Organised Street Crime — a Talking Points lesson plan for reading, speaking & vocabulary

Many cities around the world have organised street crime. Run by professional gangs who take advantage of the large number of people and the anonymity the city provides.

In this lesson, we are looking at street crime and the highly organised gangs that operate in big cities. This is a great lesson plan to help students discuss the topic of crime.

Download the full and complete lesson plan today. Just click the link below…


What is organised crime?

Does your city or town have any organised crime? What kind of crimes do these people commit?

What can be done about it?

Robbery in Broad Daylight

Dan watches the crowd carefully.

But he is invisible. If anyone does see him, he is nondescript. They could not describe what he looks like, what he is wearing, the colour of his hair.

But Dan can remember every face in the crowd. He is on the lookout.

Then he sees his mark.

A man, middle-aged, maybe around 50. He wears a dark blue suit, shirt and tie. He has a look of mild impatience on his face. He pulls his right hand up to the left of his chest.


Dan steps forward to his accomplice.

He speaks: Man with dark suit. Left inside pocket.

Dan’s accomplice doesn’t react, he makes no sound. He holds his mobile phone to his ear. There is no one on the phone, but to anyone who sees him, he is just another man making a call.

A woman stands in front of the bank. She looks like she is waiting for someone. She wears an expression on her face of concern.

The man in the suit walks towards the bank, enters.

The woman glances over to Dan who raises his eyebrows, nods to the man in the suit. Then he pulls his right hand to the left side of his chest and taps his hand twice.

The woman makes no gesture, there is no reaction from her. She continues to stand by the bank door, waiting for her friend.

Minutes pass by.

It is Friday lunchtime, and people are hurrying back to work. They want to finish their last few hours in the office, then go home. They want to spend time with their families at the weekend.

Many of them hurry in and out of the bank to take money out.

The man in the suit reappears.

Just as he comes out the bank the woman moves to the side and bumps into him.

He looks into her face.

The woman reaches a hand out to his arm. Holds him.

She apologises. I’m sorry, so sorry.

She is attractive, maybe mid- to late-twenties.

The man in the suit smiles back at her.

No problem. No harm done.

Dan’s accomplice takes the steps up the bank. He brushes between the man in the suit and the woman. And then he is inside the bank.

The woman shakes her head. People are so rude.

The man in the suit laughs. Everyone is in a hurry.

The woman apologises again.

The man in the suit shakes his head. It’s nothing.

The woman waves her hand. Bye.

The man leaves. He smiles. Today is not such a bad day after all.

Dan is already inside the bank. He stands by a counter with lots of forms. His accomplice places a wallet on the counter. Dan picks it up, puts it inside his jacket.

His accomplice goes to one of the bank staff, asks a question. The bank clerk points at the row of ATMs.

Dan leaves.

The woman stays where she is.

Dan, his accomplice and the woman all work so well together.

The perfect team.

Reading Comprehension Questions

  1. What day is it? What time is it?

  2. What are people doing?

  3. Describe Dan. What does he look like?

  4. Who does Dan see?

  5. Describe the man Dan sees. What does he look like?

  6. What does the man do with his hand? What part of his body does he touch?

  7. Who does Dan talk to next?

  8. What does he say to him?

  9. How does his accomplice react?

  10. Who is standing in front of the bank?

  11. What is the woman doing?

  12. Where does the man in the suit go?

  13. What gesture does Dan make to the woman?

  14. What does the woman do when the man in the suit comes out the bank?

  15. How does the man react?

  16. Does the woman touch him?

  17. Who passes between the man and the woman?

  18. Where does Dan go?

  19. Where does he stand?

  20. What does the accomplice put on the counter?

Essential Vocabulary

























shakes his head

waves her hand





bank clerk








Write down all the words and phrases in your vocabulary notebook. Look in your dictionary

and find the meaning of each word. Write the definition next to each word.

Then make up your own sentences using each word or phrase.

For example:

Invisible unable to be seen by the human eye.

I sometimes wish I were invisible. And not let anyone see me at all.”

Discussion Questions

  1. What happened in this story?

  2. What does Dan do? What is his job?

  3. Does Dan know the woman?

  4. Dan uses the term “mark”. What is a mark? Who is the mark in this story?

  5. Does the man in the story know he is a mark?

  6. Do you think Dan and his team are clever? Or are they really bad? How would you describe them?

  7. Are there people like this in your town or city? What do they do? How do they operate?

  8. What other methods of cheating money or stealing from people can you think of?

  9. Do you take any special precautions when you are in a crowded area? How do you look after your wallet, your bag, your smartphone or your personal possessions in a crowded area?

  10. How can people learn about the dangers in a crowded area?

  11. Have you ever experienced something like this in your town or city? What happened?

  12. Have you ever witnessed someone being robbed in your town or city? What happened? Did you say anything?

  13. What can be done about organised crime in big cities? What can the police do?

  14. Is it someone’s personal responsibility to protect themselves from organised crime? Why?

  15. Is organised crime becoming worse in big cities? Why do you think so?

  16. If we live in a cashless society, will this reduce organised crime? How?

Role Play

This is a role play activity.


There are two characters:


    • the man in the dark blue suit in the story

    • his wife


The Situation

The man gets back to the office and checks his pocket. He finds that his wallet is missing.

He took out a large amount of money in the bank and now it is all gone.

He realises he has been robbed.

When he gets home, he has to tell his wife.


But his wife wants to know what happened. She has many questions.

Where did he go?

Did he talk to anyone in the bank? A stranger?

Did anyone talk to him outside the bank?

She wants to find out what happened and solve the mystery of his missing wallet.

But the man is embarrassed and doesn’t want to look like a fool.


In pairs, work together and create a role play to show the class.

When you are ready, show the class!


This is a debate activity.


Divide the class into two groups of equal number. Choose one student to act as chairperson. This student needs to chair the debate and make sure everyone has a chance to speak. They must also ensure there is order and not to allow the debate teams to just shout at each other!


The Situation

There has been a spate of crimes happening in the city centre recently.

Crimes such as

  • Theft

  • Pickpocketing

  • Shoplifting

  • Cheating/scams

  • Selling fake goods

  • ATM data theft

It is well known that these crimes are being committed by organised crime gangs in the city.

The local vendors, cafe owners, shop/store owners and small business owners want this to stop. They know that these crimes are done by small organised crime gangs in the area.

There are two ideas that the business owners have:

  • Provide more police on the streets

  • Provide more CCTV security cameras


Team A

You want to see more police on the streets. You believe that a strong police presence will deter the organised gangs. The police will probably catch many of them too.

Tourists and local customers will feel more secure to see more police and it could restore the area to its former glory.

You think that security cameras are not a strong enough deterrent.


Team B

You want to see security cameras installed. They could work out to be cheaper in the long run. Plus modern technology has facial recognition and so they could catch many of the members of the organised gangs.

You think having too many police in the area could have the effect of driving tourists and local customers away.


Both teams should prepare their arguments and the things they want to say before the debate.

Then when both teams are ready, start the debate!

Organised Crime Gangs

Take a look at the following examples of organised crimes. In the class, discuss each of these crimes.


Do they exist in your town or city?

If yes, why? If no, why not?

If you do have these crimes, what can be done about it?

If you don’t have these crimes, what advice can you give to other towns or cities that do have these crimes?


    • Pickpocketing


    • Theft


    • Cheating/scams


    • Confidence tricks


    • Prostitution


    • ATM data theft


    • Drug dealing


    • Illegal taxi operation


    • Selling fake/counterfeit goods


    • Illegal gambling


You are a journalist for a local newspaper.


You are going to write a news story based on the story at the beginning of the lesson.

The story will feature the man in the suit who was robbed.

Your story raises a few questions about what should be done to protect people in the city centre.


Write your news story. When it is finished, you can read it out in class. Or show it to your teacher for feedback.

You can download the full lesson plan by clicking the link below!

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