Do not put anything valuable in thigh pockets (cargo shorts/pants).
If you are carrying valuables, put them in more than one pocket.
Protect your valuables by putting them closer to your person, and in the case of your backpacks, bags, and purses, place them in the inside pocket and secure the zippers with a clip that will fit through the hole of the zippers.
Defend your personal space (try avoiding walking or standing in crowds like on busy trains).
Carry bags and backpacks in front of you with nothing valuable in outer pockets.
Any purse or day bag should have a strap no longer than just under your elbow (helps prevent bag slashing and easy access to what is inside). Wide straps on purses and bags offer better protection.
Carry day bags and purses diagonally across neck and chest.
Carry you bag and/or purse on the sidewalk side instead of the street side.
Be aware of scams that cause distractions, like being squirted with something and having a seemingly kind lady try to clean it up. Pickpockets thrive on distraction, whether they cause it themselves or you are just watching a street performance.
Always remain vigilant.
If You Catch a Pickpocket
Make a scene (pickpockets try to avoid attention and often run from too much attention).
If you still have your valuables, immediately walk or run in opposite direction of perpetrators.
Pickpockets generally avoid confrontation, but if a weapon is visible, comply with their demands.
If You Already Have Been Pickpocketed
Inventory what was lost.
File a report with the NYU Shanghai Department of Public Safety.
File a police report of the theft at the local police station.
Alert your travel insurance company if covered for theft (a police report is key in this case).