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Police: pickpockets do not pick their victims randomly

A passenger wearing a thick winter coat puts on the hood and headphones gets on a bus, unaware that a pickpocket has already ‘visited’ their pocket. Thieves do not pick their victims randomly – they observe their future victim and pick from the most absent-minded people in the crowd, State Police explains.

A victim’s thick clothes are a pickpocket’s greatest asset in autumn and winter. This is why State Police turns residents’ attention towards multiple factors that should be taken into account to avoid being falling victim to a pickpocket.

Pickpockets remain a topical problem year after year. In 2016, State Police registered 75 pickpocket cases in Riga region. The number of pickpocket cases registered in the first nine months of 2017 was 69.

Most often pickpockets stalk crowded areas. Because of that, the majority of pickpocket cases take place in Riga centre – in public transports, near public transport stops, at the railway station, the market, Old Riga, underground pedestrian tunnels and shopping centre. Pickpockets operate at day and night. Pickpocket activity is, however, the highest in morning and evening hours – when people travel to and from work.

Riga Centre Criminal Police Department Chief Aleksandrs Petrovs says usually absent-minded people become victims of pickpockets. Officers that deal with pickpockets call the back pocket of trousers the ‘thief’s pocket’. «When a person enters a bus and tries finding the best seat, they usually pay no attention to their belongings. This lack of attention gives the thief an opportunity to put their hand in the person’s pocket and pull out a phone or wallet,» Petrovs said.

To combat this form a crime, State Police actively patrol locations frequented by pickpockets. Police officers know recidivists by face. Their behaviour is well-known as well. This makes it easier to identify them before they have an opportunity to prevent crimes before they happen.

To avoid becoming a victim of pickpocket, people should keep in mind several simple rules:

-be observant when visiting crowded places;

-put wallets, phones and other valuables in pockets on the inside of jackets and coats;

-avoid carrying valuable items in backpacks;

-carry handbags in front.


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