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Skooblevart’s Pickpocket Repellent

We’ll use the example in Ingredient #2 (April 29, 2015), wherein “Dad” removed money from his pocket, gave some to the children, and put the rest back in his front pants pocket, carefully zipping the pocket all the way up.  Last time we gave him kudos.  Now we get into the first of his laundry list of mistakes.  Sorry Dad.  Your pain, their gain!

The first of Dad's failures was that he “flashed” a money transfer.  The flash refers to returning the money, or any valuable, to a pocket, purse, satchel, backpack, suitcase, fanny pack, money belt ….. this one mistake made it five to 10 times more likely that Dad would be a victim even though he was on high alert and his money was in what would normally be considered an extremely secure place.  Front pants pocket, against the body, pocket fully zipped.

Putting ourselves in the pickpocket’s shoes will show why.

In any semi-crowded area, you can bet at least one team of pickpockets lurks, seeking a series of easy thefts.  To find the easy targets they scan the crowd without appearing to do so.  They aim their eyes at signs, magazines, menus, or their ice cream while looking all around with their peripheral vision. 

They easily identify the tourists.  Their income stream is in that group, but where’s the loot?  It could be in any shoe, hat, up a sleeve, under a shirt … before making a move, they need more information.

The flash is an instant giveaway, when a person gives something or takes something, and then puts their hand in their pocket.  Now the bad guys know who, as well as the best strategy for picking the pocket.  They move into range, wait for the person(s) to look in the other direction, and then within seconds, or often less than a second, they nab the goods and casually drift away.

Tip to avoid flashing :  Distribute money 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. 

Too Bad Dad!  You should have divided earlier and avoided the trans flash.

Next week, ingredient #4.