#Article (Archive)

Beware of pickpockets

Dec 24, 2009, 12:39 PM

Christmas is just a day away; an air of festivity is being felt all over at the Serrekunda and Albert Markets, in the public car parks, supermarkets and in all places where people converged as they prepare for the big feast. Shopkeepers and similar service providers are under great pressure to satisfy their customers, who seem to want more and more of everything. It is a period of spending on gifts and greetings cards, on food for the family and for entertainment, on new clothes, shoes and household appliances, etc.

The countless money transfer services such as Western Union points are bustling with activity as people streaming in and out with cash.

This is a time when so much money is in circulation, what with all the remittances from relatives and friends in Europe, America and other parts of the world.

Yet at a time when persons who toiled all these past months to earn some money for the festive season, now feel they can go about spending it, there are others on the prowl, especially in places where people congregate, ready to seize every opportunity to deprive you of your hard-earned income.

They call them "Pickpockets" an American English word for "a person who steals money, etc. from other people's pockets, especially in crowded places."

There are also the various kinds of swindlers. Some capitalize on your kindness and goodwill, others on your innocence, while others still are ever ready to fleece you through so-called bargaining, by asking for the sky for things that are worth only a few pennies. So be warned; beware!

Picking your pocket, and being victimized by swindlers is quite common during festivals.

The festival season is also the time when unscrupulous business people dealing in consumables tend to engage in profiteering. This is the time when they hoard things to create artificial scarcity, and temporarily send prices soaring well beyond the reach of the ordinary man and woman.

This is all contrary to the spirit of Christmas whose message of "peace on earth, goodwill to all men" is ignore as people scramble to enjoy themselves while others work to spoil their enjoyment

The spoilers are ubiquitous, and are to be found predominantly in the markets, car parks, ferry terminals and busy intersections such as West Field Junction.

So, as you go shopping for the Christmas, be on your guard. The friendly, chatty ready-to-help companion strolling with you down Albert Market, or sitting next to you on the bus or in the taxi, could be a pickpocket.

When you are out and about at this time of the year, be always mindful of your pocket, wallet or hand bag or briefcase. The times are hard, so there are many people out there who are desperate to get by through any means possible.

We wish that you all enjoy the Christmas to the fullest, while urging you to be extra vigilant. Merry Christmas in advance!