How to beat matatu pickpockets at their own game

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Matatus are the most popular means of public transport but are also the hub of pickpockets and thieves.

Pickpockets have evolved from being shabby-looking to being elegant and smartly dressed, making it difficult to easily identify them.

If you depend on matatus for your daily commute, here are a few tips you can use to identify a potential pickpocket and how not to be a victim.

Pickpockets typically function in a group of two or three people. One of the group members might provide a distraction while the other one steals from you. Be careful when you are around a mysterious group of people.

They sometimes disguise themselves as helpful strangers. They might point out your untied shoelace but the reality is they are trying to divert your attention from your valuables so that they can steal.

Look out for underage boys and girls. Unfortunately, young boys and girls are also being used to steal from unsuspecting victims. If you notice a child displaying suspicious behavior, chances are they are not too innocent.

Avoid scrambling for matatus. Fighting to get a seat in matatus puts you at a vulnerable place. While scrambling, you don’t feel your valuables being stolen. If you can avoid it, do.

When inside a matatu whose Sacco is known to be notorious for pickpockets, ensure you keep the bare minimum in your wallet. Also, keep your backpack or purse in front of you and store your valuables in your front pocket.

The most important tip is being vigilant, always. Pickpockets come in many shapes and sizes and being extra vigilant is the major thing that’ll help you.

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