Germany has seen another major rise in the number of luggage-theft and pickpocketing incidents, with train stations and trains particularly targeted, according to a German newspaper report citing the country's federal police.
German police reported 44,800 crimes last year, up a quarter from 2014, the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Sunday.
Crime rates have increased continually over the past years, with a rise of 20 per cent from 2013 to 2014.
Police said in many cases the thefts were committed by professional criminals who operate internationally as part of larger teams.
According to the report, three to six people generally work together to pull off a theft. One perpetrator usually monitors the surroundings, another distracts the victim, with the third running off with handbags and larger luggage.
Good will and the willingness to help are often exploited by asking the victim to help read the train schedule or help with using a machine.
Police urged German train passengers not to handle cash, credit cards and important documents in public and to carry valuables close to their person or in protected pockets.