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Pickpockets, Their Victims, and the Transit Police

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 72 Issue: 12 Dated: December 2003 Pages: 1-5
David Young
Date Published
December 2003
5 pages
This article describes the criminal profile of pickpockets and their victims.
Pickpockets are often affably trained in their techniques because many have years of experience and an excellent understanding of human behavior. Pickpockets tend to strike in large, common areas where many people regularly congregate, such as transportation facilities like bus terminals and railroad stations. The article describes the typical victims’ profile as female, approximately 30 years old, and a railroad user. Pickpockets often spend hours in terminals searching for potential targets, often operating during peak shopping times. Victims may unknowingly place bags in an exposed position, leaving an easy target for an experienced pickpocket. Research indicates that most pickpockets are males who typically commit their crimes from 4:30 p.m. to around 8:00 p.m. The consequences of the crime are described as problematic to enforce because of the difficulty in catching and successfully prosecuting pickpockets. It is imperative that law enforcement personnel become adept at identifying potential pickpocket suspects in order to protect the public from this type of crime. As public transportation systems grow, more people become vulnerable to the crime of pickpocketing. As such, law enforcement personnel, as well as the general public, should know the pickpocket profile and how pickpockets tend to operate in order to deter further victimization. Endnotes