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The next time you travel to Austin, Texas you might want to pay more attention to your surroundings and where you carry your wallet, phone or purse. The criminal act of pickpocketing is back and reportedly flourishing in Austin.

Citizens are reporting more stolen wallets, purses and cell phones. Those criminals are targeting people who aren't paying attention because they're listening to music or just too busy scrolling though Twitter.

According to KXAN, Police data out of the Austin Police Department shows that citywide, pickpocketing has increased a whopping 269 percent since the same time last year. In Downtown Austin? There's a spike of 175 percent.

From KXAN:

“It moves you from paranoia to confidence and awareness and that feels incredible,” Yarchin said.

The latest Austin Police data shows citywide pickpocketing has shot up 269% when comparing this February to the same time last year. With downtown seeing the highest spike year-to-year of 175%. It’s an area where we have seen more and more crowds starts to gather recently.

“You have to think criminals like pickpocketers are looking for an easy score,” said Crouch.

Of course this goes along with other spikes in crime that Austin has seen downtown and along Sixth Street. Austin has also seen a spike in homeless in the downtown area over the last couple of years and that could be something that has added to the crime in downtown and along Sixth Street.

In the article from KXAN, reporters talk to Kelsey Crouch of Valor Defense Academy about situational awareness and how to defend yourself. The main takeaway is no matter where you are, Downtown Austin or Downtown Lubbock, know your surroundings.

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