the items that can’t fit into your pockets are also secure. Videos has shown that it takes less than 10 seconds for organised thieves to steal from open bags. A simply twist lock will certainly slow down and deter most opportunistic thieves. Pacsafe is a company that produces travel bags with integrated locks and slash proof meshes on your bag to deter and prevent theft. However, always be on the look out for any suspicious persons or sometimes overly kind people.
We’ve seen CCTV footage of thieves working in groups to steal an item. Depending on the environment, their teams can range from 2 to 7 people. There will be somebody to distract the victim, another to snatch the bag, and the rest usually surrounds the victims from curious onlookers or to prevent the victim from retrieving his bag. With this increasing trend, we need to do more to protect our valuables.
While these tips are useful, a determined thief will find a way into your valuables, so for the most part, don’t let them get an easy prize.