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Pick Pocet article, The Atlantic, May 2019

This might be behind a paywall but you can search for it: “Watch Your Wallet.
Why pickpockets love our digitally distracted age”, by Rene Chun, The Atlantic magazine, May 2019 issue

High points: After several years of decline, pickpocketing is a growing criminal enterprise all over the world. The new operators are cooperative teams that are creating 21st Century versions of the age-old bump-and-grab lifts. Cash is still their prime goal but digital devices like phones and tablets are easy to snatch. They may be useless because they’re locked but they are cannibalized and sold for parts. Shoulder surfing at ATMs provides PINs and a team will then target a mark, waiting for an opportunity to grab wallets, purses, phones, or more. The victims are often talking on their phones or otherwise digitally distracted when the encounters, bumps, picks, and lifts are easily executed. This is a highly skilled craft, victims don’t have a clue for several minutes while the team has moved far away and found another mark. This is an international trend and it’s growing in the USA, too.

Posted by
20566 posts

How is that different than want has been constantly preached and discussed on this site. The take away is, "Stay Alert." Don't distract yourself or allow yourself to be distracted -- that is harder to do. But if you keep everything secure, your risk is less.

Posted by
2903 posts

Thank you for thoughtfully sharing this article with us. It is much apprecitated.

Posted by
8905 posts

Bogiesan, thanks again for taking time to share this article; it was a fascinating read.
Looks like the USA is catching up in this sector.....USA USA:)

Posted by
433 posts

How is that different than want has been constantly preached and discussed on this site. The take away is, "Stay Alert." Don't
distract yourself or allow yourself to be distracted -- that is harder to do. But if you keep everything secure, your risk is less.

Most of the attention around here tends to be advice directed at Americans visiting Europe and other countries. The importantly different thing about this article's focus is the research indicating that, after a long decline of several decades, pickpocketing is a growing criminal enterprise right here in the USA. And, while we often see "pay attention" and "be aware", we don't often see the advice of avoiding digital distraction. Walking and talking on your phone not only increases your chances of stupidly stepping off a curb into traffic, it makes you an attractive target for pickpocketing teams. Being aware is not the same as deligently practicing safe phone.

Posted by
5548 posts

And don’t put your phone on the table while dining or having a drink in an outdoor cafe.

Posted by
1869 posts

Thanks so much for sharing this article. Last fall when we were in Ljubljana our guide mentioned that "organized pickpockets" were brought into the city. Yes, phones are easily snatched. We were at a recent RS class and our presentor (RS travel advisor/guide) said a tour member had his phone snatched from his back pocket. That said, securing valuables can prevent this.

Posted by
5235 posts

Riding public transit in and around San Francisco there are many signs warning " eyes up, phones down" and advising against using phones near exit doors. Fun and games all around the world.

Posted by
49 posts

Another good case against multitasking, I think. I never talk on the phone while on the ATM, or anything that requires me to give out sensitive information.