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Place a Wallet Sideways To Avoid Pickpockets

You might want to read up if you’re tempted to follow the rubber-band wallet tactic. Who best to tell you how to avoid pickpockets straight from the mouth of one?

Presuming you’re a dude, I am sure the natural inclination is to stuff your wallet into your back pants pocket, which is a ripe place for a pickpocket. But if you’re in a place like Rome, which happens to be nearly infamous for its petty crime, you may want to take heed and an extra dose of precaution.

Now I don’t know who Bob Arno is—the internet proclaims he was once a comedian pickpocket who now specializes in street crime against tourists—but he says (or his pickpocket friends say, rather) that the easiest trick is to deter theft is by turning your wallet sideways into your pants pocket. The wallet’s opening, where the bills are kept, should be placed down.

I don’t know what the reasoning is behind this. Maybe it’s to give the pickpocket less surface space to grab on to. Or less finger traction. Unfortunately, I don’t steal wallets for a living, so I can’t tell you.

The more common trick to deter thieves as shown in this incredibly hilarious police education video (I’m seriously flashbacking to the ‘80s here, by the way) is to put a rubber band on your wallet.

….The rubber band creates friction and rubs against the fabric of your pocket if someone is attempting to remove it without your knowledge.

Arno says this doesn’t work. It would make sense that wallet thieves, after a while, would figure out just another way to get around the rubber band. Unless you happen to get a noobie pickpocket.

Our part-time cavalier—who happens to be more well-traveled than yours personally—Andy Chu says he’ll stuff his wallet especially fat so he can always feel it. In situations where he feels more on guard, he’ll put his wallet in a front jeans pocket. I had to ask his opinion because I’m not a dude and don’t think about this stuff.

If putting it in front is not an option, the other alternative might just be to design your own Hack a Day rubber band wallet, complete with automatic alarm. Though it might just be kind of annoying to have an alarm go off every time you need to pay for something.

[Bob Arno: Thiefhunters in Paradise]

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