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Rob Me If You Can: 11 Tips To Outsmart Bus Pickpockets


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Waking up at 6 am every morning to get to work through crazy traffic jam in Lagos makes all of us heroes. But we aren’t the only ones – sleepy passengers in overcrowded bumpy buses turn into excellent prey for pickpockets. Learn a few simple tricks to outsmart unwanted guests in your bag while on the bus.


  1. pickpocket-121Before leaving your house plan ahead your budget for a day. Don’t take extra cash. Use your credit card for online payments.
  2. If you need to carry a lot of paper money with you, place cash in 2 or 3 different inside pockets. Make sure the pockets have no holes in them.
  3. When buying a wallet or a bag, choose color that will blend with your daily wear so it doesn’t stand out a mile. Black, grey, or beige are best.
  4. ?hoose bags with as many inside and outside pockets as your style allows. Pickpockets have only a few precious seconds to feel your wallet. Make it hard for them.
  5. Never keep your wallet in the back pocket of your jeans. That’s how you provoke even those pocket lifters who have a day off.
  6. imagesIf somebody is leaning hard against you complaining on a clumsy driver, raise a red flag – keep your bag within reach and cover your pockets with your hands. Try to distance yourself from such passenger immediately.

7. According to police stats, pickpockets are males aged 17-20 or 37-40. They usually fall into 4 categories: those who cover their hands with outwear, those who operate in overcrowded bumpy buses, those who cut your bag with well-honed skills, and those who start a dialogue having a request or asking for help. With this in mind, wear bags made of thick leather with double bottom and avoid talking with strangers.



Beware-Pickpockets

8. Try to keep music in your headphones down. Besides music addicts, pocket lifters keep their eyes on book lovers, drunks, and those on the phone. So, while on the bus, avoid discussing your shopping plans over the phone.

9. Take out money for your bus ticket before you enter the bus. Or better place them in a front pocket before leaving the house. Holding your wallet in your hands while getting on the bus makes it easier for pickpockets to nab it just before the bus doors close.



10. Always carry your bag above your waist line so pickpockets can’t cut off the strap.

11. Go for bags with metal chain straps. It takes much longer for a pocket lifter to get rid of it.

On top of 11 previous tips, JiJi has compiled a list of bags pocket lifters in buses throughout Lagos are most attracted to. Go to Page 2 to see if your bag is an easy prey!

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Drawstring BagDrawstring bag



A drawstring bag usually defines an intended victim. By making it loose, a thief will dive his hand into your bag, quickly find your wallet, and disappear from the scene without you noticing him. So, if a drawstring bag is your favorite kind, go for those which have zippers to create more obstacles on the way to your wallet.


Flap-BagFlap bag

A flap bag can also be an easy game. Quickly handling the magnet or the outside clasp, pickpockets lean against you with their hand in your bag using the flap as a cover-up. In order not to feel sad and helpless after you discover the loss, make sure you hold your flap bag in front of you.




Zipper bag

A zipper bag makes it much more complicated to dupe you. Unless your zipper is too smooth, it will take a few minutes for pickpockets to unzip your bag halfway leaving them unwilling to take the risk. So, try using bags with zippers that are quite tight.


Strapless clutch

A strapeless clutch gives you full control over the situation. While holding it tight, you create the shortest distance between your wallet and your hand making pickpockets reluctant to take advantage of your bag.


Backpack (if worn in front)

A backpack usually remains in your sight and within reach. With plenty of outside and inside pockets, a backpack (we would call it a frontpack:) turns into a well secured labyrinth. Moreover, a pocket lifter can never tell in which pocket you keep your wallet if any.




Next time riding a bus, we don’t want you to keep your mouth shut and be leery of all passengers around you. Take previously mentioned precautions to outsmart bus pickpockets using tight zippers, thick leather, and choose wallets that match colors of your daily wear. Ready for a ride?

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