Avoid Being Pickpocketed While Eating In A Big City Thanks To TikTok's Genius Strap Hack

Whether you're fully on board with the culinary travel trend or just enjoy sampling new flavors, food is an important part of any vacation. However, it just takes one sneaky pickpocket or bag snatcher to ruin the experience. Thankfully, TikTok has a simple — and smart — trick for keeping your valuables safe while you're busy gorging on the local cuisine.

Content creator @annreimann02 demonstrated the hack in a viral clip that has racked up over 1.7 million likes to date. All you have to do is grab your purse or bag, put one leg through the strap, and pull the bag up to your thigh. In this position, the bag can rest on your lap or chair but remains securely tucked under your leg, making it difficult for thieves to swipe it during your meal.


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♬ Just A Girl – No Doubt

The video, complete with the text "pov: you have dinner in barcelona," was intended for those visiting Spain's second largest city, but you don't have to be a tourist visiting Barcelona to try the hack. The leg-lock method can come in handy during a trip to any big city, especially when you're seated at a restaurant's outdoor terrace or other spot with a lot of foot traffic.

How thieves target diners

As a tourist, you probably realize that you're already a target for thieves, but this is especially true when you sit down at a crowded restaurant or café terrace. Sometimes, the criminals are fellow diners, seated next to your table enjoying their meal. Other times, they're peddlers visiting each table or a random passerby who grabs your bag before you can even detect their presence.

As long as your bag isn't secured while you eat, it's vulnerable to sticky fingers. One of the easiest ways to attract a bag snatcher or pickpocket is by hanging your bag on the back of your chair, where it's out of your sight and can be stolen while you're focused on your food. Leaving your bag on the floor is no better — a thief can simply kick the bag from under your table before grabbing it and making their getaway.

The TikTok hack posted by @annreimann02 prevents both scenarios. With the bag strap around your leg, you deter pickpockets and snatchers looking for an easy swipe. The bag is also kept within your line of vision, making it harder for thieves to sneak away with it.

Be aware of one common pickpocket move

The TikTok strap hack is worth trying next time you're traveling in a big, crowded city, but that doesn't mean you should let your guard down completely. Some brazen pickpockets are known to slash the straps of bags and run away with the main compartment — where you're most likely to stash your phone, passport, cash, and other valuable belongings. This happens most often on the street or near train doors where thieves can make a quick escape, but it could also occur while you're sitting at a restaurant.

If a snatcher cuts your bag while you're eating, they could pull the strap from under your leg and still get away with your personal items. To prevent this, be sure to sit on the body of the bag — not just the strap, as is shown in the TikTok clip — when sitting at a restaurant. If the bag is too bulky to rest under your leg, consider wearing a sweater or jacket and tucking the bag (with the strap across your body) underneath instead.

Another way to outsmart thieves is by carrying a bag with a cut-resistant strap during your travels. These straps are common on anti-theft bags, though you can also choose a purse with a chain strap instead. Alternatively, use Rick Steves' simple tricks for avoiding pickpockets and secure your important documents and money in a money belt while you're out. These belts keep cash and cards safe under your clothes and out of criminals' reach.