'Tis the season for the Radius Summer Random Advice, News and Tips blog. Aside from a handy list of tips for outsmarting pickpockets on your travels, we’ve rounded up a couple of crime news tidbits for you.
Fake It on Holiday
Your best defence against burglars while you’re away on holiday is a monitored security alarm. And your best strategy is to make your house look lived in. Arrange for someone to clear your mail, take out the garbage, mow the lawn, and park a car in the driveway occasionally. Whatever it takes to convince would-be thieves you’re still home.
Toronto Woman Climbs Crane Topless
Around 6:30 a.m. on August 16, emergency workers responded to reports that a topless woman had climbed up to the cab of a construction crane. The hysterical woman damaged the crane by pulling out wires and throwing out items. Her out-of-control behaviour made the rescue much more complicated, but she was eventually calmed down enough for a firefighter to rappel with her to safety.
Cows Herd Thief
A Florida woman accused of stealing an SUV ran away from police on ??. A herd of cows, however, chased her across a pasture until she jumped a fence to escape. Officers found her hiding under a bush and arrested her.
10 Tips for Outwitting Pickpockets
1. Heads Up. Be aware of who is around you, especially in a crowd or on public transit. Keep your bag close to and in front of your body. Be cautious around local children, women who have “just been mugged” and helpful witnesses to the “mugging.” Stay alert if a commotion breaks out. Another common scam is to spill something on you and help you to clean it up.2. Look Savvy. Look alert and confident. Don’t dress and gawk like a naïve tourist (bright colours, souvenir T-shirt,
3. Hide Your Money. Don’t count cash in public or expose your credit cards. Return these to your wallet immediately.
4. Carry a Decoy. Stuff a wallet with receipts and expired credit cards. Carry it in an obvious place, like your back pocket or your purse. Keep your real wallet in a hidden inside front zippered pocket or use a money belt.
5. Check Your Purse. Does it have a short strap (ideally metal)? Zippered enclosures? Hangs above your waist?
6. Leave Valuables Behind. Hide your expensive gear, like laptops and camera equipment, in your hotel room.
7. Don’t Be a Loser. You’re more likely to lose your stuff than to have it stolen. Don’t leave your passport under the pillow or camera in a restaurant. Always take a second look around every time you leave a location.
8. Watch your luggage. At train stations and airports, especially when you arrive disoriented and burdened with luggage, thieves can be quick to take your claim ticket or locker key. Hold on to your luggage at all times and take turns with your travel partner to guard it.
9. Stay Attached. Whenever you rest or may be distracted—eating a meal or napping on a train, for example—secure all your bags. You may clip them to you or loop them around your arm or leg. The time it takes to detach a bag may be enough to persuade a thief to target someone else.
10. Split Your Cash. Store your money and credit cards in different places so that a pickpocket, even if successful, won’t steal everything.
Bonus tip: Make copies of all your important documents, including your passport, driver’s licence, insurance benefits card, and credit cards, before you leave and store them in a safe place at home in case you lose the originals.
Connor, Kevin. Woman charged in topless crane climb near Toronto waterfront. London Free Press, August 17, 2018.
O'Kane, Caitlin. Florida suspect 'udder' arrest after herd of cows chases her into custody. CBS News, August 8, 2018.
Charan, Anisha. 8 Simple Ways to Avoid Pickpockets When Traveling. Tripzilla, May 18, 2015
Titensor, Andrew. 10 Smart Tricks to Avoid Pickpockets While Traveling. Svelte Wallets, December 7, 2017.
Steves, Rick. Outsmarting Pickpockets and Thieves. Rick Steves Europe.