The Taipei Police Department yesterday warned people to be on alert for pickpockets over the long holiday weekend and at department store anniversary sales.
It would work to ensure that people can shop safely, while personnel have been assigned to help prevent pickpocketing in hotspots, the department said.
The hotspots are places that draw large numbers of foreign visitors, including the Ximending (西門町) and Yongkang Street shopping areas, the Martyrs’ Shrine, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei 101, the Taipei World Trade Center halls and Shilin (士林) night market, it said.
In the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of foreign pickpockets targeting people at shopping arcades, tourist spots and coffee shops, it said.
Members of a pickpocketing organization from Peru, who worked in pairs, were detained recently, it said.
There are four methods commonly used by pickpockets — using objects as a cover, using their body as a cover, pushing through a crowd and creating a distraction, the department said.
In the first method, clothing, umbrellas, backpacks or other objects are used to cover actions, while in the second, the body of the perpetrator or an accomplice is used, it said.
In the third, they will pretend to be pushing through a crowd, taking items as they go, while in the fourth, they create a disturbance by pretending to quarrel, asking for directions or feigning illness to divert attention, the department said.
People should be vigilant when in crowded places and should report suspected pickpockets or incidents to the police immediately, the department added.
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