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Avoiding the Dangerously Common Pickpocketing

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Image via The Telegraph

Alongside the many positive and exciting aspects of studying abroad, there are some topics students shy away from discussing.  One frequent discussion students avoid is the possible theft they may envision while abroad.  While this is a sensitive topic, there are a few tactics that students need to know before going abroad.  Specifically, relating to the most common crime students fall victim to: pickpocketing.

Whether you’re heading to the country side of China, or the busy streets of Rome, pickpocketing is a crime many students have unfortunately been faced with.  While this type of crime is prevalent across the nation, there are a few specific tips that can help you stay alert, protected, and on top.

Wallets Locations

A common trend in America is for men to wear their bulky wallets in the back pocket of their loose jeans. This trend is a red flag in other nations.  Individuals are better off keeping their wallet in their front pockets, or the inside pocket of their jackets.  This way they always have eyes on their wallet and it’s location.

Small Cross Body Bags

While oversized shoulder bags are both adorable and convenient, they are an extremely easy target.  Girls are better off utilizing small cross body bags.  These purses can be swung across the shoulder, and kept in front of the body.  In crowded transportation areas, these bags are especially convenient because one can place their hand over the opening of their bag in order to protect their belongings from any sticky hands.  If you are completely unable to do away with your favorite shoulder bag, be sure to keep the zipper facing the front, as well as any valuable in a stowed away compartment.  This way, you can always be aware of the opening of your bag.

Backpack Do’s and Do Not’s

Since most students are going away to attend a University, it isn’t surprising that they will be utilizing the easy accessible backpacks for class.  Backpacks are especially dangerous, because they can be spotted by pick potters are easy targets.  Backpacks can be easily accessed before you even turn around.  The best type of backpacks to have are one which tie, and buckle over the tie.  Always keep any valuables deep inside your backpack, in a spot that is very difficult to access.

Leave Unnecessary Items Home

Unless you’re heading out of the country, or to a region where you need identification, leave your passport home.  Having your passport stolen can be a detrimental experience.  The best way to avoid losing it is by simply not bringing it.  If you don’t need it, don’t take it.

All in all, be sure to stay aware of your surroundings, just as you would here in the States.  These tips are not meant to scare you from the incredible, unparalleled experience of study abroad.  Rather, they are meant to prepare you so that you can enjoy a completely, stress free, rewarding experience.


Shannon Murphy is Senior at the University of Kentucky majoring in Political Science.  Shannon spent the Fall 2015 Semester in Florence Italy.