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Sunday, January 6, 2013

The World's Second Oldest Profession

The Professional Pickpockets would like to turn you upside down to shake you loose from your money. Beware!

Welcome to 2013!

As we start a new year full of the usual hope and optimisim, National Geographic has presented a subject to give us all a "heads up," because in these very difficult economic times one of the oldest professions has taken on a new life. I'm talking about the ancient skill of picking your pocket or bag as a means of making a living.

Not surprisingly these thefts are practised wherever there are large concentrations of people, especially tourists, who by their very definition will be people who are carrying sums of money and other valuables that probably are worth more than many people's annual income.

Rome and Barcelona are at the top of a pickpocket's nirvana as the place to be, so National Geographic chose Barcelona to study what happens there and how it is done. Pickpockets live by the motto that, " a fool and his money are soon parted!"  Consequently, the choice of who is to be robbed, sometimes in broad daylight largely depends on the victim themselves.

We must keep in mind that everybody has expenses associated with daily living and if there are no jobs, people will make their own work. In many cases entire families work together. They arise in the morning, have breakfast and go off to work actively looking for people who show signs that say "come and get it."

I have been robbed four times, and in each case I had no idea. However, I hope I have learned some lessons along the way, but the thief is well practised and it takes a lot of street smarts to recognise when you are targeted, and to know what to do to get out of the grip of the gang. The first thing you can do is go online and Google "pickpockets." You will learn that there are schools that teach the art of the trade, and that people of all ages, from very young children to elderly grandparents are professionals.

Number one on the list of people to rob are silly men who carry their wallets in their back pockets. It seems that the only way to save such people from themselves is not to sell them trousers with back pockets. A wallet in a back pocket comes with an invisible sign that says, "Help Yourself!" Oh sure, most men will say that they will feel the movement as the wallet is lifted, but it is usually done with such speed and handed off to several people that simply knowing that you have been robbed is very cold comfort indeed.

This is a very important and complicated subject and I could go on and on with hints and stats, etc. The point of this is simply to take the Natonal Geographic effort a little further by passing on the warning. How bad is the situation in Barcelona?  It is estimated that at peak times on the Metro, perhaps as many as 600 of the passengers on any one line are pickpockets.

That I take very seriously indeed, and I extend that to all of Spain, England, New York, etc, etc, etc.

These are desperate times, and desperate times produce desperate people!

Happy New Year!

Copyright (c) 2013  Eugene Carmichael