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20/20 TV show on PICKPOCKETS.....SCARY!!!!!

20/20 TV show on PICKPOCKETS.....SCARY!!!!!

Jun 23rd, 2001, 11:27 AM
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20/20 TV show on PICKPOCKETS.....SCARY!!!!!

Last night did anyone catch the segment on pickpockets. Oh, are they slick. Many people on this site have mentioned that it is not so bad. However, last night's show on 20/20 made it seem so. Any comments?
Jun 23rd, 2001, 12:04 PM
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We've been over a few times and had no problem whatsoever.

Our first trip found us so paranoid about pickpockets we really didn't enjoy the trip that much.

Just be as careful as you would in any big city, especially in crowds and when you're bumped or jostled.
Jun 23rd, 2001, 12:14 PM
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I saw it and thought it was most interesting - anyone going to Europe should be more prepared to avoid the scams that were televised on 20/20. I have been hearing so much on this forum about pickpockets and other crime, particularly in Spain (Barcelona, specifically, I think) that when I saw the show was on, I made sure to watch it.

What I got out of it was that if you keep your valuables (money and credit cards) in a money belt or securely inside your clothing, are aware of what is going on around you, stay away from people who are trying to sell stuff on the street (particularly items that seem to be too good to be true), you'll probably be okay. It was nice to see in Italy that some of the residents tried to warn tourists of what was about to happen to them.

I've been to Europe on numerous occasions and have never had a problem, although I have seen some suspicious-looking people in public transportation areas and I avoided them. The only time I've ever had a problem, actually, was in Chicago - my friend had her wallet stolen out of her purse (which she thoughtlessly left unzipped) and another time, I came out of a restaurant with a friend, and there was a group of about four individuals who you could tell were going to attempt a scam. We just said loudly to them to stay away, held on to our purses securely and had no problem.
Jun 23rd, 2001, 03:14 PM
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I agree with the other posters on this topic; usually you are at a high risk to be pickpocketed if you do something to "invite" it. For example, leaving your purse unzipped or otherwise open or a wallet visible in a back pocket, etc. My mother, who lives in Denver, comes to visit me in New York City often and I have to tell her to zip up her handbag at least twice a day! Sounds obvious, but you must be aware of these things, even if you don't have to in your everyday life.

Pickpockets are not muggers; they don't want a confrontation, they want to do their work unnoticed. Don't give them opportunities and they won't have any.

Jun 23rd, 2001, 04:04 PM
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In the interest of ratings shows like 20/20 and Dateline only focus on the most severe cases and promote them as the norm. They thrive on scare tactics. They salivate over negative crash test results and try to convince everyone that driving anything other than a tank will certainly result in the dismemberment of your children. The next show proves that tank emissions are destroying the ozone and we're all going to suffer skin cancer as a result.

60 Minutes seems to be the only network news magazine with any integrity, although the agenda of the networks always fits into the angle in which stories unfold.

Common sense and strong arms have protected our pockets from Times Square to Rome's termini. If someone approaches you on the street it's best to keep on walking. Go enjoy your holidays.

Jun 23rd, 2001, 05:15 PM
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Agree with Jon. 20/20 is not going to tell you about all the tourists who "survived" without being picked. That said, be careful any large city any where. I can't tell you how many tourists in SF I tell to keep their shoulder purses next to their bodies on the cable cars. You won't be mugged and raped, just relieved of excess cash and credit cards. You don't need to fear for your life.
Jun 23rd, 2001, 07:04 PM
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My son and I were simply sitting at a
Mcdonald's across from the Arc de Triomphe and a well dressed group of
young twenty year olds sat behind us.
After they left we realized that one of them had unzipped and rifled through my sons jacket and stolen a $150 camera. We
were also accosted by Gypsy children in Florence just down from the train station, but I was prepared for that one. I even went across the street and took a video of the children at their game. They were eventually caught by a husband and wife. DON'T TRY TO TELL PEOPLE IT DOESN'T HAPPEN.
Jun 23rd, 2001, 07:24 PM
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I don't deny the existance of pickpockets and hustlers in tourist areas. I just don't subscribe to the notion that it's reached epidemic proportions and that no one is safe from the fast hands of these shysters. They focus on those deemed easy targets. My point is that by taking a few precautions travellers can avoid becoming a victim.

I'm sorry to hear you lost your camera, but common sense tells me to keep all valuables in sight.

Jun 23rd, 2001, 09:04 PM
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i am going to italy in just a few weeks.
I am going there "armed' with the knowledge that there are pickpockets everywhere and I have tried my best to prepare. I have read most of the postings here and feel confident that I have taken security measures to try and help prevent any pickpockets from targeting me.
Isn't it amazing that we focus on countries other than our own as if the crime is so much worse there? Can you imagine how someone travelling to N.Y. city must be instructed? I am in the city almost every day and have never had a single problem my entire life.
Hopefully, a little preparation and alot of common sense will get us all through this.
Jun 23rd, 2001, 09:12 PM
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Actually, they were very accurate on how the pickpockets operate in Rome. I haven't been to Napoli (except thru train station on way to Positano) and so, can't address that aspect of the show.

Yes, that is EXACTLY how the pickpockets (often gypsies, but not exclusively so) work when plying their trade. If you're in Rome during busy tourist season, you do have to exercise caution on crowded public transportation --- even Rick Steves refers to bus no. 64 as the 'pickpocket' bus.

That being said, I've been to Rome a couple times & have certainly seen people that fit description (gypsies carrying babies, etc.) and learned to avoid any potential problems. I came close to being a victim (on a crowded subway to Vatican), but my small fanny pack was so tightly packed that she couldn't get anything out --- after that near miss, I've NEVER used a fanny pack again. It's not so much scary as you need to be aware of your surroundings & who's around you.
Jun 24th, 2001, 04:59 AM
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I enjoyed watching the show. In my "Europe for Dummies" book, all of those scams were described, but it was good to actually SEE how they happen so I can be prepared.

Intelligent people watch shows like 20/20 and know that it is primarily entertainment. I wouldn't be at all surprised if I found out that some of those muggings were staged. The advertisements for the show made me watch, so the advertisers are happy.

You have to take the same precautions as you would anywhere. I just liked seeing the pickpocketers to remind me to be careful!
Jun 24th, 2001, 04:05 PM
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frankly i never watch 20/20 or ant exposee production like it. i have known in depth about some of the problems they have covered and i have found their presentation to be one sided, bias, very heavily edited just to prove their point. if they do not generate controversy they dont get te audience share and their outrageous salaries. yoou do notd realize how slanted and how one can be easily decieved by dthat type or "journalism. take what they say,cut it in half reduce it by 1/3 and only believe 1/8 or the remainder.
Jun 24th, 2001, 04:56 PM
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Certainly there are pickpockets around. I was with a small group of family in Prague. My cousin's wife got her wallet lifted from her ZIPPED fanny pack that was worn over her stomach. We were on the metro and she never felt a thing.

So far, I have not had a problem. I now wear a pouch around my neck under my clothes with some money, a credit card, and passport. I wear a bag with a strap that is worn diagonally over my body. I do my best to keep it close to my body and try to have it always zipped, etc. I separate my cash and credit cards so that if a pickpocket does get a wallet, he/she doesn't get everything.

Normally, I am not a rude person but when kids try to sell me flowers or someone tries to sell trinkets, etc., I issue a strong, "NO!" and move away quickly. So far, it has worked.

Just watch what is going on around you. Europe is too wonderful to miss on account of pickpockets.


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