(https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/why-is-pickpocketing-such-a-problem-in-europe-326492/#) Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (https://www.fodors.com/community/) > Destinations (https://www.fodors.com/community/destinations/) > Europe (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/) (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/why-is-pickpocketing-such-a-problem-in-europe-326492/) > Why is pickpocketing such a problem in Europe?
Scottee25 Why is pickpocketing such a problem in Europe? (/community/profile/sco I understand, much like why bank robbers rob banks, it's because that's where the money is. ttee25/) But seriously, I see so much talk about pickpockets in regards to Europe. I am sure we have Original Poster pickpockets here in the US but are they a primary concern of Europeans that visit the US? Join Date: Jun 2003 Posts: 96
As far as pickpockets go, how lickly are they to slice a bag open to get you stuff? Is it really that possible that they could slice your bag open without you feeling any movement? I am a bit concerned since my wife is not very observent and even as observent as I am, the impression I get is that if they really want my stuff, they will get it without me even knowing it. I have a bag that I bought for my digital camera that I think would be perfect in Europe. The question is, is it really that theft deterrent? It is a bag by Samsonite called Worldproof. It has a lip that latches to the bottom of the bag that covers the zippers. Under the lip there is a pocket that has a double zipper that could be secured with a small travel lock(I liked the idea of another poster that suggested a small travel combo lock for easy access) and then a double zipper under yet another firm lip that is for the main opening to the bag. Getting this zipper open even while you are in control of the bag is a task all in itself because of the firm overhanging lip let alone a pick pocket that may try to open it while I have it on me. I still don't see how he could get the first latch open, the locks off the zippers, and the zippers open all the while the latch and zippers are pressed against my body without me noticing. There would not be enough time in a bump and grab to do that. It just doesn't seem feasible. Am I just being niave?
Jun 11th, 2003, 03:27 PM
uh_no_ying1 (/community/profile/uh _no_ying1/) Join Date: Jun 2003 Posts: 73
Why is violent crime such a problem in the US? Why is theft such a problem in tropical paradises like the Carribean and Hawaii? Why is terrorism such a problem in Israel? Hhmmm, let me ponder your question some more and get back to you. >)
They seem to be very sly. Once on a metro just before the doors opened I saw a man bump against my husband then hop off the train. My husband thought he had slipped his hand under his jacket. This one got nothing. On the other hand, one night sleeping on a 1st floor in Nice, France, I was visited by a cat burglar. That is to say he climbed in my hotel window at dawn(probably could hear my mom's snorring and thought it was safe). He walked around our two beds and stole ~$300 from us. I awoke just in time to see him jump out the window. I though I was dreaming but got up to look out the window and there he was, counting my money, dressed all in black. The only help I got from the hotel was that I should never leave my window open!
MGB The concern is not so much the pickpockets themselves as the problem it creates if you are (/community/profile/mg pickpocketed so far from home. Where you keep such things as your passport, return tickets, b/) and charge cards are the concern because if they are stolen overseas it becomes a much bigger hassel than if it happens while you are in the US. Join Date: Jan 2003 Posts: 305
That is why people will recommend that you have a xerox copy of your pass port, secure your return tickets or use e tickets, and keep your numbers handy in addition to ways of securing them. Also keep in mind that time is important on your vacation and do you really want to spend it replacing these items? Pick pockets are just as prevalent in areas where we vacation in the US or even in our own towns. We usually are more aware of the places to be cautious and may not have to worry about pass ports or return tickets. I would imagine Europeans are just as concerned when they are in the US for the same reasons. Just my opinion.
Scottee25 2 of those questions can be answered fairly easily. (/community/profile/sco ttee25/) Violent crime is such a problem in the US due to the incredible amount of freedom we have in Original Poster obtaining firearms mixed with poverty. Join Date: Jun 2003 Posts: 96
Terrorism in Isreal? Take 2 clashing religions and place them in what is believed the be some of the holiest land on the planent. But are pickpockets a primary concern of European travelers visiting the US? If not, what is it that does concern them? As far as theft in Hawaii and the Carribean.. if Europe is anything like there, I have no worries then. I never once worried about being pickpocketed in the Carribean.
Scottee25 Well we will be spending 1 night in a hotel in Barcelona and then the next 12 nights on a (/community/profile/sco cruise ship. If I am not mistaken, our cabin does have its own safe and there are safety deposit ttee25/) boxes available on a first come basis. I was planning on redundancy on the trip. I plan to have Original Poster 2 copies of everything and store original passport, plane tickets, etc in the room safe. I believe that it is better to have too much info with me than not enough. I plan to make up an excel Join Date: Jun 2003 spreadsheet with any phone number(Credit card co, Airline, Medical Insurance, US Posts: 96 Consulates at each port) along with any pertainent info. Better to be prepared, especially that far from home.
Yaz got me so confused with ya zipper bag contraption, I wouldn't even bother answering about its security! So I can only imagine a thief not wanting to tamper with it!!!
Join Date: Jun 2003 Posts: 73
Whys pickpocketing such a problem? Seems ya got something valuable they want, ya stick out like a sore thumb, ya looking somewhere else, so yous easy pickins. And whats gonna happen if they catch the thief? Ya gonna be around months from now during the bureaucrapic process to testify? Europeans have other things to worry about in the US, if they want to come here at all! We have our own set of problems. And at least we don't have to worry so much about violence if we travel abroad to Europe!!! >)
Jun 11th, 2003, 04:25 PM
BrimhamRocks (/community/profile/bri mhamrocks/) Join Date: Jun 2003 Posts: 1,407
RE: pickpockets in Europe I posted this on another thread: My sister got robbed in Barcelona. She was coming off the train and the robber pushed her back onto the train, against the tide of people who were getting off. In the confusion, the robber unzipped her fanny pack, which she had turned around to the front because she thought it would be "safer" that way, and got her passport, her train ticket, and her traveler's checks. It was very scary for her, but luckily, very luckily, her things were recovered.
Linda0515 My impression is that pickpocketing is a longstanding tradition in some European subcultures (/community/profile/lind but simply never caught hold in the US, perhaps because, as another poster said, US thieves a0515/) resort to more violent measures, perhaps because of the prevalence of weapons. Join Date: Apr 2003 Posts: 238
derrinraw Pick pocketing is not a problem in Europe. It is a problem in certain cities: london, Rome, (/community/profile/der Naples, Paris. They usually work in groups and target tourists. No solution just be alert to what rinraw/) is going on arround you. Dont flash cash or expensive cameras, jewellery etc. :-? Join Date: May 2003 Posts: 78
Jun 11th, 2003, 07:58 PM
nancy (/community/profile/na ncy/) Join Date: Jan 2003 Posts: 771
The only time I saw pickpocketing in all my travels was on the Paris metro - 3 times, one attempt on my sister's backpack (I bumped them off). Personally, I place all important docs in a money belt. For things I need easy access, I place them in front of me with my arm over them. I think this is the best you can do.
Marilyn Of course it can happen to anyone, but...street-smart is street-smart anywhere in the world. (/community/profile/ma rilyn/) 1. Be aware of where your stuff is and who is around you. Watch each other's backs. Mental "profiling" is not a crime. Join Date: Jan 2003 Posts: 5,107
2. Keep your arm over your purse, pack, or camera bag, prefereably with your hand on the place where it opens. 3. Look like you know where you're going and what you're doing. If you have to stop to consult a map, move away from the stream of traffic on the street or in the subway, so an approaching stranger will be more noticeable. 4. Remind yourself every once in a while of the sorts of scams that are designed to take you by surprise -- coins being tossed down, several kids coming at you at once, etc. Think about how you want to react. You still might get fooled, but if you've thought about it there's a chance you'll react more quickly.
Jun 11th, 2003, 11:09 PM
BrimhamRocks (/community/profile/bri mhamrocks/) Join Date: Jun 2003 Posts: 1,407
I watched a pickpocket at work on the Paris metro. He was wearing a long coat (not unusual in January), but he had cut holes in his pockets. With both hands in his pockets, he would lean into people, pull their wallets out, and draw his hand, and the wallet, back in the pocket. All without ever taking his hands from his pockets.
I pretty much wimped out, I'm ashamed to say. At that time, I didn't speak any semblance of French, and I was reluctant to "get involved" when I couldn't even communicate.
Join Date: Jun 2003 Posts: 1,407
The only real action I took was when he started moving in the direction of my friend....then I caught his eye, glared at him, deliberately shook my head, indicating she was OFF LIMITS to his pickpocketing. I even stood up, and started moving toward him, just so he'd get the message. He grinned, and moved on in another direction. What nerve.
Jun 12th, 2003, 02:42 AM
RufusTFirefly (/community/profile/ruf ustfirefly/) Join Date: Jan 2003 Posts: 6,098
Actually, violent crime in the USA has fallen in half over the past 25 years. And property crimes have dropped to 1/3 of what they were in 1975. While over the past 10 years, both violent crime and property crimes have skyrocketed in Western Europe. You are now less likely to be mugged in New York City than in London. Though, in fact, tourists are highly unlikely to be mugged in either location.
ira Hi Scottee, (/community/profile/ira/ ) Your camera is about as safe as it's going to be, unless you take it out of the camera bag and someone grabs it out of your hand. Join Date: Jan 2003 Posts: 73,470
Scottee: You feel this way because you are reading travel books written for Americans visiting Europe.
Join Date: Feb 2003 Posts: 551
If you were to read travel books written for Europeans visiting the USA, you would see that USA crime is just as much a concern, maybe more so. Many Europeans are terrified of visiting the USA because of all the horrible things published about USA crimes. The American TV and film industries do not help matters any.
Scottee25 As far as my camera goes, if it is in my hand and the strap is around my neck, what is the likely (/community/profile/sco hood that someone would try to cut the strap and try to grab it out of my hand? If I am the ttee25/) subject of a thief and actually catch him in the act, what is my recourse? I am not sure how the Original Poster laws are in many European countries. Atleast in the states I know I could get away with applying some karma until the police arrive. Join Date: Jun 2003 Posts: 96
As far as money belts, are the ones people speak about the type that you wear under your clothes? If so, how easy are they to access if you need to get any money, passport, credit cards? I want to be safe about things... I just don't want to have to strip down everytime I have to pay for something
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