Pickpocket Repellent Ingredient #3 - No Flashing
We’ll continue the example from Ingredient #2, wherein “Dad” (in view of anyone in the train station concourse, if you can believe it) removed money from his pocket, gave some to the kids, and put the rest back in his front pants pocket, carefully zipping the pocket all the way up.
This is the first of Dad’s several mistakes, and one that was oh so easily avoided. He “flashed” the transfer of money, and more importantly, he then placed the remaining cash back into the ‘safety’ of the pocket (or purse, backpack, bag, suitcase, fanny pack). This one mistake showed the loitering pickpockets that he had cash, exactly where he kept it, and suddenly he was a prime target.
Think of it from the pickpocket’s perspective. They’re always nearby, watching and waiting. They aim their eyes at signs, magazines, menus, or their ice cream to look like they belong, all the while scanning with their peripheral vision. They see hundreds or thousands of people every hour, but before making a move, they need to know where the loot resides.
The flash is an instant giveaway. Now they just move in with a well-rehearsed technique to surreptitiously extract cash from a zipped front pants pocket, and voila, dinner is on Dad.
Worst of all, the flash should have easily been avoided. Give each of the kids twenty bucks in the privacy of your hotel room before leaving in the morning. There’s often hesitancy to give money to kids because they might lose it, but that’s usually a pretty small risk, and you only need to give them enough for the day.