In the past two months, the Wheaton Police Department has received multiple reports of people who have had their wallets stolen while shopping. Protecting yourself from a pickpocket or other thief is not as difficult as you would think; just a few thoughtful precautions can be enough to eliminate the opportunity for a crime to take place.
• The target areas are back trouser pockets and suitcoat/sports jacket pockets, located both inside and out. A pickpocket generally avoids front trouser pockets, and especially buttoned or zippered pockets.
• Keep large sums of money, credit cards and IDs in your front pocket or any buttoned or zippered pocket. Some people even place a rubber band around their wallet, because the rubber band creates friction and rubs against the fabric of your pocket if someone is attempting to remove it without your knowledge.
• Refrain from patting your pockets in public to see if your wallet is there; this lets a criminal know the exact location of your valuables.
• Larger size “pocket secretaries” are particularly inviting to pickpockets and relatively easy to steal.
• Refrain from carrying your wallet in your purse. If possible, conceal it in a buttoned or zippered pocket where it doesn’t show a bulge.
• If you are carrying a shoulder bag, place the strap(s) diagonally across your body, as opposed to carrying it on one shoulder. This keeps the purse in front of you, instead of at your side or behind you, which sometimes happens with purses with long straps.
• If you are carrying a handbag, make sure to hold it close to the front of your body, instead of holding it on your wrist or loosely in your hand.
• Never leave your purse unattended on a store counter or in a grocery shopping cart.