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“Attenzione, pickpocket!” Cittadini Non Distratti’s Efforts to Stop Pickpockets

By: Kayla Feng

Cittadini Non Distratti, an Italian group of European anti-pickpockets, is raising awareness for pickpocketers on the loose. Cittadini Non Distratti (Italian for Undistracted Citizens) consists of volunteers who alert citizens by filming and posting online pickpockets red-handed.

“Attenzione pickpocket” is Cittadini Non Distratti’s phrase to warn tourists to watch their belongings. ‘Attenzione pickpocket” has become a viral meme on Tiktok.

57 year old Monica Poli, a resident of Venice and pickpocket watchdog says, “We want to protect all of the tourists and let them know what is happening in Italy.”

Monica and the other pickpocket watchers look for these telltale signs of a pickpocketer. Pickpocketers go for the big kill: designer bags, jewelry, cameras, and phones. They often wear big sun hats to cover their faces and open flowy skirts, says Gillian Longworth McGuire, a Venice-based travel writer. They follow targets closely, but not too close. They bump into people and try to draw your attention away from your belongings.

Pickpocketers are also more likely to be pregnant women or teenagers because if teenagers or pregnant women get caught, they'll get shortened sentences. After all, teenagers are minors and pregnant women because of their health accommodations.

If you get robbed, inform authorities immediately. Otherwise, you’re letting a pickpocket get away! You can yell and call them out after you’ve done that, but pickpockets will often just scramble away.

However, Monica Poli said she once had an incident with four women she’d called out as pickpockets. The women injured her neck. Pickpockets can be dangerous- to belongings and people. That’s why people need organizations like Cittadini Non Distratti and people like Monica Poli.

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