You may notice some new ads on the system, urging you to stay alert for pickpockets during the Olympic period.
Our Transit Police are hoping to let people know that professional pickpockets are expected at the Olympics—they tend to flock to international events on this scale.
“We don’t want people to be paranoid,” said Sgt. Mark Applejohn with the Transit Police. “But we’re coming from the angle that to be forewarned is to be forearmed.”
I asked Sgt. Applejohn if he had any tips, and he suggested that you keep your valuables close, and be aware of your surroundings, especially in large crowds.
He also said that pickpocketers tend to work in partnerships, with one person distracting you while another goes through your purse or pockets. One may take your wallet and pass it to a confederate before you’ve noticed.
“A well-known scheme in Europe uses young children to distract older people,” he said.
Pickpockets may also cut the straps of a purse or cut open the bottom of your bag.
“They’re extremely good at it, and that’s why to combat this kind of thing, we want you to be aware of what kind of things they do.”
Sgt. Applejohn also suggests that you do report any pickpocketing incidents to 604-515-8300—the Transit Police will act on it and won’t take it lightly.
A few other items….
There’s also a few other messages going up along with the pickpocket notices, such as:
- Separated from your party while on transit? Before you travel, come up with a plan in case this happens, especially if you have kids. Maybe you can get off at the next station, or your children might be advised to stay put in a meeting place. Remember you can use the security phones in the stations, and SkyTrain attendants and security staff will help get you all back together.
- Look out for unattended packages! Call the Transit Police if there’s something you want to report: 604-515-8300. Or you can send the Transit Police an anonymous text through their new Crimestoppers line in BC: text to 274637 and include the keyword “BCTIP”.