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Pickpockets On The Prowl!

My pickpocketing encounter and how to avoid falling a victim

By Benedette UchePublished 3 months ago 3 min read
Pickpockets On The Prowl!
Photo by on Unsplash

I can’t believe it happened to me.

I have always been very careful out there, especially during peak periods (rush hours) when the buses and trains are usually overcrowded.

I have watched those movies where someone intentionally bumps into people, apologises to them and walks away with a smile…

Only for the ‘bumped’ person to realise later that their wallet has been stolen (by that fellow that apologised to them earlier so nicely).

Each time I watched that scene, I usually think that the victim was daft. Like, how can a stranger suddenly bump into you and you don’t think that to be strange? How can you just walk away without checking your pockets to make sure that your belongings are intact? Why would you feel okay and wait until it is too late to apprehend the thief before you raise alarm? Yea… I know how to critique movies.

Then It Happened To Me

Last weekend, I used my bank card to tap in and get on the bus. The bus was crowded but I was able to get a seat upstairs. Minutes later, I got off the bus. It was a freezing evening and I needed to keep warm. So, I quickly put my hands in my jacket pockets…

Behold, my bank card was gone. I noticed that my left pocket was turned inside out and that was where I had put the card. I couldn’t believe it. I searched all over me, including my backpack (I was sure I didn’t put it in my backpack but you know how it is when you can’t believe you lost something and you’re looking for it where you didn’t put it).

But it was gone. By this time the bus had already left. So there was no chance of me reporting to the driver.

I quickly got out my phone, opened the Bank Mobile App and froze the stolen card. Immediately, all the anxiety and anger I felt earlier were replaced by pity for whoever stole the card. The card is frozen and it will be declined whenever they try to use it for any transaction.

As I walked home, I thought: ‘What a shame. If this person had asked me for some money, I may have given them. But they decided to steal my card and now the card is useless to them. How can anybody think about stealing a card to use later in this era of mobile banking? What a pity. But that is what they get for stealing my card from right under my nose.’

By Stephen Phillips - on Unsplash

How To Avoid Becoming A Victim Of Pickpockets

Be very aware of your environment. Everyone may be going home at the end of the day but some of your co-travellers may be looking for who to rob. Do not be the victim.

Put away your wallets and phones in a secure place. When I realised that my bank card was stolen, I regretted leaving it in my jacket pocket even though that is where I always put my card. I decided henceforth to put it in my backpack after using it since I usually carry my backpack on my lap when I’m sitting on the bus.

If you have a feeling that something is not right, check yourself to ensure that your stuff is intact. Don’t just wave it aside.

Before you get off public transport, ensure that you have all your belongings with you. Don’t wait until you’re outside. By then the bus or train may have left already.

We all have what is called personal space. Be careful with those standing or sitting too close to you, especially in crowded places. ‘Pickpocket’ is not written on faces. They may seem nice but you never can tell. Be safe and be alert.

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