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Crime and its effect on choice of travel destination

Crime and its effect on choice of travel destination

Old Oct 31st, 2015, 11:32 AM
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Pickpockets are common in big cities. I use a moneybelt and only keep around thirty Euros in easily accessible pockets. If I need to get more money out of the moneybelt I find a toilet and do it out of sight.

Purse snatchers may not be as common, but they do exist. Don't put your purse down anywhere if you have anything valuable in it. Steel cable straps may help, but can become a problem if the purse snatcher is on a motorcycle.

Scammers can usually be avoided with a bit of common sense and rudeness. Don't accept the flowers or friendship bracelets or rings. Don't sign the papers those teen girls try to push into your face.

Actual robberies, with some sort of weapon, is another problem entirely. If that happens you could lose anything you carry. But that's better than getting hurt or killed. And if your hotel room has a safe it might be a good idea to leave some of your valuables there.

I've been to Rome and Paris, although it was a few years ago. I saw a few petition-wavers, one ring scammer and lots of "find-the-ball-under-the-cup" games. But I ignored all of them and did not get pickpocketed or robbed or anything.

If I let fear of crime stop me from travelling I'd be unable to leave my apartment.

Maybe I should go back to Rome again. It's been almost ten years since last time. And I still haven't decided where to go next summer. I've got plans for 2017, but not for 2016.
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Old Oct 31st, 2015, 01:20 PM
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I don't know where the OP is from, but there's more crime on the streets of America then I have ever encountered in all of my trips to Europe, with the lone exception of Barcelona, which seems overrun with some rather gritty street punks, thanks to the EU's open borders.
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Old Oct 31st, 2015, 01:49 PM
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We are in our mid 70s, have traveled extensively by ourselves in Europe for over the past 20 years in all of the great pick pocket capitals of the world. We have spent nearly a total of year in Europe. Never had any problems or are even aware of being close to a problem. We take normal precautions - money belts and min extra bags - try to dress modestly. Not sure you can totally blend in but you should not stand out. There is a difference.

Could we have a problem on the next trip? Sure - but unlikely 'cause we don't make for an attractive target. I think all articles and these types of discussion need to be taken with that grain of salt. Most people who have problems probably were being careless or unprepared. Sometimes I am more nervous in New York than I am in Rome.
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Old Oct 31st, 2015, 02:47 PM
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>>First valuable tip - stop reading The Guardian.<<

Excellent advice.

The only places where crime has really been an issue for me are the places where it's institutional. That is, the cops are worse than the crooks.

I had a camera stolen from a hotel room in Panama some years ago. Cops were called. They said if I gave them $100, they'd get the camera back. Either the cops stole it or someone working for them stole it. Now, that's something to be worried about.

Be aware that officials in places like Paris and Rome are fully aware of their attraction for tourists and the negative effect crime has on the attraction. IME, they don't ignore it and don't take it lightly.
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Old Oct 31st, 2015, 03:01 PM
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I don't think going on a tour in any way mitigates the risk of being pickpocketed. I can't count the number of times I've seen gullible tourists standing in a group around a tour guide gaping up at some stained glass window or architectural feature, completely oblivious to the fact that their handbags were open or their wallets were hanging out of their pockets.

It's so incredibly ironic to me that the people who are the most concerned about petty crime in Europe come from a country where school mass murders and drive-by shootings and loose-canon mentally ill people with weapons are the norm.
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Old Oct 31st, 2015, 03:32 PM
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I do think that St Cirq nailed it.

In European cities, there is street crime, just like cities anywhere in the world. However, one is less likely to be caught in the crossfire between cops and robbers in Europe, blown away by a disgruntled hogh school student, or shot by a child who just happens to be playing with her mother's Smith & Wesson.
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Old Oct 31st, 2015, 03:54 PM
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Like the others: I've never had any problem on all my travels in Europe, including all those alleged pickpocket paradises. (Outside Europe, I've had just one experience, and that went wrong. For the pickpocketer, that is.) I make no other precautions than carrying no other valuables than my wallet, and putting it in a zipped inner pocket in my daypack or, lacking that, in a large plastic bag at the bottom of it.
Realise that reports tend to be extremely biased towards those who had a problem. You never hear about the 99+ percent who happily returned home still in possession of all their belongings.
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Old Oct 31st, 2015, 10:19 PM
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newbe.. I would way rather be pickpocketed then gunned down.. wouldn't you ?

And I do not think St Cirq is an idiot.. but way to play nice there,, her post was fair.. you don't have to agree with it.. but calling her an idiot.. really.. how old are you?
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Old Oct 31st, 2015, 11:00 PM
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justineparis:

s
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Old Oct 31st, 2015, 11:20 PM
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StCirq has a much firmer grasp on reality than people give credit for and obviously has a zero-tolerance for BS. Apparently, some people can't handle someone who speaks frankly, but the advice is solid. Getting personal - who knows who anybody really is on the internet?!!? - only detracts from the conversation. If you've got a personal gripe against someone, save it for a personal conversation and spare us all...

OK - about this "decoy wallet" thing...
I don't recommend this, since for one thing, you are doing something that you know will bring a thief your way. You were very lucky that the decoy wallet was all you lost. Perhaps you didn't notice the pickpocket's friends who were hanging around you, too? The idea is to repel thieves, not attract them.

But maybe some people get a charge out of thinking that they outsmarted someone else. Too much of a chance to take, in my book.
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Old Oct 31st, 2015, 11:46 PM
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Rein - as someone else has pointed out, we don't know where you are from, so we don't know anything about your daily experience. If like me, you live in the country where levels of personal safety are very high, the idea of not being able to walk round without being robbed can be pretty scary. But even in this sleepy backwater there IS crime - burglaries, muggings [a lad was knocked over just so someone could steal his guitar recently] - so it is unlikely that you live in an entirely crime-free zone. Do you worry about that incessantly at home? no, you take sensible precautions and get on with your life.

It's the same on holiday - act sensibly, and don't take anything with you that you can't afford to lose.

If you really can't imagine being able to do that, then perhaps start your travels elsewhere and work up to Paris and Rome. There are many other lovely places to visit, where the crowds will be less and therefore ditto the [perceived] threat of crime.

PS - JJ, I am that idiot who wears her money belt, if not outside my clothes, certainly easily accessible. Why? because I haven't got valuables in it, but am using it just like a purse with money for that day, and a credit card. my passport etc are in the hotel safe. I know that most people don't use one like that, but I do, and perhaps the dimwit you saw was doing the same thing.
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Old Nov 1st, 2015, 02:20 AM
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The gun issue in America has absolutely no place in this conversation. StCirq took a cheap shot at some gun-loving Americans and saw an opportunity to pontificate, or justify here move to France where time stands still: something people like when they're near retirement age.

For the past 20 years, violent crime is down in America, and it's been falling at a consistent rate. If you travel to Paris or Rome (right now), you have a strong chance of encountering a petty thief, especially if you openly carry and mis-use an iPhone.

Your chances of getting shot by a stray bullet in America is probably somewhere near your chances of being in a plane crash.

Those travelers on this board who appreciate history should know the importance of guns to America's history. We are a young country, and old habits (old fears) die hard. The right to protect your property, yourself, and your family from anyone who wants to take those away is deeply held in America, and that's why the right to bear arms is a sticking point of freedom's definition for many here.

StCirq's cheap shot suggests that America engages in public gun toting, a la the style in the Middle East. And nothing could be further from the truth. 99.9% of gun owners in America take gun ownership and gun responsibility very seriously.

I'm not a gun lover or a fan of gun politics, but I know how to shoot. The political gun lobby is VERY powerful in America, and every politician who tries to fight it with reasonable legislation is beat down. Gun owners don't trust anyone when it comes to securing their rights.

Petty crime is a very real problem in Europe's big cities. They do not have the problem under control because too many people can't find work. People out of work have to eat. Those who pretend petty crime is not pervasive simply because it never happened to them do the newbie travelers no favors. All it takes is letting your guard down once.

Readers, travel smart.
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Old Nov 1st, 2015, 02:44 AM
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>> loose-canon mentally ill people with weapons are the norm.<<

The norm? Oh, for chrissakes.

>>I do think that St Cirq nailed it.<<

Interesting definition of "nailed it."
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Old Nov 1st, 2015, 02:50 AM
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The gun issue in America has absolutely no place in this conversation. StCirq took a cheap shot at some gun-loving Americans and saw an opportunity to pontificate, or justify here move to France where time stands still: something people like when they're near retirement age.>>

well, St Cirq can stand up for herself, but it strikes me as ironic that some americans [which I suspect the OP to be] get their underwear in a twist at the thought of being the victim of a minor scam or pickpocket, but don't seem worried by the prospect of being shot in the US by a passing robber or lunatic, or even a cop who just didn't like the way they looked at him. And don't tell us that doesn't happen because the news is full of it every day.

<<99.9% of gun owners in America take gun ownership and gun responsibility very seriously.>>

the trouble is that in the US, even 0.1% of gun owners is quite a lot of people, because you have too many guns in circulation.
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Old Nov 1st, 2015, 03:10 AM
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<i>99.9% of gun owners in America take gun ownership and gun responsibility very seriously</i>

Right. That´s why gun violence is so rare.
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Old Nov 1st, 2015, 03:35 AM
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I never agreed with people on internet forums trying to minimize pickpocketing as some minor street crime, and I don't blame potential travelers examining the risks before traveling. Its not just troublesome, time consuming after the fact, costly but its insulting too. Who wants all that when on vacation?
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Old Nov 1st, 2015, 04:23 AM
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I don't think petty crime is out of control in Europe.

I don't think the US is a young country. Italy for instance was only founded in 1861 long after the French helped the US tax dodgers leave the old empire

The odd thing for a Brit visiting either continental Europe or the US is finding the police are armed. The good thing about visiting continental Europe is only the police are armed. The terrifying thing about visiting the US is the business man I might be meeting not only has a gun in his briefcase, but citizen-ified assault gun in the boot of his car, since the samee business man cannot cross the street without having to use a bleeping ped. crossing I doubt he would do anything sensible with the little metal boxes he carries.

I've been on holiday to the States three or four times and to Europe multiple times, I always feel nervous in the States, I never feel nervous in Europe. I tried to work out why and three things stand out

1) The guns, the fat police, but mainly the guns
2) Health insurance (why is US health so in-efficient????, I mean I don't mind as I invest in it and it makes me big bucks, but why do you let it make me so much money)
3) Why are prices always wrong, some states don't add the tax until you try and buy the thing, some expect tipping, it is like a mercantile society where the mercantile hasn't been fixed yet.

Anyway, I've just spent a couple of hour tidying up our local (volunteers) firestation gardens in bright sunshine and I'm off to prune the mock orange, have a lovely day wherever you are. Travel is as safe as you want to make it.
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Old Nov 1st, 2015, 04:29 AM
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All I can say is, thanks to the majority of you who offered well-considered and respectful replies to my post (I hope you know who you are). I appreciate your not denying the problem, taking me for a complete 'dimwit' devoid of common sense and/or bragging about your travel savvy.


I'd love to really blast the rest of you but it's not worth my time and energy. I'm fairly new to FF and am amazed at the venomous comments I've seen on this and too many other threads. I can live without the vitriol and would be better served seeking travel advice elsewhere.
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Old Nov 1st, 2015, 04:35 AM
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"I'd love to really blast the rest of you but it's not worth my time and energy."

We'll pay you.
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Old Nov 1st, 2015, 04:48 AM
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<i><font color=#555555>"it strikes me as ironic that some americans [which I suspect the OP to be] get their underwear in a twist at the thought of being the victim of a minor scam or pickpocket, but don't seem worried by the prospect of being shot in the US by a passing robber or lunatic, or even a cop who just didn't like the way they looked at him."</font></i>

Sounds like a caffeinated imagination or the thinking of someone who watches too much TV and thinks that every sensational thing she sees on the news is affecting every single individual. Frankly, I have not noticed or sensed any underwear twists. That's an insult to the OP. People on this thread are projecting personal bias, in their typical blow-hardy manner.

I've lived in NYC since I was a teenager. Union Square, my neighborhood, was once drug-deal central during the Koch and Dinkins' administrations. I've been mugged. I've been a witness and a juror in criminal court more than once. I've seen and witnessed a lot of things in 30+ years. I'm a professional observer, this is my career. I have never seen the presence of a gun on the streets of NYC.

But I have had to deal with petty crime in both Rome and Paris.

<i><font color=#555555>"That´s why gun violence is so rare."</font></i>

To the average American individual, gun violence is extremely rare.

To those of you who support StCirq's cheap shot, I would say you are cheap thinkers.
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