Heroic Lady Campaigns to Expel Pickpockets from Venice, Italy
If you've been on TikTok recently, then you may have noticed a lot of videos using the sound of a woman yelling "Attenzione Pickpocket!" and wondered what it's all about...
It started when the account @cittadininondistratti2, posted a video of a lady in Venice, Italy who repeatedly yelled the phrase in Italian at pickpockets, with similar posts like this in 2023.
In English "Attenzione Pickpocket!" means "Attention Pickpocket!" as the woman tried to warn others of the petty thieves while the TikTok username "Cittadini Non Distratti" means "Citizens not distracted."
Though the account got suspended, a new one called @cittadininondistratti2 was created and posted videos from June 12 this year where it now has over 328,000 followers.
The TikTok profile is full of similar videos where the women shouting at the pickpockets to ensure the general public are aware of them.
People in the comments section have been sharing their love for the viral videos and for the women helping to stop others from getting their personal items stolen.
One person said: "Love this woman she spends all her free time saving tourists from pickpockets, not all hero’s wear capes."
"She is a national treasure," another person wrote.
Someone else added: "The Italian government needs to start paying her."
"Thank you for your service ma’am," a fourth person commented.
However, a Venice police officer has warned against this kind of vigilantism.
"It's forbidden to put these recordings on the internet," Diego Brentani from the Venice Police Union told Deutsche Welle, noting especially if those involved minors and said the citizens should not get physical but should presume innocence if they aren't caught red-handed.
Though the report also added how "Venice police have their hands full, and welcome help from the volunteers."
"Especially if they are minors. It's forbidden to get physical—even if the people concerned are known pickpocketers. As long as they are not caught red-handed, the presumption of innocence applies."
A video from the original account was reposted by TikTok user @georgeachi55 where the woman shouts this now recognisable expression and it went viral with 4.2m views.
The woman behind the account is 57-year-old Monica who has been part of the 40-strong group of disturbance against pickpockets for 30 years.
"We decided to make our videos go viral to inform tourists to be careful," Monica toldNewsweek.
"There is a lack of prevention and information about what is happening in the city and we are all happy that these videos are letting people see the problem in Venice and throughout Italian cities."
People have since been using the sound (over 7,115 times) in hilarious ways to have a laugh with their mates or to joke about their pets - here are some of our favourites from the trend.