Pickpocketing exists all around the world, and while it's generally not a violent crime, it can cause major disruptions in your travels. Pickpocketers love to target unsuspecting tourists, and many have honed this skill into an art form. The bottom line is that pickpockets and con artists look for easy targets, and a traveler in a new destination makes the perfect victim.
One of the oldest tricks in the book is for someone to drop something in front of you or ask for directions. While you're distracted, the scammer's partner picks your pocket from behind. Children are often used to distract well-meaning tourists, as are young women holding babies.
Don't make it easy: Separate your cash and credit cards so they're not in the same place. And this should be a no-brainer, but don't be the person standing on the sidewalk looking lost, examining a map, or staring raptly at your cellphone.
Skip the fanny packs and opt for a flat money belt or passport holder that you can wear under your clothes. Never carry a tote bag or purse that only snaps shut; zippers are a must, and straps should be diagonal across your chest, not slung over the shoulder.
PacSafe makes a handy line of "theft-proof" bags, with slashproof mesh material, and zippers that can be locked, plus a cable that can be attached to a stationary item.
Leave behind an emergency credit card and cash in the hotel. If you're concerned about security, use the safe behind the front desk, not the room safe, or secure a theft-proof bag to the bed or desk with a cable lock.
Make backup photocopies or scans of your passport identification page, airline tickets and credit cards. That way if you're robbed, you've got options to speed up the recovery process.
Finally, ladies especially, don't wander alone, and watch your alcohol intake.