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Pickpockets are a hazard in nearly any tourist destination.

Be especially worried in areas where the local income is low, or where you are extremely conspicuous because you are a different ethninc group than locals. For example, in China, many farmers and some urban folk make less than US $50 a month. A tourist who can afford to spend that amount for one night in a hotel is an obvious target for theft.

Protective devices=

There are many ways to stash your money and passport where it will be quite a bit more difficult to grab it.

Many urban outfitter or mountaneering type shops sell a money belt that you wear under your pants. These are typically nylon and have many pockets, so you can have cash, travellers cheques and passport separated. This is probably your most secure option since it is hard for a thief to reach and is in a sensitive area of the body; you are quite likely to notice someone touching you there. The only disadvantage is that some people find them inconvenient to access.

Another type of money belt is just a zipper sewn onto the inside surface of an ordinary belt. These are OK for money, but not passports. They can be bought in some travel-oriented shops, or are easily made.