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Pickpocketing: open your eyes and close your bag! Thieves are always on the move.
Pickpockets find their victims wherever there are lots of people and crowds. The police give valuable tips on how you can protect yourself against the tricks of pickpockets. Open your eyes and close your bag!
State Office of Criminal Investigation North Rhine-Westphalia

Pickpockets find their victims wherever large numbers of people gather and there are crowds. This happens preferably on public transport, at train stations, airports, in pedestrian zones, in discos, clubs and restaurants, at trade fairs and at public festivals.

Pickpockets are extremely inventive. On this page you will find helpful tips and information about common tricks and what you can do to protect yourself!

The tricks of pickpockets

The tricksters usually work in teams. They often distract the victims by one perpetrator provoking a "traffic jam" in the crowd, bumping into the victims seemingly unintentionally or asking for the time, directions or similar. An accomplice takes the wallet or cell phone from the victim's pocket and disappears inconspicuously. Customers who unsuspectingly look at goods in stores, try on clothes or do their shopping are also popular victims of pickpockets. So anyone can become a victim! Openly carried valuables and bags make it easier for thieves to commit the crime. You can find the tricks of pickpockets here.

Pickpocketing can be very expensive for you

Victims of pickpocketing lose more than just their money. Recovering ID cards and keys is very time-consuming and expensive. Personal items and photos are often lost forever. Sensitive data and personal photos on smartphones fall into unknown hands. In the worst-case scenario, the credit card account is emptied and paid subscriptions and purchases are made with the ID card.

The thieves' concept: don't attract attention and escape undetected.

Many pickpockets are professional multiple offenders who make a living from their crimes. The perpetrators often work in teams and escape undetected. The victims often only realize that they have been robbed after a considerable delay. It is therefore difficult to determine the exact location of the crime and possible perpetrators. Observations by the victim or witnesses are therefore rare; descriptions of the perpetrators are the exception. Prevention is therefore the best way to combat pickpocketing.

 

Videos from the NRW police on the subject of pickpocketing

The NRW police have posted videos on the NRW police YouTube channel showing the different ways pickpocketing is committed and the corresponding prevention tips.

Theft on the bus and train

Theft on the escalator

Theft while shopping

Theft in the Café

The Anti-Dancer Trick

For more information on the actions of pickpockets, visit the website of the State and Federal Police Crime Prevention "Stop Pickpockets - Die Tricks der Taschendiebe".

Tips for protection against pickpockets!

The crime prevention and victim protection departments of your local police authority will be happy to advise you. Even simple behavioral measures can help prevent pickpockets. Protect yourself by being aware of the dangers when handling your valuables. The North Rhine-Westphalia State Office of Criminal Investigation has compiled tips for citizens:

Prevention tips for pickpocketing

Flyer "Mobile phone gone - what now?"

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In urgent cases: Police emergency number 110