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Metro Police Warn About Pickpockets

It's not that we're having a sudden problem, it's just that the crowding over the next few days creates a great environment for pickpocketing.

"Pickpocketing is a crime of opportunity and the Inauguration and events associated with it will attract thieves from all corners to the Washington region," Metro Transit Police Det. Cedric Mitchell, an expert in pickpocket and identity theft crimes, said in a statement from Metro. "Crowded trains, train stations and bus stations are places where pickpockets like to ply their trade."

Here's what happens: Most pickpockets work in pairs or small groups. They often cause a distraction by bumping into people or dropping things to draw attention away from the crime.

Here's what the police recommend you do:
* Keep handbags close to the body.
* Carry wallets inside a coat pocket rather than in pants pocket.
* Carry only the necessary amount of cash and credit cards.
* Remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
* Be especially wary if someone appears to create a distraction by dropping money, a newspaper, or any other item to take your attention away from your surroundings.
* Immediately contact the police and your bank if you are a victim of a pickpocket.
* Report any suspicious activity to a Metro employee or call the Metro Transit Police at 202-962-2121. (It's a good idea to program that number into your cellphone.)

By Robert Thomson  |  January 17, 2009; 12:34 PM ET
Categories:  Inauguration  
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