1) Don’t put anything valuable in the front pocket of your backpack, or in any pockets of your clothing.

2) Be weary of anyone who approaches you asking for directions. As local as you’ve convinced yourself that you look, you’re obviously a tourist and nobody should need your help. Pickpockets might also approach you in a language other than the local one to make themselves seem like innocent and confused tourists. It’s fine to give directions, but never let anyone obscure your view of your valuables (see #3). If you’re holding your phone or wallet when they approach you, hold on TIGHT and don’t put it away in an easy-access pocket without thinking. If they ask you to take out your phone to show them a map, your phone doesn’t have any battery left.

3) A classic technique is to stand with a big backpack or map in front of somebody in a manner that makes it hard for the tourist to see their backpack or purse. Be careful.

4) If you keep your wallet in your pocket, always keep one hand in your pocket and over the opening of your wallet. If you carry a purse and/or camera case, always hold it in a way that allows you to hold the zipper shut.

5) Look behind you when you are in especially crowded places, such as the metro.

6) It’s best to get your metro ticket out before entering the metro area, so that you don’t have to open your wallet in a crowded public place.

7) Always carry a few locks with you when traveling. They can come in handy if you hear the city is crawling with pickpockets and you want to throw one on your purse or backpack. Be sure to put the lock through the holes in the zippers that are closest to wear it zips (like the picture on the right, NOT on the left), or else you will still give pickpockets enough room to reach the valuables you’re advertising by locking your bag.

2014-11-10 12.16.47A thief could still get enough room to fish around, and the lock will advertise that it's worth doing so.2014-11-10 12.20.51

8) Don’t assume that no one would dare to pickpocket you while inside a famous church/mosque/temple. If pickpockets were very religious and felt deterred from stealing by their faith, they wouldn’t have become pickpockets in the first place.

9) Never store all your money in one location (ie put some in your wallet, some in a locked backpack pocket or money belt). It’s best to also leave some locked at your hostel.

10) If you’re carrying your driver’s license, you might want to keep your passport locked up at your hostel. If not, you might want to lock up a photocopy.