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Insider warns tourists about criminal desperation and what awaits when the pandemic is over

Lisa Bergsen | Friday, 15. January 2021

This past year has been hard for most of us, and especially the travel industry. But also for some we usually don’t think about (and rightfully so); The criminals, pickpockets, and robbers that have been living in luxury from the extreme abundance of tourism, but are now in desperation after the pandemic has shut down their entire supply of income; “tourists”

Our inside source tells us:

They’ve fled back to their home town - after going from making $4.000 a week, to nothing.

These highly skilled pickpockets don’t want to work low-income jobs. They’re desperate to get back in the game of pickpocketing. And a new (common) belief has turned into something very concerning.

They believe that when the pandemic is over, traveling and tourism will be bigger than ever before. People will be anxious to get away from their homes and travel on holiday. A big wave of tourism will come and the criminals want to be ready for it and take as much as possible.

As if the bad times weren’t motivating enough, this new belief has caused criminal groups wanting to exploit the opportunity and has started to plan and recruit a lot more people to become skilled pickpockets. Young adults, teens, and even children are easily attracted to this opportunity.

Every day, they’re practicing hard with professionals. Pickpocketing is a craft that’s difficult to master, but with such intensity, it seems very likely that tourists will have a lot more pickpockets to worry about in the future.

They’re looking at satellite photos, street views, and videos on the internet to plan out the best places to operate, distract and escape – preparing for every scenario imaginable.

Our insider contact has connections in a local gang, which all of this has been observed, but knows they’re not the only ones preparing this way. These kinds of criminal gangs tend to think the same way. And fears the number is a lot higher than expected. 

“Tourists shouldn’t be worried if they use this simple trick to ensure safety over their valuables”

People usually aren't prepared to face pickpockets. Approximately 400.000 people were pickpocketed every day worldwide before the shutdown. And the numbers are likely to get even worse when the pandemic is over.

We’ve gotten in touch with Mike, an experienced traveler who has found a unique way to always be safe from pickpockets.

“I learned it the hard way. I thought I would easily notice if someone tried to pick my pockets, but I was dead wrong. I will never forget the freezing shock of reaching into my pockets and feeling they’re empty. Phone and wallet gone. My whole vacation ruined!”

A ton of others have and will experience the same.. “They’re shockingly good at what they do! All it takes is just one second.”

After the incident, Mark reflected deeply on what could be done differently to always feel safe. Leaving the phone and wallet in the hotel room wasn’t an option, he didn’t want to limit his experience because of what might happen. He wanted to defeat the pickpocket's ability to have any chance at all. And he found it!

He wouldn’t normally give away his secret so publicly but has agreed to do it, to help others from the rising threat of desperate pickpockets.

“It sounds pretty simple, but it’s extremely effective. I carry all my valuables inside a Personal Pocket Bag hidden under my jacket. It’s new and completely unknown territory for any pickpocket – something they have never seen or ever trained for.”

A Personal Pocket Bag is a very flat shoulder bag with multiple pockets that has a natural shaping around the body and easy to hide under a jacket.

“It’s a great feeling, knowing I’m immune to pickpocketing and can walk around gawking and daydreaming without a care in the world.”

Traveling is generally stressful for many, and the constant paranoia doesn’t help. When wearing this bag, he claims you’ll feel superior whenever you walk around in a crowd thinking about pickpockets.

“Even if the pickpockets got to know about this new secret, I really wouldn’t be any worried. Just think about it.. First, they’ll have to know if you actually wear one. If so, they need to stretch their arm up under your jacket, open one of the zippered pockets, and then somehow manage to take out something valuable. Without you noticing it. As anyone can tell, that’s impossible!”

Why not just use the inside pockets we have in our jackets?
“First of all, not all jackets have inside pockets, and many that have aren’t very practical in terms of size and access. With the Personal Pocket Bag, I get a lot more space, it’s not attached to my jacket, and I have quick and subtle access.”

What do you mean with subtle access and why is that important?
“If I need my phone to check a message or something, I’ll typically turn my back to the crowd and face a wall or corner, unzip my jacket a little down from the top, then take out my phone from the phone pocket. This way it’s impossible for anyone to see what I’m doing from behind because every motion happens in front of my body. I like to do this to stay off the thieves' radar and reduce the risk of getting followed.” 

What if it’s too hot to wear a jacket?
“First off, you don’t have to wear a thick jacket for it to be hidden, it can be very light and thin. But when it’s too hot, I still wear the Personal Pocket Bag just without a jacket. It’s still much safer when all the pockets are right in front of you and have to be opened with zippers. It also has cloth that overlaps and hides the zippers which make it a lot harder pickpocket.” 

Why don’t you just wear a backpack?
“I could, but then I’d have to put my valuables somewhere in the bottom where it can’t be reached. If I put it somewhere accessible, then pickpockets can easily reach it as well. The great thing about wearing a Personal Pocket Bag is that you have quick access while it’s still very isolated from pickpockets.
However, when I need more space, I keep all my valuables in the Personal Pocket Bag and bulky/cheaper items in the backpack.”

How much stuff can you fit in a Personal Pocket Bag?
“The most I’ve ever carried is my phone, powerbank, glasses, wallet, keys, passport, ticket, a thin book, tissues, and an e-reader. This isn’t very typical for me, but it worked pretty well and had even more space to spare.” 

How much does it cost?
“The first bag I bought was for $49.95, but have recently gotten a few more for only $29.95 on a 40% sale. Hopefully, it’s still on sale when you read this. But if it’s not, you’ll still get much more value than you pay for. For me, it’s an essential part of traveling. If I don’t wear it, I won’t feel secure, and I’ll feel the traces of anxiety and trauma of getting pickpocketed. It’s weird how the brain works like that. No matter how consciously I try to relax, it still won’t help as long as I don’t fix the underlying problem, which has been to tightly secure myself with the Personal Pocket Bag.

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