Last week a local friend of mine, Mohit, was walking in along the road in the busy tourist area of Karol Bhag, New Delhi when he checked his phone. As he did a motorcycle stopped next to him and the passenger swiped his phone from his hands and sped off. They caught him off-guard and by surprise.

I had a similar experience on the Delhi Metro with pickpockets. These days I hear more and more stories like this. In fact, the Delhi police recovered one batch of 735 phones earlier in the year – the tip of the ice berg. Protecting yourself from these annoying snatch-and-run thieves is not hard luckily:

How to protect yourself from bag & mobile phone snatchers

Girl sitting next to her bag. Photo by Harold Navarro.
Girl sitting next to her bag. Photo by Harold Navarro
  1. Don’t use purses, they’re quickly pulled down your arm. Use a backpack or hidden money pouch instead.
  2. Don’t walk and text. Stand away from the road when using your phone.
  3. When travelling keep your phone locked in a security pocket in your backpack. Keeping it in your front, or worse, back pocket it can be easily pickpocketed.
  4. When resting in public, if you have valuables in your bag make sure you keep it in sight and if possible a hand on it. When I’m sitting on the Metro, I have my bag on my lap and an arm through a strap.
  5. If someone grabs your phone or bag, let them take it. Chasing or aggravating these thieves is not recommended as these guys are desperate and have nothing to lose. Go to the nearest Police Station and file a FIR, travel insurance will cover your loss.

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