Gypsie Pick Pockets

Dec 12th, 2000, 05:52 PM
  #1  
Lem Miller
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Gypsie Pick Pockets

We are traveling to Rome, Florence, and Venice in a few days and many of my friends that have been to Italy each has a favorite pick pocket or theft story to tell. I would like some suggestions on how to carry money and or camera equipment and any recommendations that some of you seasoned travelers may have. This is an excellent format to share information. Thanks in advance.
 
Dec 12th, 2000, 06:36 PM
  #2  
Deena
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Although I've never been a victim of Gypsies, I've had a few close calls. While I was in Nice, I was walking on a less populated street (but not dark or empty). It was in the afternoon and I found myself attracted to a little baby being carried by his mother. The baby was making cooing noises and was so cute. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by at least 6 gypsies. Apparently, this baby was a attractive little lure. When I realized I was in trouble, I tried to run away. Just then, a woman who owned a bakery came running out of her shop with a broom. She started hitting and yelling at them in French. They finally ran away and I thanked the woman. She scolded me for being careless and I've been very aware of my surroundings since. I had another close call in Rome. A group of children came running up to me with newspapers. I had heard about this scam where they try to cover your handbag with the papers and grab the purse. When they tried that, I started screaming at them. They ran away without my purse. I find if you are aware of your environment and surroundings while you are traveling, you are pretty safe. Many times people are overwhelmed with the sights that they aren't aware that they are being 'marked' for a theft.
 
Dec 12th, 2000, 06:38 PM
  #3  
Art
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Hi Lem, put your wallet in your front pocket if you carry one. Wear a money belt under your shirt (for women you can get a necklace bag to wear under your shirt. If you have a small fanny pack, turn it around to the front. For cameras not just over your shoulder but around your neck and shoulder. Be aware of your surroundings. Leave jewlery at home. Use hotel or room safes. I do all of the above including my 2nd camera attached to my belt. I've not had any problems.
Good travels.
 
Dec 12th, 2000, 07:20 PM
  #4  
Anna
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Purchase a money belt that you wear under your clothes, and keep your passport, extra cash, and credit cards in it. Carry only a days worth of spending money in a pocket or wallet. You may want to look at Rick Steve's website for more information
http://www.ricksteves.com/tips/theft.htm
 
Dec 12th, 2000, 10:21 PM
  #5  
Donna
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Leave your wallet at home. You don't need all that stuff with you. Carry anything you don't wish to be relieved of in an under your clothing security pouch. Carry your camera in something other than a camera bag with the brand emblazoned on it. A simple tote bag with your camera buried under brochures, maps and tour guides works well.
 
Dec 13th, 2000, 12:21 AM
  #6  
Sheila
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I'm sorry for those who have been victims of thieves. But please note that not all thieves are Gypsies and not all Gypsies are thieves. As has been said here before, to spress question the way the heading is unaceptablepractice. Sorry for PC interlude, but I thouht you'd like to know
 
Dec 13th, 2000, 01:15 AM
  #7  
frank
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Just tuck everything down your jackboots.
 
Dec 13th, 2000, 02:51 AM
  #8  
Stan
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Frank and Sheila,

You probably don't live in Rome - if you did you would know that Gypsies make no attempt to disguise the fact that they live by stealing (OK a bit of occassional begging). I am actually pretty liberal politically and as PC as the next man but lets face facts they are a major problem and ruin a lot of holidays for many people.

They also do Italy a great diservice as many tourists (particularly from the States) confuse them with Italians.

Quite why the authorities give them so much free space is quite beyond me. It would certainly not be tolerated in the UK or USA.

Enjoy your holiday but watch our for them.

Stan
 
Dec 13th, 2000, 03:11 AM
  #9  
Sheila
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Stan

I have no doubt that there are thieves. Some of them may be gypsies. But the way I hear the language used here I find very difficult.

Gypsies, in terms of UK legislation, are defined as a "race". I don't believe one could or should describe a race of people as the folks in here sometime describe Gypsies.
 
Dec 13th, 2000, 04:48 AM
  #10  
frank
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Stan, you are saying that gypsies are thieves.Try saying that about any of your own ethnic groups in the US.
Have you never heard of THE MAFIA?
Gypsies are kids compared to Italian crooks.
Why don't you start complaining about "thieving Italians"?
Have you wondered why,as you say,its tolerated in Italy but not in the US?

If Lem really wanted advice about thieves he should have asked about thieves.There was no need to mention any race.He was wrong.So are you - the problem is the Italians, not the gypsies.
Italy is a rather corrupt country.
Yes, I have been in Rome & Barcelona & other places in Europe where the local cops allow this to go on, & aren't interested in the victims.I have even moaned about it in this forum.
It will happen anywhere where the law is not enforced.The thieves are always whatever ethnic group happens to be at the bottom of the pile.
Most of the Italian "gypsies" of today are Albanians.So what?
Its still up to the cops to stop it, instead they get away with the racist line "well they're just (fill in your insulting racist epithet) so what can we do about it".
I suggest you complain to the Italian authorities about their useless police force, instead of blaming it on race.
 
Dec 13th, 2000, 05:02 AM
  #11  
Ed
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Lem, you raise a very good question quite apart from political correctness, the UK definition of race, slander, etc.

The 'problem' in Rome, first of all, is a bit overblown ... as anyone would know who has spent time in large US cities.

There is petty crime, though, perhaps at a bit greater rate than some other places. Offsetting that from a US perspective is that there is >>far<< less violent crime.

As anywhere else you'll find pick pockets operating where there are tourists (hopefully not a separate race, though one often wonders) who, typically, have their minds on other things.

Just be aware that your holiday is a thief's work day and you'll be fine.

Tips on safety in Rome at www.twenj.com/romesafe.htm

Ed
 
Dec 13th, 2000, 05:06 AM
  #12  
anon
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I don't think Americans and Europeans have the same definition of 'gypsy.' We don't have 'gypsies' in the U.S. and most probably aren't aware that in Europe gypsies are a specific ethnic group. As an American, I think of a gypsy as a poor person who makes their living by begging, cheating and stealing, is probably dark skinned, wears layers of bright, mismatched clothes and has a lot of children. I have been bothered by people fitting this description in Italy and other places in southern Europe. Most of the gypsies I have seen, in fact, were begging or harassing tourists. To me, it's understandable that Americans would think of gypsies as thieves or beggars if that is the only role they ever see them in.
 
Dec 13th, 2000, 05:09 AM
  #13  
anon
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I should add that while I think of gypsies as fitting the visual description I gave, I still don't really know who they are so when I use the word 'gypsy' I'm not referring to a particular ethnic group.
 
Dec 13th, 2000, 05:47 AM
  #14  
They Steal And Lie
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ANON you are quite wrong. There are many Gypsies in the US, and as in Europe they tend to make their living by operating various scams, such as fly by night driveway repair, roofing jobs, and on and on. They also own many of the Palm Reading shops you see. There is one clan in particular that is well known for their theivery, scam programs, and other forms of illegal activity, and their name is Marks, and they are spread from coast to coast.

Gypsies may get bad press, but it is a fact that they make their livings by stealing, cheating, and other forms of scams. Not all of course, but most of them. It is common knowledge that in many European countries, especially Italy, they are given pretty much free reign by the Police to steal and beg.
 
Dec 13th, 2000, 06:03 AM
  #15  
anon
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To the last poster: Please tell us all about American gypsies as I am uninformed and would like to know more.
I still think that when Americans refer to gypsies, we are not refering to a spcific ethnic group, but to the annoying group of people that we see mostly in southern Europe.
To the Americans on this site: what is your definition of a gypsy? Do you know their ethnicity?
 
Dec 13th, 2000, 06:22 AM
  #16  
Mike
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The American Heritage Dictionary has the following definition for:
Gypsy - 1 One of nomadic people orig. migrating from the border region between Iran and India to Europe in the 14th or 15th cent.

2- Often a wanderer; vagabond.

 
Dec 13th, 2000, 06:26 AM
  #17  
Stan
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Ooops sorry !!

Should have been clearer in my message. I should ahve made the disction that "Anon" refered to.

When I said Gypsies I too was refering to that annoying group of people who make a point of trying to pick-pocket you in Rome. They aren't Italians and they aren't the industrious Gypsies which we find in the UK and the States commonly found working in car business or academic research.

They are called zingari in Italian and the best translation for that is Gypsy.

Apologies to all hard working Gypsies who may be reading this,

Stan
 
Dec 13th, 2000, 07:24 AM
  #18  
cmt
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Sheila made a comment that needed to be made, and I agree with her.
 
Dec 13th, 2000, 08:23 AM
  #19  
Marilyn Ham
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We've had our share of experience. On a street in Rome we had a teenager try to steal the passport from the brother-in-laws back pocket while a teenager in front of him was trying to distract him. He shouldn't have been carrying his passport in his back pocket and almost learned the lesson the hard way. At another time I thought it would be safe to have a fanny pack which I had in front--also I shouldn't have had a fanny pack as a group of young children tried the "paper under the nose" trick while unzipping it. There was nothing of value in it, but if you don't invite trouble you won't have it. Since then we watch more carefully and abide by the unwritten rules and have had very little trouble. Marilyn
 

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