The Secrets of the World’s Best Pickpockets

As a New York City resident, you know that pickpocketing is quite common. But did you know that pickpocketing is most often performed in teams, with each member of the group having a specific job? The “steer” selects a victim, or “mark” or “vic”. A “stall” distracts the mark, while a “shade” obscures the actual act of theft – which is known as the “dip” – which is performed by the “tool” or “mechanic”. Easy enough?

Here’s a more in depth look at the “Art of Pickpocketing”:

1.Location, Location, Location: the first obstacle a pickpocket must overcome is personal space. Most people are defensive when another person stands to close, placing reason behind why most thieves work in crowds and places where people are close together. This includes, crowded subways, buses, street corners, parades, etc.
2.Choosing a Victim: Pickpockets will usually avoid confrontation and select a victim that poses the least risk. They will also pick the victim by knowing what valuables they have and where they are holding them.
3.Creating a Distraction: pickpockets who know what they are doing will usually ask someone a simple questions that will take the focus off his or her possessions. The trick they use to refocus your attention in the wrong place. They will do so by grazing your arm or touching your shoulder to take the attention of them slipping their other hand into your pocket for your iPhone.
4.Using Science to Their Advantage: a master pickpocket will use your movements against you. For instance, if you are in an elevator, the thief might position himself behind you with a jacket hiding his working hand. Rather than pulling the phone out of your pocket, he simply pinched the exposed corner, and when the door opens, allows your own walking motion to fluidly dislodge it.

Did you learn anything? Great. Now check out these 5 easy ways to beat a pickpocket!:

1.Don’t Be That Easy Target: Easy targets include tourists who aren’t aware, those carrying fanny packs, people staring down at their phones in their own world. Don’t be oblivious to your surroundings! Make your personal belongings difficult to steal and always be aware of the movements and people around you.
2.Put Your Wallet in Your Front Pocket: Most guys tend to put their wallets in their back pockets. Change this! Start carrying your wallet in your front pocket to make it more difficult, if not impossible for a pickpocket to grab it.
3.Carry Your Purse in Front of You: Women tend to carry their bags on their sides or on their hips. When you are in large crowds, carry your purse in front of you and make sure it has a working zipper, not a snap.
4.Keep Important Items in a Different Place: Keep your ids, documents, cash and credit cards in a place other than your wallet, so that if you are pickpocketed, the thief doesn’t walk away with much.
5.Keep Your Valuables Hidden: When in large crowds or heavy populated subways, keep your iPhone, wallet and other valuable items away. Half of pickpocketing is knowing what you have and where you keep it.

Learn more on the art of pickpocketing!