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Tourists And Pick Pockets

New York, NY
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Tourists And Pick Pockets

We live in a part of Manhattan that is very popular with tourists--near Lincoln Center and Strawberry Fields. Among the ways tourists are noticeable to the locals are the obvious precautions taken to prevent from being pick pocketed. You see people with cross bags, bags hugged to the body, neck carriers and all manner of protection. I assume there are hidden money belts and perhaps even body armor.

Pick pocketing is a non-issue to the people who live in our neighborhood. It is never discussed, there are no precautions taken and I have never heard of it having happened. It must have happened to tourists, witness all the precautions. The question is, are the obvious precautions an attraction to pickpockets? Any thoughts?

Dallas, Texas...
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for New York City
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11. Re: Tourists And Pick Pockets

Interesting article on the "lost art" of pick pocketing. It's becoming rare all over the U.S., including NYC. slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2011/02/t… They state it's still common in Europe though.

San Frantastic
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12. Re: Tourists And Pick Pockets

I don't know about looking "tourist-y" making you a target. We have been having lots of purse/phone snatching going on in San Francisco lately. The police are telling people not to use their cell phones on the bus! The victims of these thefts are locals. I've had 2 warnings just this week (on a campus e-mail alert system) about robberies on the street -- and these people were just walking to work.

Granted, your classic "pickpocket" may be another issue. But if someone physically accosts you, cross-body bag or not, you'll most likely give it to them. Keep your money in your front pocket and don't meander around talking on your cell phone (or, even worse, listening to music with earbuds).

Just some suggestions...for wherever you are. As I said, theft on the street is happening even to San Franciscans, in San Francisco. No tourist vibe required.

Syracuse, New York
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13. Re: Tourists And Pick Pockets

I think being a tourist helps me. I've had my handbag stolen twice here is Syracuse. Never in NYC. Whether that's because I'm more aware of my surroundings in NYC, especially because I have more money on me than at home or just because I spend much more of my time in Syracuse & less in NYC but there it is.

Boston, MA
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14. Re: Tourists And Pick Pockets

I carry a cross body purse/bag almost all the time. I go for lower end brands such as relic and Rosetti. Much cheaper than that and straps tend to break.

I often flip my bag over one shoulder but will wear it as intended when traveling on the subway (especially if i am standing and need a free hand to hold on) or shopping or whatever. I do this at home, in NYC, at Disneyland ...

When I was a teen in Boston, occasionally the subway conductor would announce "known pick pocket on board". My parents instructed me to go NOTHING when I heard that. Many people would hear that & check to be sure they still had their wallet, basically showing anybody who was watching where they kept their wallet.

Melbourne, Australia
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for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
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15. Re: Tourists And Pick Pockets

I've been fortunate, as I've never been pick pocketed, but I have misplaced items.

Last March, I was rushing to catch a train in Tokyo, and I must have dropped my business card holder from my breast pocket of my jacket. It contained a couple credit cards, my hotel room key, business cards, ¥20,000 and maybe like AUD$150. Didn't notice I had dropped it until I finished a meeting a couple hours later, and I had walked into a shop to buy stuff. Disappointed, I caught a cab back to the hotel, asked them to charge it to my hotel room. Upon my return to the room, my business card holder was sitting on the desk - it had made it back to the hotel before I did, with nothing removed.

As it turns out, a fellow commuter handed it to the station attendant, who passed it onto a local patrol officer, who delivered it straight to the hotel. When I enquired as to when this was delivered to my hotel room, the time the hotel stated was an hour after I had caught the train. Remarkable. So there are equally honest people out there.

Edited: 18 April 2014, 18:15
Portland, Maine
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16. Re: Tourists And Pick Pockets

One thing not to do is to hang a purse over the back of the chair while you're dining. That is just too tempting a target.

Brooklyn, NY
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17. Re: Tourists And Pick Pockets

**The question is, are the obvious precautions an attraction to pickpockets?**

You are assuming that members of TA are pickpockets...

New York NY
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for New York City
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18. Re: Tourists And Pick Pockets

I've been on the subway with my computer bag wide open - my fault as I left it wide open - my iPad and laptop were sticking out in full view and it was on my back so I wouldn't have been able to see if somebody had tried to take it. I've actually left the bag open accidentally a couple times. Nobody took anything but I am convinced somebody got a free squirt of the hand sanitizer that was sticking out. I don't recommend this but I can tell you nobody has ever stolen anything.

Sydney, Australia
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19. Re: Tourists And Pick Pockets

I've never been pickpocketed anywhere including NYC. I've never felt like NYC was a pickpocket place anyway.

But I wear a cross body bag mainly for the convenience with having both hands free for cameras, phones, metrocard fumbling, purse rifling etc.

The security reason is also important.

QQ2
New York City, New...
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20. Re: Tourists And Pick Pockets

I can remember maybe 35 years ago a bus driver loudly announcing pickpockets on board,but not since then. There was a scam then when a couple of "pickers" would work together, one creating a distraction, the other doing the picking, and they would both exit the bus at the next stop.

These days I think the type of petty theft more likely to happen is either grabbing of a phone or tablet or grabbing of a purse left hanging on the back of a chair or elsewhere in the open.

I receive one of the "Our Town" local papers. They still have a "police blotter" section, and the crimes I seem to read about on the East Side of Manhattan usually involve opportunistic grabbing of electronic devices and purses and wallets (often left alone in a bar), holding up small businesses, and scams involving elderly residents and the emptying of their bank accounts. Plus the occasional late night mugging. I don't know if Our Town isn't interested in tourists or if no tourist crimes are reported in this area, but the crimes I read about seem to involve mostly locals.