Crimestoppers launches ‘#putpockets’ campaign to raise awareness of pick pocketing

Independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers has launched an innovative and imaginative campaign entitled ‘#putpockets’ to highlight the dangers and raise awareness of pickpocketing across the UK.

The hard-hitting integrated campaign produced by OgilvyOne UK, includes footage of sleight of hand experts, including a former pickpocket and magician, sliding cards into people’s pockets and bags directing them to, which outlines the dangers and signs of lurking pickpockets.

The cards were shaped in the style of everyday items we are likely to carry in our pockets or bags, including smartphones, tablets and wallets, carrying the message that if someone can get something into your bag, they can also get something out

Stealth theft, where no force is used and the victim is unaware of the crime, makes up around 70-80 per cent of theft from the person incidents*.

There are also strong links between rising ‘theft from the person’ and increased ownership of smartphones, with these being the most stolen item nationally (25% of victims had their phone stolen).*

Every day over 1,700 members of the public have something taken from their bags or pockets.** This is partly due to the huge number of people now carrying valuable items such as smartphones and tablets.

Traditionally posters have been used to highlight the issue in the worst affected areas. However, research shows that posters can actually make matters worse as we subconsciously tap our bags and pockets to ensure our valuables are still there - thus sending a clear signal to the pickpockets who have learned to loiter nearby.***

Easy to be a victim

Roger Critchell, Director of Operations for Crimestoppers, said: “We want to highlight how easy it is for someone to be a victim of crime without even knowing a crime against them is taking place.

“This campaign is not intended to scare the public, but is in fact designed to educate them about the dangers of prowling pickpockets and ask them to ensure they are vigilant when out and about.”

Emma de la Fosse, Executive Creative Director at OgilvyOne UK said: “By distributing leaflets in this way, we actively created what scientists call a ‘hot state’, which is conducive to lasting behavioural change. Exposing people to the possibility of something, but without them being directly affected, is proven to create greater resonance and impact. This campaign highlights how easy it is for someone to be a victim of crime, without any harm actually taking place.”

To see the video of the ‘putpocketing’ in action and the response of some of the individuals in the film, please visit and use #putpockets on Twitter.


For more information and media enquiries please contact Media Officer Kieran Theivam on 0208 835 3727 or email


Notes to Editors


-      *Theft from person statistics from the Home Office ‘Theft from Person: Information Pack for Partners’ July 2013.

-      ** Crime Survey for England & Wales – Office of National Statistics.

-      *** Information provided by OgilvyOne.

-      Crimestoppers is an independent charity which helps the police to solve crimes, making communities safer. It does this by operating the 24/7 telephone number 0800 555 111 which people can ring to pass on information about crimes anonymously. They can also use our Anonymous Online Form.

-      Around 20 people are arrested and charged every day as a result of information given to Crimestoppers.

-      Since Crimestoppers began in 1988, it has received over a million actionable calls, resulting in over 126,000 arrests and charges. Over £127 million worth of goods has been recovered and over £301 million worth of drugs has been seized.

-      In 2005, Crimestoppers launched the UK’s Most Wanted on its website which allows the public to view images of criminals and pass on vital information about their whereabouts. It has been highly successful with over 2,500 arrests to date.

-      Crimestoppers UK was founded by Lord Ashcroft, KCMG PC, Chairman of Trustees. In 1988, he launched Crimestoppers in the Metropolitan Police area. Crimestoppers’ ‘call to action’ is built on a three-way partnership between the business community, the police and the media.


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