Attention travelers: The top 10 pickpocket cities
Nothing can ruin a vacation faster than having your pocket picked, warns Smarter Travel’s Carl Unger.
Unfortunately, in some European countries in particular, pick pocketing seems to be the second oldest profession, with several cities popular with North American tourists garnering a reputation as a place where dollar-heavy wallets go to be snatched.
Those spots include …
1. Barcelona, Spain
2. Rome, Italy
3. Paris, France
4. Madrid, Spain
5. Athens, Greece
6. Prague, Czech Republic
7. Costa Brava, Spain
8. Lisbon, Portugal
9. Tenerife, Spain
10. London, England
No matter where you travel be wary of tactics to distract you. Dropped change, a spilt cappuccino or a beggar waving a cardboard sign in your face are tried and tested techniques to steal from you, warns Bob Arno, a Las Vegas-based security consultant and the author of Travel Advisory: How to Avoid Thefts, Cons, and Street Scams While Traveling.
It’s when you’re in a crowd, that you’re most at risk, he believes. If you’re out as a single person walking around, you’re actually not much of target, he says. Pickpockets like to work the crowds, largely because they provide ready-made distractions.
Arno, who has spent more than 20 years bouncing around the globe to study pickpockets, believes so-called "diversion theft" is on the rise in many locales because overworked police officers are often preoccupied with other issues, including terrorism.
To further protect yourself, Unger recommends: carrying as little as possible; putting nothing in your back pocket; wearing a bag that goes across your chest; attaching luggage when sitting either to yourself or your table or chair -- all suggestions echoed by this poice advisory.
Have you been stung? What do you do to protect your wallet when traveling?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: likestotravel | Sep 29, 2021 11:11:12 AM
I've been to 4 of the 5 top pick pocket spots on that list and I'm fortunate enough not to have lost anything.
The way I travel is as follows. On my "exploration" days, I wear long "track pants" that have zipper pockets. I bring two of them.. they're great because they dry incredibly fast when you wash them in the hotel room sink. When I don't wear track pants, I'm usually quite paranoid. Either my hands are in my pockets or they are very close to them.
That being said, I have been a "victim" of a failed pick pocket attempt in the subway in Rome. I was walking into the train and the doors were about to close. This woman who was also trying to get it was pushing a rolling luggage and hit my left foot with it. Naturally, I turn to my left to see my left to see what happened. As soon as I did that, I felt my right pocket zipper being unzipped, so I put my hand back and tried to find out who it was. I looked to my right and standing there were 3 women looking in different directions,... so I'm not sure who's part of the plan. In the end, I checked my pockets and nothing was missing.
Moral of the story? I don't know... maybe paranoia pays off?
Posted by: beenthere | Sep 30, 2021 6:42:44 AM
Just got back from Barcelona. We lost a camera due to a pickpocket on "Las Ramblas". I can tell you though that aside from this, we had an amazing time. Pickpockets or not, you're missing out if you let criminals dictate where you visit and what you wear....
Posted by: rocse | Sep 30, 2021 6:58:39 AM
I am always careful and wear a money belt or chest purse, so most money and passports are less accessible, but still Always be aware! and look confident even when you are lost... so you look less like a target. I have travelled to Europe 5 times, New York City and now China... I am always careful if it is my first visit or not, never let your guard down. As bad as it sounds don't fall for the falling baby routine -many times it is a doll or wad of paper or something that makes you want to catch it... now your hands are free, you are distracted and so is your wallet.
Only once I was pick pocketed on a crowded subway. Try to go near the front or back trains -less crowded... and wear your items in the front. I wore a little back pack on my back and felt Ok as I had a couple behind me "making out" meanwhile they were reaching into my bag! - luckily which only held batteries, tissues and a map. I had a water bottle blocking the zipper, or so I thought. It was a soft plastic so the slightest touch caused it to crinkle, so I thought that would alarm me if someone was in my bag... but they are good and pratice for that sort of thing... no noise and not wanting to stare at an amourous couple was a good ploy. My friend who was right beside me missed the whole thing!
Posted by: ENZO | Oct 1, 2021 11:44:44 AM
If you travel, bring saftey pins and safety pin your pockets on the inside. By doing this, it is impossible to pull anything out of your pocket because the space is blocked. The pins are also hard to remove without you noticing.
Posted by: Seng Foo | Oct 1, 2021 3:55:03 PM
I got pickpocketed when I was in Barcelona. I was waiting for the train and it was fairly crowded. When I was about to get on the train, one guy got in front of me to block me from entering and another guy came from behind me. I was sandwiched in between them and by the time I managed to get into the train, they already opened my bag. Luckily they only managed to take my map and nothing important such as passports and money (which were in the bag at that time!). So to those who are going to Barcelona, please be extra careful in crowded areas!
Posted by: D Warke | Oct 1, 2021 5:41:13 PM
Never been to Europe much but my worst is Manila the hand was in and out in a flash. I only lost about $50.00 USD becaause the rest was in my hand in the other pocket. Mumbai and Jakarta are equally bad. If you don't want to lose it leave it in the hotel safe. Only take the cash you will need for the day.
Posted by: JD | Oct 1, 2021 8:05:45 PM
Subway in Moscow, in 2002. Same scenario as Seng Foo, except I was on the train before I noticed my wallet was gone. Got off at the next station, and reported the theft. Surprisingly, I got a call from the police the next day. I went to the station, where I was asked to describe my wallet, and what was in it, at which point the officer smiled, and returned the wallet. Minus the cash of course. I kind of wish I hadn't spent three hours on the phone the night before canceling my credit cards, because they were all returned and hadn't been used. Apparently, the police had gone to three stations on either side of where I was pickpocketed, and checked the garbage cans. It was found in one of the bins at the entrance to the station, along with a couple of other wallets. I doubt the RCMP would bother looking through trash cans for a tourist's wallet.
Posted by: goliath | Oct 1, 2021 11:19:06 PM
Forgot to mention Vancouver Canada.Taxed to death and you have to pay for any tax payer paid government service in cash.You are ticketed for just being.Food prices and rent prices through the roof.Our pockets are picked continuously.
Posted by: doug lethbridge.. | Oct 2, 2021 2:32:43 PM
I have travelled..throughout the wordl as military/civilian, in the worst, neibourhoods/ghettos..
Mexico, Colombia,Venezuela, Peru, Subic Bay, Phillipines.. Miami,fla., Cicero, Chicago, Harlem, N.Y,New Orleans, Quarter..East L.A. Cal., East London..lower Paris..Napoli, Italia..etc., Do not drink in excess, dress casually like a local.. keep your mouth shut, if you speak..use the language..arm yourself and kill..your life or theirs..[dead folk can't talk..] if you don't have the cojones..stay out of those places anyway..!] Vacation at home..eat well, get a restful and secure sleep and go back to the grind ready for your routine once again..fully refreshed, and survived for another term..how long,,as long as you practice..do the necessary, don't blink, don't hesitate..trust only G-d and his Angels..] beware of too smily friendly folk intent of knowing you..beware of greeks/geeks bearing gifts...!!! Eh, nes pas..?
Posted by: Ted C | Oct 5, 2021 5:33:40 AM
Had my pocket picked 2x in my life. once in Amsterdam and once at the CNE in Toronto. Both a long time ago. Best advice here is to NOT take more money than u will spend that day, and dont dress flashy etc.... Fit in, dont keep all ur cash in one spot on you, and use your back pocket for other things than a wallet/passport etc.... I usually try the opposite approach than many here... I carry my passport and daily cash (actually about 50% of my daily cash) and show it openly and vocally to my partner saying its all we have and can afford. Virtually everyone speaks some kind of Eng these days and we have had no troubles whatsoever... The pickpockets arent looking for a quick 50-100 bucks, they want the cards, jewlwery, etc....