What can be done when you are pick- pocketed?

pick pocketing

In the crowded railway stations, markets and other public places, many people experience the instances of pick pocketing. Their cash, credit/debits cards, phones or other important things get stolen. In the crowded cities like Delhi, this occurs more often. So, what to do when you are pick-pocketed?

Filing First Information Report (FIR)

Registering FIR is the first task which is to be done in case you are pick- pocketed. Most of the times, the objects lost cannot be located by the police. Still it is very important to register FIR so that the things like phone cannot be misused by others. If your phone is used in any criminal activity, then it can ultimately link your name with the case. Moreover, there can be chances that your lost items are found. Also, in cases where debit/credit cards are stolen, the bank should be notified about the same.

Filing online complaint

The digital services in many areas have smoothen our work to a greater extent. There is an online portal for filing police complaints too which makes our activity of filing complaints easier by saving our time of going to the police stations. Following are the steps for filing online police complaints:

In cities such as Bangalore, a system of lostclikfound is available with which the persons whose items are stolen or lost and the ones who find items belonging to others can enter the details of the respective items which help the persons to locate their phones and vehicles. The facility can be availed by visiting the website, ” http://www.lostclikfound.com/“.

Punishment under Indian Penal Code, 1860

Theft is an offence under Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Sections 378 and 379 of IPC talk about theft.

Section 378 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, defines theft as “Whoever, intending to take dishonestly any moveable property out of the possession of any person without that per­son’s consent, moves that property in order to such taking, is said to commit theft.

Explanation 1.—A thing so long as it is attached to the earth, not being movable property, is not the subject of theft; but it becomes capable of being the subject of theft as soon as it is severed from the earth.

Explanation 2.—A moving effected by the same act which affects the severance may be a theft.

Explanation 3.—A person is said to cause a thing to move by removing an obstacle which prevented it from moving or by sepa­rating it from any other thing, as well as by actually moving it.

Explanation 4.—A person, who by any means causes an animal to move, is said to move that animal, and to move everything which, in consequence of the motion so caused, is moved by that animal.

Explanation 5.—The consent mentioned in the definition may be express or implied, and may be given either by the person in possession, or by any person having for that purpose authority either express or implied.”

Section 379 specifies the punishment and states that “Whoever commits theft shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both”.

Pick pocketing is an offence which comes under theft so the person if caught, is given the punishment of imprisonment or fine or both.

In State v. Shagir Ahmed, the accused committed the offence of pick pocketing and then the accused used blade and inflicted injuries on a person when he was caught. In this case, the accused was charged under Sections 324 for voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons and under Section 379 for the offence of theft i.e. pick pocketing.

In State of Maharashtra v. Anjanabai Alias Anjana Mohan[i], a group of four people was involved in offences of theft, chain snatching and pick pocketing. For the commission of these crimes, they used children of tender age to gain sympathy of the public. The accused were charged under Section 223(d) of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Preventive steps

As we all know that prevention is better than cure, so it is important that we take preventive measures so that pick pocketing can be avoided. Following are some significant preventive steps which should be taken:

  • Do not keep your valuables in your wallet- You should not keep your valuables like credit/debit cards, passports, etc in your wallet while going in crowded places.
  • Keep minimum cash in your pocket- When you visit places which are crowded or famous for pick pocketing, keep minimum cash in your wallet.
  • Using apps- The developments in technologies have also lead to the invention of apps which save your cell phones from pick pocketing. The apps such as “Pocket sense” notify you by blaring an alarm when anyone tries to remove your cell phone from your pocket.
  • Be cautious and alert- This is the most important measure. You should be very careful and alert with their valuables when you go out.

It is difficult to predict and avoid the instances of pick pocketing but taking preventive steps like not keeping the wallet and valuables in pocket and being careful and assertive are some of the measures which can be taken to minimise the chances of these incidents. Registering FIR as soon as possible is an important step which should be taken and it can be helpful in locating your things.

Edited by Pragash Boopal

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


[i] 1997 BomCR Cri

Ritika Sharma
I am Ritika Sharma, pursuing B.com LLB (Hons.) from University Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh. My fields of interest are Law and psychology. I love to research and write articles and poems on social issues. I have a penchant for reading novels of different genres. When I am not reading or writing, I am probably sketching and watching movies. I like exploring and knowing the facts of mysterious places and incidents as well.