According to the International Association of Pick-Pockets, the revenues of the pick-pocketing industry are down 21% since last November, and projected to drop another 13% in the next year due to the recession. But despite the decline in revenue, there has been a substantial increase in the workforce. The IAPP states that there are 15% more pick-pockets internationally than there were in June of last year. At the iapp conference in Rome last week, prominent pick-pockets from around the globe discussed the issues.
"The average annual income of a pick-pocket in Europe was 37,000 Euros in January 2008, but that is down to 25,500 since November," said Alfonzo Amadassi, the president of the Italian Pick-Pockets Association which hosted the conference this year. "People just don't carry that much cash around anymore." a study done by the iapp in January 2009 shows that the average money made pick-pocketing one person has dropped 26% since 2008, from $21.36 to $15.81. The numbers are also down in Europe where it dropped from 18.25 to 13.51.
The keynote speaker at the conference, Fabio Barros, the vice president of the united Brazilian pick-pockets, spoke on how struggling pick-pockets around the globe can increase their incomes. "New techniques must be explored, such as the help-an-old-lady-cross-the-street-and-take-her-money technique, and the knock-down-a-person-with-a-lot-of-stuff-and-offer-to-help-them-pick-it-up-so-you-can-take-some-of-it technique. These techniques must be perfected and taught to pick-pockets around the world to ensure the success of the industry." He said that the IAPP should hold clinics in countries around the world to make sure "that all pick-pockets are adequately trained." he also added that "some of these young pick-pockets just don't understand, you have to take their money without them noticing. We need to change that"
The next speaker, Johnny fat-fingers of the US national pick-pockets association, re-enforced the need for training and technique development, but he was also a big supporter of the idea of unions. "Pick-Pocketing unions would ensure that every worker is adequately trained, but they would also provide insurance, legal support, and a place for new workers to go to get their questions answered. In the U.S., we're also making a big push to get federal stimulus dollars to improve the workforce skills of us pick-pockets so they better compete in the global economy."
During the conference, there were many workshops hosted by prominent pick-pockets on perfecting techniques. Mr. Barros hosted a session on his help-an-old-lady-cross-the-street-and-take-her-money technique, while others hosted workshops on piggy bank theft, pick-pocketing people in skinny jeans, how to search someone's bag without them noticing, pocket-cutting and how to find the clueless guy who won’t be watching his money.
This is a hard time for pick-pockets, but with concentration and hard work, they can pull through in this economy.