Danger in Lyon

Aug 4th, 2004, 01:48 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4
Danger in Lyon

Be exceptionally careful driving in Lyon. My wife and I were nearly carjacked directly in front of the Prefecture of Police on Quai Sarrail yesterday while stopped at a red light, when a man in a motorcycle helmet approached the car from the rear and quickly opened the passenger door and attempted to climb in and take what he could. His accomplice had parked a moped only 25 yards away, and he was able to escape quickly and easily with purse, passport, cash, etc. In our subsequent 2hr interview with the police we were told that this has become a common method for local crime gangs, and in fact an elderly italian couple had been victimized nearby while exiting their car by two men bearing the same description within minutes of our attack. We live in Europe, so the loss of a passport, while problematic, is not trip endangering, however some advice: 1, Consular offices of the US are generally not open to the public and will not help with this sort of problem; 2, in France, Marseille and Paris can issue emergency passports, which is not helpful if ones itinerary does not include these stops; 3, The Consular offices operate for US citizens about 2 hrs a day only. 4, Most importantly, keep a list of your credit cards and their emergency numbers in your hotel for cancellation in case of trouble. The moral of the story, aside from leave your passport in your hotel safe and carry a copy of it in your luggage, is to be extraordinarily careful in towns like Lyon. Numerous french and swiss acquaintances have said that the influx of non-citizen refugees has made this summer particularly crime ridden, and the police in Lyon confirmed that. Lock your doors, even when driving in touristed areas or, as we were, stopped in front of a police station. We lived in NYC for 10 years without a problem and consider ourselves generally savvy in cities and while traveling, having had no problems in Budapest, Morocco, Egypt and numerous other places often considered more crime-infested. Unfortunately we let our guard down momentarily and paid the penalty.
hajecj is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 02:35 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,476
Thanks for the warning. I find it particularly interesting that your friends have decided that the perpetrators must be some of those "non-citizen refugees" even though nobody has been caught or identified.
TopMan is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 02:56 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,144
Hi haj,

Thanks for the heads up. There seems to be a flurry of messages on this subject lately.
ira is online now  
Aug 4th, 2004, 04:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,819
I think what the post says is that an influx of immigrants have raised the levels of crime--not that this was one of them. It was a report of fact (confirmed by the police who would have knowledge), not supposition.
Gretchen is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 05:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,719
What a shame that this happened to you. I'll have to be more careful when we're driving in the city! This is the first report I've heard of this kind of crime here, although when on holiday near Nice a few years ago, we were advised by residents to be wary of this kind of crime on cars stopped at red lights.

I'm aware that petty crime has increased in Lyon but thought this was restricted to certain areas (such as the area behind the Place des Terreaux) where there are a lot of bars and a very scant police presence. In a Lyon pub one evening, my BF had his wallet removed from his jacket (which was hanging on a hook on the bar where we were sitting, right by his knee) and another couple of people were also targeted in the same place that night. Two guys walked in, acting suspiciously (so the barman said, but he couldn't really see what they were doing) and then left separately without finishing their drinks, in possession of various recently acquired wallets.

It definitely pays to be vigilant and take no risks, even when at home!
hanl is offline  

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