Pick pockets blend in to the background in busy Central London retail stores as it is integral to not stand out as it raises the chances of them being caught. Our London retail security guards are well versed in detecting and deterring pick pockets. We have written this article to cover steps you can take to avoid being a victim of pick pocketing and have highlighted the common methods and ploys used by pickpockets.
7 Steps You Can Take To Avoid Being Pick Pocketed in London
Incidences of pickpocketing increase around this time of year as we approach the festive period, don't become a victim and take these easy and practical steps to protect yourself.
Carry wallets in an interior pocket and keep handbags zipped
Use only hand and shoulder bags with zippers
Carry strapped bags across the front of your body so that the flaps are up against your body and don't take them off an hang them whilst clothes shopping
For shorter strapped bags keep them tucked under your arm and don't place bags on the floor when shopping
Don't have money out on show
Keep phones in a zipped up pocket
Do not put anything in external pockets
Pick Pockets Need To Invade Your Personal Space
Below is a diagram illustrating personal space. For a pick pocket to be effective they need to be in a persons intimate circle. Next we will look at the methods and ways they use to get in a persons intimate circle.
Common Tactics Pick Pockets Use in London
Here are some of the major methods pickpockets deploy:
The Opportunists: Pickpockets operate in Central London retail shops and department stores, where people are moving slowly and are distracted by their surroundings and shopping making them an easy target for a pick pocket to brush past and steal valuables.
Crowding: Thieves know that the festive period brings big shopping crowds to the West End. One strategy is for a number of pick pockets to crowd up to their victim in a busy store and then quickly reaching into the victim's pocket to take their wallet, phone, or handbag.
Escalator Jam: Pickpockets in London often use escalators to target their victims. It happens when the pick pocket is behind the target and their accomplice is in front of the target. The person in front will start a backup as soon as they reach the end of the escalator, trapping the victim. The perpetrator might then take the victim's wallet or phone from their back pocket as a result whilst they are distracted with the person in front and get a bump from the pick pocket behind.
Bump and lift: This is when the unsuspecting victim is looking at an item in store and the pick pocket bumps in to them. They quickly apologise and go on their way and it is not until later that the person realises they have been a victim of crime.
The Helpful Stranger: The pick pocket approaches the target and says something like you have something on your shirt or coat and automatically wipe it off, enabling them to get close enough to dip in to the persons bag or pockets.
The Hugger Mugger: In order to rob you, a pick pocket may pretend they know you and give you a hug or link arms with you to get close enough to take your phone or wallet from you.
Bag slashing: This is when a pick pocket will cut a hole in the bottom of their victims bag to gain access to the items inside. This is easy to do in a crowded space and when someone has their bag on their back.
The Easy Dip: Bags left unzipped or unbuttoned will catch the eye of pickpockets and are an easy target. They will follow their target until an opportunity presents itself.
The Distraction: Typically, a stranger will ask you for directions using a map, and while you are giving out the directions, another person may pickpocket you while you are preoccupied. Sometimes they may have an accomplice that will shout or cause a scene to distract their target also.
The Pair: Pickpockets often work in pairs or small teams, one will distract while the other will dip and steal.
The Concealed Hand: pickpockets often use items such as clothes to cover their hand whilst they carry out the crime.
Below is a short video where a sleight of hand specialist talks about pick pocketing movie scenes in a good level of detail. The best way to detect a pick pocket is to know them and their tricks!
Contact Fahrenheit Security the number 1 retail security guard company in London.