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Has anyone had any problems with theft or pickpockets in Venice?

Has anyone had any problems with theft or pickpockets in Venice?

Apr 14th, 1999, 02:25 PM
Ingrid Steinwascher
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Has anyone had any problems with theft or pickpockets in Venice?

I have read much about pickpockets and theft in Italy - especially Rome. Can any of you share your experience (or lack thereof) with pickpockets or thieves in Venice? Is it necessary to wear one of those money wallets under my shirt or around my waist? Would it be safe to carry a backpack style purse? I have heard that it's possible for a thief to cut the strap and steal it before one even realizes it. Any ideas that can be shared on the best way to carry money, valuables (souveniers)? Aloha.
Apr 14th, 1999, 02:39 PM
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Oh Hi Ingrid!

It's me! Tony and I never had any problems throughout our trip to Italy last May. In fact, we got rid of our hideaway money belts and just carried enough for the day in our front pockets. I have read at this web site that several people were confronted by gypsies, but not us. Maybe it's because Tony is Italian, so no one messed with us. I carried a beige "day" bag with my camera, travel guide and bottled water. It was large enough for any of my purchases. And I saw many people carry backpacks. Just make sure that you have secured your bag from slippery hands!

PS: I emailed you today on Avila hotel suggestions!

Apr 14th, 1999, 03:49 PM
Ingrid Steinwaschere
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Hi Monica!

You and I are just going to end up being good friends whether we like it or not Thanks for the help. I don't want to be too paranoid about carrying a purse or backpack, and I hate the idea of those money wallets - all hot and sticky - yeechh. Got your email - thanks again. Check your email - my reply is forthcoming. Aloha!
Apr 14th, 1999, 04:40 PM
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Dear Ingrid,
Being forwarned is a lot of help. Because I had read the advice from Fodorites, I realized the woman carrying a baby in a sling and with a young child in tow also was carrying a newspaper with which to hide whatever they could lift from our pockets. Instead of letting my heart open to the sad sight, I moved quickly to dissuade them. This happened in Florence, but the same thing occured to our friends in Rome a few days later. My advice is to wear a vest or jacket with concealed pockets (expensive, but well made and very useable at home, too), put things like passport and credit cards in a cloth pouch on a cord around the nexk under the shirt or blouse. Hardly notice it is there. A woman walked up to me in a museum and asked where I got my vest, because her money and credit cards were lifted in Paris from her purse. Paranoid? Perhaps, but we didn't have to spend any time replacing lost items. Marge
Apr 14th, 1999, 05:15 PM
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Ingrid, I really have to agree with Marge's advice. Pickpockets and theft are real problems. Many people, probably the majority of travellers, never have a problem, but there are some who do get plucked. Just read the responses of posters who have returned from their trips just recently.

The consensus of travellers is that backpacks are not the safest way to carry your valuables around and that money wallets under your clothing is. And the preferred method is around your waist rather than around your neck. I think wearing it around your neck sort of tells them where the jewels are if they can see the strap.

I have never had a problem personally, but have been with others who have plus stories from other travellers met during travelling.

Besides wearing a hidden money pouch, there are other precautions you should consider with your pocketbook and camera bags. My fiance had her pocketbook stolen when we were checking out of a 4-star hotel in Rome in October. On our flight home another woman told us how she lost everything her first day in Rome on the bus to the vatican. She was using a fanny pack position in front of her. She didn't feel anything. The thief unzippered it, took everything and zippered it back up. Other recent posters have also reported losses on their trips.

I really encourage you to read other posts on the subject and take some precautions. It's not something to get parnoia about, but it isn't something to neglect either.
Apr 14th, 1999, 05:20 PM
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I have been to Italy twice (Rome, Florence and Venice plus many smaller cities). I have never had problems in Venice although I have known people (including my parents and their friends) who have been approached and/or pickpocketed.

Venice doesn't seem to have the same problem as Rome and Florence does. I would wear the moneybelt anyway. Can't hurt!

P.S. In Venice, I did use my backpack type of purse with no problem.
Apr 14th, 1999, 07:19 PM
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I had hardly any problems anywhere in Italy and was especially cautious in Naples. In Venice a jeweller warned us about the north africans - he said they were pickpockets. The only place a robbery was attempted was outside the Sforza Castle in Milan, where a gypsy woman made a grab at my friend's glasses case, thinking it was a purse. The usual newspaper in the face trick.
Apr 15th, 1999, 12:27 AM
Ingrid Steinwascher
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Hmmmh.... sounds as if I need to wear a money belt. Having everything stolen - especially on the first day would ruin the whole vacation. I think I'll just use the backpack/purse for hair brushes, and small items (maps, etc.) that I wouldn't mind losing if someone tried to steal them. Forgive me for sounding stupid, but if you are wearing a money belt around the waist - is it under your pants or skirt? How does one get into it when standing at a counter ready to pay....??

You guys are so nice to help out. Look forward to more posts.

Aloha, Ingrid
Apr 15th, 1999, 04:29 AM
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Hi Ingrid,

When you wear a money belt, it's tucked inside your pants, either in the front or back. I take my money out for the day and keep it in my inside pocket of my jacket. If I had to get additional money, I would go to a restroom and take it out. And there have been times when I would need my traveler's checks (this was a couple of years ago before going 90% ATM/Credit cards) I would just get them out right in front of the bank teller. My Mother was with me and she stood in a way to block other people from seeing. I saw this recently done by a traveler here in D.C.

I meant to tell you that the jacket I carry has several pockets. Two of them I added Velcro so no slippery hands can get inside without me hearing the sound of velcro! The pockets inside my jacket are also large enough for my very light Totes umbrella and map and book. It weighs me down a little, but I don't mind.

I read your message this a.m. and responded!


Apr 15th, 1999, 06:14 PM
Ingrid Steinwascher
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Thought I'd bring this up again to see if more people would comment. There are a lot of good suggestions on how to thwart pickpockets. Does anyone want to add any more helpful hints on how to carry money? Several of you mentioned putting things in your jackets with special pockets, but what if it's hot (we'll be there toward the end of June) and one doesn't need a jacket?

I look forward to more savvy tips!
Apr 16th, 1999, 03:45 PM
Monica Richards
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I've never worn a money belt, and I've never gotten robbed either. I've used both a backpack and fanny pack, both with an interior zippered pocket. That way if the bottom is cut out or someone reaches in they still won't get my money. I also don't carry a lot of money at once, and leave one credit card or whatever back in the room (burried in luggage). The odds of losing both of them are pretty great.
May 3rd, 2000, 08:37 AM
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May 3rd, 2000, 11:13 AM
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Here is an excerpt out of my book that should be helpful:
Precautions for safe travel: As an experienced traveler, I take certain precautions that I assumed everyone takes or knows about. I was wrong. I met people on my many journeys to Europe who shared their negative experiences with me on how they were pickpocketed. What surprised me was how simple it was for the thief. I donít consider any city in Italy including Naples to be as dangerous as New York City (where I was born and raised) or Los Angeles (where I currently live). But you must be aware of pickpockets. They have so many different scams that they use to distract you: making believe there is a bird dropping on your jacket; putting a newspaper or cardboard up to your face; mother with the infant baby; simple bumping into you; watching you in a gift store to see where you put your wallet; person on a moped grabbing your bag and your arm with it; or just running up to you and grabbing your purse off your arm, etc. Pickpockets dress for the job in clothes ranging from the typical gypsy look to the elegant look of a well-dressed Italian tourist riding the bus on the way to the Vatican. Leave your valuables locked in your room or with the hotel management. Nowadays most hotels including 1-stars have safety boxes inside the room. If you are uncomfortable with that, then invest in a deluxe undercover wallet that is worn underneath your clothes. They come in different shapes and styles to be worn around your waist, shoulders, legs or neck. Buy whatever is comfortable for you but get one. Once I leave my hotel room there is never any reason for me to go into or open my deluxe undercover wallet because I also use Eagle Creekís wallet/purse that loops onto my belt to carry the estimated money I plan to use for the day, one credit card, a pen and a memo pad. Remember professional pickpockets are always watching where you reach for or put your money. If I underestimated the money I needed for the day, I replenish my funds from inside a stall in a ladiesí bathroom and nowhere else. These items are carried by your local favorite travel store or Magellanís at (800) 962-4943. I do not use fanny packs but if you want to use one, do not put anything of value in it. Use a separate wallet for your money and put all the unimportant items you will need for the day in the fanny pack, and put a small combination lock on the zipper. Do not assume because you have a fanny pack that it is safe from the pickpockets. Make photocopies of all your important documents: airline ticket, passport, travelerís checks, credit card numbers and phone numbers of the credit card companies in case they are lost or stolen. Make sure someone at home has the duplicate set of everything you photocopied. Remember pickpockets also work airports.
May 3rd, 2000, 12:54 PM
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Perfect Margo, you said alot. Frequently I read on this forum, about this subject, and quite often you hear that the pickpocket, petty street crime, scam-stuff is overblown. It hasn't happened to me therefore..... Margo gives great tips. Heed them. On every trip I've made to Italy, either someone has tried to rip me off, or the person I was with. Some being Italians! Be very discreet, and don't ever drop your guard. This is a real and definite problem. Ingrid, when are you going? Check out the wallets that are designed to go under your clothes. And leave most in your room, you don't need to carry around a purse with your whole life in it. Just the barest necessities.
May 3rd, 2000, 02:00 PM
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My husband and I were well-prepared with keeping our money safe and zippered up when we went to Italy last year. I had read about pickpocketing, so our money was safe. However, my husband kept his leather tobacco pouch in his back pocket, and sure enough, that was stolen in San Marco Square in Venice. Most definitely, keep things in a safe place.
May 3rd, 2000, 02:57 PM
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My wife and I visited Venice and Florence last year. Nothing happened to us in Venice. I did not observe any problems around us. We did experience a pickpocket attempt in Florence. I had to fight off two young girls who were trying to rob my wife. The newspaper trick and all that I have read about. The attempt did not succeed but it made us even more careful. We always carry our valuables in money belts hidden away under our clothes. Better safe and than is true when we travel.
May 3rd, 2000, 08:37 PM
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Hi Ingrid,

Venice has the lowest crime rate of any city in Europe. I have always felt totally safe there. Have heard plenty of stories about Florence, but my only experience was a gypsy woman in the main piazza in Bologna. She came right up in my face shoving what looked like a swaddled infant at me. Fortunately, I recognized the situation for what it was and turned away from her, protecting the camcorder she appeared to be after. I screamed, "Vada via", which basically means "Get the hell out of here." She was so shocked she almost fell backwards and disappeared quickly. Basic precautions are wise in any city anywhere in the world. Buon Viaggio.
May 4th, 2000, 07:33 AM
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I have watched a thief in Spain removing
items from a zippered backpack without the wearer knowing.I also know a man whose moneybelt was removed by brute force in Ronda.

Decoys are useful!Note the previous post where a man had his leather tobacco wallet stolen : the same thing happened to me, would have saved me losing my real wallet (if it hadn't been in the hotel room safe)
I've never worn a money belt, I think it's like wearing a sign saying "Here is my money I DARE you to take it."
Failed attempts at theft seldom result in anything bad for for the thief.

This subject comes up so often you'd think the police would do something about it eg "sting" operations.Perhaps as long as they only steal from the tourists it's tolerated.

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