Sunday, July 17, 2011

Living Overseas: Thieves

Two articles about crime recently appeared in the editorial and citizen reporter sections in the Spanish-language news site from Colombia that I frequent. They offer a helpful glimpse into criminal methods in the big city and a few tips for keeping you and your valuables safe when traveling abroad.

The first thing the thief does is analyze the person for a couple minutes, especially in places where he or she has to take out Money or where people talk on cell phones confidently, like in malls, stores, commercial centers, and bus stops, among other places.

The thieves look carefully where the person keeps valuables and they approach him with some excuse that entertains them. Meanwhile, they take advantage of their ability to rob him without him realizing it.

The citizen reporter article also described thieves who were targeting people on buses, usually after 9pm.

Thieves also try not to look suspicious.

Some are well dressed, trim, carry valuables, and others pretend to be religious, good-hearted people, and in seconds they gain the confidence of the victim.

…[S]ometimes by simply asking for the time they are already generating some distraction.

Then there are thieves that purposely drop a bill or something for the victim to pick it up and at that moment they deceive them.

The article also gave some tips, which are just as important for Bogotá residents as it is for expatriates:

Keep in mind
  1. Suspect any kind of unexpected help and do not speak to anyone.
  2. One of the ways to distract is to ask the time and drop something on the ground so you pick it up.
  3. Whenever you are in public places walk with you five senses on. Don’t be asking for it.
  4. Don’t be silent. Report the form of theft to the authorities.
  5. Don’t keep your objects in places that are easy to remove and always close your purse. Don’t let it out of your sight.

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