The crime prevention charity's campaign against pickpocketing suggests that because it's easy to get things into people's bags, it's just as easy to get them out

Crimestoppers' Putpockets campaign
Crimestoppers' Putpockets campaign

What is it?

The crime prevention charity Crimestoppers has launched a campaign to raise awareness of pickpocketing across the UK.

What does the campaign involve?

The charity has produced a video that includes footage of sleight of hand experts, including a former pickpocket, sliding advice cards into people’s pockets and bags directing them to the website, which outlines the dangers and signs of lurking pickpockets.

The cards were shaped in the style of everyday items we are likely to carry in our pockets or bags, including smartphones, tablets and wallets, carrying the message that if someone can get something into your bag, they can also get something out.

The charity estimated that stealth theft, where the victim is unaware of the crime, makes up between 70 and 80 per cent of theft from people.

Why is it using a video to raise awareness?

Traditionally, posters have been used in pickpocket hotspots to make the public aware of the problem. But research shows they can actually make matters worse because people subconsciously tap the bags and pockets where their valuables are kept, which can send a clear signal to nearby pickpockets.

Roger Critchell, director of operations at Crimestoppers, says that the aim of the campaign is not to scare the public, but to educate them about the dangers of prowling pickpockets and encourage them to be vigilant when out and about.

How is it being promoted?

The video is hosted on Crimestoppers’ YouTube channel and has been promoted to the charity’s nearly 50,000 followers on Twitter and Facebook. Media outlets including ITN, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph have also included it on their respective websites. Sky News put together a feature that included clips from the video. Media outlets from Luxembourg, Norway and Brazil have asked to use the footage.

Third Sector verdict:

It’s a really clever, quirky video that shows just how easy many people make it for pickpockets to steal their possessions, and the simple steps individuals can take to prevent themselves from becoming victims. After watching the video, viewers will certainly be better informed. But we do wonder just how successfully it will reach significant numbers of potential pickpocket victims without a large advertising budget.

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