Police warn of pick pocketing prostitutes

A recent incident can remind people to be cautious in public

Municipal Police in Prague are warning tourists to be wary of street prostitutes. Prostitution sometimes is used as a cover to commit other crimes.

Police offered a cautionary tale of a recent incident.

Over the weekend by chance, a patrol discovered a case of pickpocketing when they happened upon a tourist and a street prostitute in Myslíkova Street in Prague’s touristy center at 1 am one night. As the officers came to the location, they saw the couple in an embrace. When the woman saw the police patrol she quickly adjusted herself and immediately started to head for Spalena Street. The officers halted the man and the woman and asked them to show their papers.

The young tourist became frantic as he began to search his pockets and found them empty. He told the police that he had to be robbed.

The woman claimed not have the papers because she was also recently robbed. The police officers asked the woman to empty the purse, prior to being taken into custody. Police can detain people who do not have identity documents.

“It was not a great surprise to the police officers that the woman in her handbag also pulled out the young tourist’s wallet. Eventually she admitted her theft. The police officers handed over to the Czech Police for suspicion of committing a crime,” the Municipal Police said in a press release.

It was just luck that the patrol happened upon the couple in time to get the wallet back.

Deputy Czech Police Director Ivan Smékal earlier this summer said pick pocketing was the one crime that is not experiencing a long-term decline. The resolution rate is also low, just 3 percent, while overall crime nationwide is solved at a rate of 23.22 percent.

Pick pocketing and related theft accounted for 14.5 percent of crime in statistics for 2017. Prague, because of tourism, has some 64.5 percent of pick pocketing for the entire country, but just 12 percent of the Czech population.

Places where pick pocketing occurs most frequently, according to previous reports, is on public transportation, especially on the escalators and in the doors of trams, buses and trains.

Intoxicated people at night are also common targets as they are not paying attention to their possessions.

Experts warn tourists to make copies of important documents such as passports and store them separately, and also to take photos of expensive items and keep note of serial numbers and also of passwords.

Many phones now, for example, can be remotely shut down once they are stolen but only if you register them in advance with the manufacturer or with third-party anti-theft software.

Social media passwords and banking access codes should be changed immediately in case of the loss of electronic devices.

Not carrying excessive cash or valuables is also a way to reduce the amount of loss.

In crowded public areas, avoid commotions as they are often a trick to make people temporarily step away from their possessions or lose their guard. Crowds at street performances are also a common target.

The hourly show at the Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square has long been a favorite place for pickpockets, and that is likely to continue once the renovated clock goes back into action in October. Charles Bridge, with its crowds at certain statues and stands, is also a common location.

The 22 tram to Prague Castle is often packed with people, which makes it easy for thieves to get close enough to go through one’s belongings. The less-crowded 23 tram also goes to the Castle and is a bit safer as pickpockets do not have the opportunity to get so close.

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