... what in the world is a group of pickpockets? It seems there’s no official term, but we need to call them something.
We considered an intrusion (cockroaches), a plague (locusts), or a scourge (mosquitoes), but we received complaints from the cockroaches, locusts, and mosquitoes that this would tarnish their images. We therefore propose to use “filch,” as in “a filch of pickpockets.”
Our most recent post describes how a filch of pickpockets managed to filch Dad’s money. This post explains how this would have been prevented had dad included a little squash in his pickpocket repellent.
Dad was highly alert to pickpockets … but he was guarding luggage in the train station, and his focus was quite naturally directed toward the luggage (and anyone who came near). This afforded the “filch” an opportunity to approach from the rear, make their withdrawal, and then withdraw to count their loot.
Our first suggestion (last week) was to continuously shift position if ever left behind to guard bags or other belongings. Small movements are fine. Just don't give the filch a predictable angle from which to approach the unwatched side.
Add to this the squash … any guard can virtually eliminate the blind side risk by “squashing” your belongings between the sentry and any impenetrable structure that may be at hand. A wall is nice. A corner is ideal.
This is one case where having your “back against the wall” or being “backed into a corner” is the perfect situation. Had Dad backed himself against a wall (and one can assume there were walls in a train station), he could have completely eliminated the chance that a filch could approach from his blind side.
Tip: Buy in to an unhappy fact of pickpocketing. You are always at risk if your back is exposed. No exceptions. Recognizing this truth leads you to position yourself so your back is covered, perhaps eliminating the possibility of even being a target.
Tip: Shrubbery, park benches, and other barriers that have holes do not completely block access. No barrier is impenetrable unless it's impenetrable.