UK & World News
Pickpocket Surge Sparks Stealth Theft Campaign
Police are fighting a surge in pickpocket thefts on public transport thought to be caused by more people carrying smartphones and tablets.
At least 1,700 people have something valuable stolen from their bags or pockets every day, and thefts at stations and on trains increased 16% last year, according to the British Transport Police (BTP).
Crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers is launching a campaign which includes footage of a former pickpocket-turned-magician slipping cards into people's pockets warning them of the dangers of so-called stealth theft.
Roger Critchell, director of operations for Crimestoppers, said: "We want to highlight how easy it is for someone to be a victim of crime without even knowing a crime against them is taking place.
"This campaign is not intended to scare the public, but is in fact designed to educate them about the dangers of prowling pickpockets and ask them to ensure they are vigilant when out and about."
Posters are traditionally used to highlight the issue in the worst-affected areas.
But research shows that posters can actually make matters worse as we subconsciously tap our bags and pockets to ensure our valuables are still there.
This sends a clear signal to the pickpockets who have learned to loiter nearby.
Emma de la Fosse, executive creative director at OgilvyOne UK, who designed the campaign said: "By distributing leaflets in this way, we actively created what scientists call a 'hot state', which is conducive to lasting behavioural change.
"Exposing people to the possibility of something, but without them being directly affected, is proven to create greater resonance and impact.
"This campaign highlights how easy it is for someone to be a victim of crime, without any harm actually taking place."
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