Some of the advice about securing personal items here is a bit of a concern.
Without wishing to cause offence to anyone, there are a few assumptions that need to be challenged:
- that it is possible for you to hide something in your pack/bag that a thief could not find (given time and opportunity),
that a thief will not look somewhere unpleasant,
people who seem nice, friendly and helpful would never steal, and
pilgrims would not steal from each other (not yet mentioned in this threat but has been in other similar threads).
Let's assume that by definition a thief has the intent
to steal (something). Your unattended, unobserved (by you) and therefore unprotected pack provides an opportunity
to a thief.
A thief could be a pilgrim who likes something you have and thinks they should have it (for whatever reason), a thief posing as a pilgrim with the intent to steal, or someone off the street who is targeting a place or person.
Assuming your valuables are in your bag, thief can steal them by:
- searching though your bag wherever you put it, and
stealing your whole bag and taking it somewhere else where they can conduct their search uninterrupted.
You cannot completely remove the risk of theft however you can reduce it. The best way of doing this is to reduce the opportunity to steal something and to increase the time it takes to access your valuables. Some suggestions are:
- Lock your bag so thieves can't get into it without a lot of time and effort,
Lock your bag to a fixture so it cannot be removed from the alburge/pension etc without time and effort,
Keep your bag in view of you or someone you trust (not always practical), and
Keep your valuables with you at all times.
Another less effective idea is to keep your bag in view of other people. This is less effective because there are so many people coming and going that they may not remember (or care) who's bag goes with who.
It is easy for a thief (especially a practiced one) to feign forgetfulness, tiredness or confusion if caught going through your bag.
The suggestion given in a post above of having a motion alarm in the bag would be unlikely to serve as an effective deterrent, unless it was clearly displayed and fastened to the outside of the pack, simply because the thief would not know it was there until it was tripped. Then a thief could simply explain it away. "Sorry wrong bag", "I tripped and kicked it" etc. An experienced thief may wait until you were out exploring and so could also explain away the alarm to bystanders.
The best deterrent for a thief is a visible lock because it increases the time to access the bag and it is difficult to cut a lock or bag without looking suspicious. The assertion in another post above that thieves would think "lock = valuables" might be true in some
cases but in all
cases they will also think "too hard... move on to the next unlocked bag". Thieves are inventive and sneaky but also cowardly. The main thing they want to avoid is getting caught. Lock = greater chance of getting caught.
All of the above are good suggestions to protect yourself against opportunity thieves. If however you flash your valuables around and make yourself the target of determined criminals then you need a whole lot of other advice.
The final thought is have backup plans in place to cover the "what if" scenarios. What if I loose my
Have a plan other than "oh, I'm sure some one will help me" or "the Camino will provide".
The idea is to get all this sorted out so you can focus on enjoying the Camino and not continually worry about what might happen.