Former Pickpockets Share Insider Secrets To Avoid Becoming A Victim

Kasia Mikolajczak
hands with an empty wallet
Unsplash | Emil Kalibradov

Let me ask you, have you ever been pickpocketed? It's definitely quite the violation, no? But it seems that the recent changes in fashion have made things harder for professional robbers to steal stuff from you.

So they had to improvise and change the way they do things. A recent Reddit thread asked, "Former pickpockets of Reddit, what changes in clothing fashion made your job harder/easier?" and I was really surprised by the answers people provided. I've got a few of them for you below.

This Hipster Trend

man wearing a baggy jacket
Unsplash | Ben Weber

"Baggy jackets and shirts inspired by hipsters, on the other hand, have made my job a lot easier. Sadly, their pockets only usually have roll-up tobacco, so it's not worth it."

Ha, ha, that's pretty funny. Am I right?

These Details

Jessie from Breaking Bad saying "What?"
Giphy | Breaking Bad

"I am a pickpocket, and I find pouches with peg and loop toggles easy. The trend for metal buckles with the pouch facing the leg did make things difficult. Adding a pouch to the inside of trouser legs going the whole way down makes swords a doddle to wander off with."

I'm already lost here.

This Sad Fact

woman with her hand in her pocket
Unsplash | Samanta Sokolova

"I know several magicians who use pickpocket skills in their act, they all agree that the small and shallow pockets common in women's pants make pickpocketing easier."

Maybe fashion brands will finally start giving us ladies proper pockets. Come on!

This Wallet Defence

wallet with a chain
Unsplash | Nicola Styles

"The wallet chain. But only cause how cool and hardcore it looks, would never pickpocket such a badass, scared they might kick my ass if I got caught."

Aha, no wonder my fiancé wears one. It isn't just for looks, ha, ha.

This Magic Trick

woman in tight jeans
Unsplash | Thibaut Santy

"I'm a 23-year-old and a magician. I do a bit of pickpocketing and reverse pickpocketing during my routine. Anyone who is wearing tight clothing, or shorts has made it pretty much impossible to steal from or ditch items to."

Oh, so tight pants are worth wearing after all.

This Fashion Choice

man wearing a hoodie
Unsplash | The Ian

"Anyone wearing a hoodie has made it super god damn easy."

Oh, I guess it's because if you try to pat them they won't feel it due to the bulk of the hoodie. It makes total sense to me.

The Fanny Pack

woman in a yellow dress and a fanny pack
Unsplash | Joanna Nix-Walkup

"The fanny pack made things very difficult for a while, thankfully it's not very fashionable anymore."

I actually still see plenty of people wearing them, hee-hee. I bet they will be happy to hear this. Perhaps I should start wearing one, too.

This Opposite View

older man saying "Aha!"

"When you're in another country the fanny pack is the international symbol for 'I'm an oblivious American tourist probably carrying around lots of cash and valuables'. It's basically like painting a target on your back for local pickpockets."

Okay then, wear your fanny pack on the inside of your clothes and you'll be alright.

This Absent-Minded Culture

cell phone lying on a counter
Unsplash | Le Buzz

"Late to the thread but the number of high-schoolers that just leave their phones and wallets on tables and walk away from them to get food is absurd. Also, the lanyard out the pocket thing is basically asking for someone to tug it out."

Well, I guess if they're not watching them it's fair game.

This Fashionable Item

woman wearing black leggings and sports bra
Unsplash | Subtle Cinematics

"Leggings have made it impossible."

Okay, first of all, what would you even hide in your leggings? Like, you can't put a wallet in there. Am I right? So I don't get this unless they have some hidden pockets.

This Clever Idea

woman saying "So clever!"
Giphy | Kim's Convenience

"A skirt. Sew a pouch on the inside all around the waistband, as soon as you grab something drop it in, and so one will even be able to tell that it's there."

I have to say this is such a clever idea. I'd have to do this when I travel.

This Phone Trick

woman looking at a map
Unsplash | Fred Moon

"While in Europe and sitting at a restaurant, our waiter warned us that 'tourists' will come up to you with a map and ask for directions. They hold the map out over your table and then take your phone if it's just sitting there on the table. People being careless with their wallets/phones while sitting can make you an easy target."

I can totally see that happening and you can't even blame your choice of clothing for it, hee-hee.

This Suit Warning

man tightening a tie on his shirt
Unsplash | Ruthson Zimmerman

"Also, I should say that if you come up to me wearing a suit and suit pants, I'm going to steal everything you have by the end of my show. It's stupid easy to steal from someone wearing a suit."

Yikes, I had no idea.

This Clever Trick

kid talking to a man saying "so smart."
Giphy | CBS

"I had a pair of trousers once that stopped a guy picking my wallet. The pockets had a narrow opening but were wider on the inside, so I could only pass them through the opening in a certain way."

"Whenever I put my wallet back in the pocket, I rotated it 90 degrees inside the pocket to prevent (originally only accidental) loss, but this also stopped a boy pickpocket in Berlin from getting successful. He managed to get away, though."

Aha, I like that!

This Shirt Trend

man wearing a white untucked shirt and jeans
Unsplash | Jeremy McGilvrey

"Also, people don't wear their shirts tucked in as often. It's harder to lift a wallet with the shirt covering the pocket. It can be done, but it's hard to identify where the wallet is in the first place."

I would never have thought of it like that. That's a great tip, huh?

Those Joggers

man sitting wearing joggers
Unsplash | Grailify

"Joggers have crazy legroom, and most people with joggers are teens with rich parents, meaning if there's a wallet it has 400 at least; if there's a phone, it's usually an expensive one. Vape pens are commonly seized as well."

That sounds like a good score.

These Cargo Shorts

man wearing camouflage cargo shorts
Amazon | Amazon

"Cargo shorts made it soooo easy to snag phones and wallets from my friends. I'd always do it as a party gag."

Duly, noted. I'll let my guy know to never wear those in public, ha, ha.

This Trend In India

Indian flag
Unsplash | Naveed Ahmed

"In India, crowded buses — pickpockets give 0 [expletive] about your clothes. My uncle had a complete 4-inch slit with a (1/2 side) razor blade. The slit went thru a partial wallet and they made away. This was 5-8 years ago, though."

And this is sadly why I'll probably never travel there.

Okay, so what have we learned from these tips?

woman picking up a notebook and saying "Okay, alright."

For starters, always wear tight clothes with deep pockets when you travel. That way, you'll notice if somebody wants to pickpocket you. Oh, and for the love of everything, don't put your wallet in your back pocket. You're basically asking for trouble. Also, don't put any valuables in a backpack. I've learned that lesson the hard way.