What would you do if you saw the guy next to you on the bus have things stolen right out of his pocket? Do you turn a blind eye? Scream? Slap the hand of the thief? Make a scene? Play Robinhood and try to steal the money back when he is not looking, so that you can be the hero and give it to the first guy?
This is a question all of us expats have had to ask ourselves at one time or another. My friend uses his imposing six foot stature to step into the middle of the proceeding. He will actually become a wall between the crook and his target. While glaring down at the robber with such a menacing stare he will try to connive them of their sinfully ways and call them to repeat all in one look.
Considering most of the pickpockets carry knives in their pockets I try to be carefully doing anything that will draw attention to them or make them angry. My favorite trick is to stomp on the foot of the person who is in the midst of having their belongings taken. Sometimes as they squirm around in pain, from a good foot tramping, they move in such a way as to make their pocket unreachable to the eager hand.