Pickpockets are a Dying Breed
Pickpockets in America are dying out. This is the bit I found interesting:
And perhaps most important, the centuries-old apprenticeship system underpinning organized pickpocketing has been disrupted. Pickpocketing has always perpetuated itself by having older hooks -- nicknamed "Fagins," after the crime boss in Oliver Twist -- teach younger ones the art, and then absorbing them into canons. But due to ratcheted-up law enforcement measures, including heftier sentences (in some states, a pick, defined as theft from the body of another person and charged as a felony regardless of the amount taken) and better surveillance of hot spots and known pickpockets, that system has been dismantled.
This is not the case in Europe, where pickpocketing has been less of a priority for law enforcement and where professionals from countries like Bulgaria and Romania, each with storied traditions of pickpocketing, are able to travel more freely since their acceptance into the European Union in 2007, developing their organizations and plying their trade in tourist hot spots like Barcelona, Rome, and Prague. "The good thieves in Europe are generally 22 to 35," says Bob Arno, a criminologist and consultant who travels the world posing as a victim to stay atop the latest pickpocketing techniques and works with law enforcement agencies to help them battle the crime. "In America they are dying off, or they had been apprehended so many times that it's easier for law enforcement to track them and catch them."
Posted on March 3, 2011 at 6:35 AM • 78 Comments