Going abroad is a terrific experience no matter where you go but, what comes with that greater reward is a greater risk. Most cities outside of the US are more prone to petty theft. The type of theft that is most experiences by world travelers is definitely pickpocketing. Whether you're enjoying the view of the Seine in Paris or embracing the smells of Jaipur, you should always be aware of possible pickpocketing. Here are some tips on how to prevent this crime happening to you.
Always be aware
The common misconception is that pickpockets are magical thieves that can steal from you no matter what. In actuality, pickpockets create situations that distract your attention so that having you notice their slight-of-hand is almost impossible. The key is to be as aware of everything around you as you can be. That means, most especially, natives of whatever country you've visited getting very close to you. If someone tells you you've dropped something, that something has stained your clothing, or even that they want a hug, understand that there is a chance that they may want to pickpocket you. Be open though, I've had a few good incidents abroad start with a random stranger asking for a hug, just be aware.
Know thy enemy
Pickpockets, all around the world, are often the same, or a similar, demography. Knowing what a pickpocket looks like is the first step in avoiding one. Firstly, pickpockets most often work in teams. One or two of the group will distract you while another, unbeknownst to you, will steal your valuables. Pickpockets are most often children. It's obvious why; they're doe-eyed stares could earn the trust of even the most hardened traveler. I actually had a group of eight attempt to steel from me when I was running with the bulls.
Know where they strike
Another incredibly important aspect of pickpockets is to know where they most often convene. Knowing where pickpockets are most concentrated means you can be more careful in these locations. Firstly, the most obvious one for any tourist, tourist attractions. There are tourists with lots of cash and monuments literally designed to draw attention; of course pickpockets are in these areas! Pickpockets may be the only people who love these areas more that the tourists! Another big one, though, is public transportation. Any savvy traveler will know to be careful in both these locations.
And that's the most you'll need to know. There are tons of "fullproof" guides out there that will claim to prevent pickpocketing 100% of the time but they're all too much. You're traveling! You should be having fun not spending all your time worrying about your wallet! The key is to simply be aware and know what to look for. I'd also suggest carrying only a certain amount of money in your wallet and the rest in your backpack. I also take a travel wallet that only has a few important things in it. Don't let a thief get in your way! Go, have fun!