Italy pickpockets

Old Aug 25th, 2005, 02:17 PM
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Italy pickpockets

The only country in Europe that I have had the pleasure to visit was Ireland. I never worried about pickpockets in Ireland but the next trip is to Italy. Reading the hot thread about backpacks and what people take with them every day has me thinking... are pickpockets that big a problem in Italy? Do we really need a moneybelt? DH travel in cargo pants with zippered pockets on the legs. Is that sufficient to prevent pick pocketry? (Hey, I think I just made up a new word!).
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Old Aug 25th, 2005, 02:35 PM
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Re cargo pants: No.
After my husband lost his wallet on the bus to the Vatican (and he WAS warned.. and we have visited Italy molto times...)we met a Swedish couple. Husband had cargo pants with zippers..but somebody got all his stuff on the subway and he was totally unaware of any intrusion.
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Old Aug 25th, 2005, 02:54 PM
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Your vulnerability greatly depends on where you will be in Italy. Small towns = very low probability of being pickpocketed. Big tourist sights like the Trevi Fountain in Rome - yes, keep your money in a neck wallet or moneybelt. Also, you are more subject to being pickpocketed when you ride crowded buses and trains where it is easy for thiefs to bump up against you and not be noticed.

In Naples, a city I love, I recommend wearing a moneybelt or neck wallet at all times (major sights or not). Rome - use your discretion and be aware. Same for Florence and Venice.
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Old Aug 25th, 2005, 02:58 PM
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Good advice from TA.

Keep in mind that of the millions of visitors to Italy only a few thousand are actually robbed.

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Old Aug 25th, 2005, 03:01 PM
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The bus to the Vatican is nicknamed "The Pickpocket Express." We saw the same characters (one who really was quite blatant about cheking out purses) riding it all day long. I think the driver must take a cut. Oh, and yes, he WAS wearing cargo pants!!!!
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Old Aug 25th, 2005, 05:10 PM
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You don;t really need money belts or neck pouches or any other odd garment!

But you do need to be very aware of where you are, what you're doing, who is around you at any moment and have eyes in the back of your head. If you're from a big city this is second nature - you do it automatically - and you should have no problems.

If you are not used to crowded places - or constantly being aware of every nuance of your surroundings - stay out of the center of crowds and keep you money/cards somewhere safe (and no cargo pants are not at all safe). Put them in a zippered compartment inside a shoulder bag you wear bandolier style with your arm holding it against your chest.

In the middle of the crowd never wear anything on your shoulder, your arm, your back or heaven forbid your fanny/waist - it's just asking for someone to take the contents.

Another option - don;t ride the most crowded public transport - and it you feel you are being pushed or brushed against- push back as hard as you can and yell. (It really doesn;t matter if it's a thief or a groper - the purpose is to embarass him.)
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Old Aug 25th, 2005, 05:51 PM
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Just saw the replay of the Pickpocket Safety Instructor Guy on Travel Ch last evening. Nothing stops him. Same guy that removes watches and neckties.

Have you seen this?

Zippers don't stop him. There are others like him. In any case, a razor or boxknife easily slices a victim's pocket for easy access.
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Old Aug 25th, 2005, 05:53 PM
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I would say something in which you can carry around your passport, money, etc. and feel fairly secure about it is a good idea. I always wear a flat leather pouch with a strap around my neck UNDER my clothes, tucked into my pants.
I made the mistake of leaving it out on top of my clothes one day when we were walking into Vatican City, and a beggar woman with a screaming baby came up to me. Before I knew at all what she was doing, I heard the velcro on the top flap of my pouch crackling, and immediately put my hand down over it and got away from her. She didn't get anything (there was a zipper under that) but it scared me badly enough that I wore the pouch under my shirt and tucked in my jeans for the rest of the trip!
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Old Aug 25th, 2005, 05:53 PM
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If you are a woman I recommend buying a purse that straps across your chest as an alternative to money belts and neck wallets. I have a black purse from Fossil that zippers closed and straps across my chest. When I wear it I make sure the bag is pulled around to the front of my hip and I keep my hand on it when in a crowd. Have never had a problem.

Being and appearing aware of your belongings and surroundings is half the battle. You distinguish yourself from the easy targets.
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Old Aug 25th, 2005, 06:45 PM
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<<Just saw the replay of the Pickpocket Safety Instructor Guy on Travel Ch last evening. Nothing stops him. Same guy that removes watches and neckties.

Have you seen this?

Zippers don't stop him. There are others like him. In any case, a razor or boxknife easily slices a victim's pocket for easy access. >>

Well, typically, professional "pickpockets" go after obviously easily accessible valuables. And, there are few, I would just guess, who razor or boxknife a victim's pockets for easy access...unless they're wearing an obviously expensive watch with a big fat wallet apparent in that pocket! Probably quite unusual - a pickpocket with a knife going after neckties?

For one thing, everyone is well advised to leave the big fat wallet (with nearly nothing you really need for the day or during your visit) at home.

To wander about Europe with an obviously expensive watch, or lots of jewelry and diamonds, is just silly.

Fabulous travel clothing with zippered security pockets is available (jackets, slacks...) even a slip for the ladies with zippered security pockets. If all you carry in same is one or two cards, and just a bit of cash for the day, all that would be virtually invisible and not a "target" of a pickpocket - as they go for what's far more obvious and more easily accessible.

While there may be the odd "pro" who delights in grabbing watches and neckties, you are far more likely to be relieved of your wallet and cash.

Of course, obviously, you would be well advised not to be wearing appealing watches or neckties...


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Old Aug 25th, 2005, 10:07 PM
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I think you should buy and use the money belt. Here's why:

1) They're cheap insurance.
2) They leave you to enjoy your vacation instead of lookng over your shoulder, keeping your hand on your purse, avoiding public transportation, watching the crowds instead of the sights, pushing back and yelling at a pickpocket, viewing everyone with suspicion, etc.

Whew! What a way to spend a vacation.

I don't think money belts are the accessory of the paranoid. I think they help prevent the condition.

Just my 1/5th of a dime.
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Old Aug 26th, 2005, 01:38 AM
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I agree with WorktoWander. Wear the money belt, at least in the "high risk" areas like Rome, Naples...No, the Italians may not need them, but they probably aren't carrying around passports and other valuables AND are not as likely to seem like favorable targets as we tourists. The odds may be in your favor, but why take the chance? Better to take the some precautions than to spend your precious trip preoccupied with being victimized and/or dealing with the aftermath.
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Old Aug 26th, 2005, 04:15 AM
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>...there are few, I would just guess, who razor or boxknife a victim's pockets for easy access...<

Since I am in a pedantic mood, I feel compellled to point out that these persons are "cutpurses" not "picpockets".

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Old Aug 26th, 2005, 04:41 AM
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Cutpurses, pickpockets, all trivializing terms to me. They are CRIMINAL THIEVES and should be regarded and treated as such.
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Old Aug 26th, 2005, 05:31 AM
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Spend the 10 bucks on a money belt. Why risk it?
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Old Aug 26th, 2005, 03:05 PM
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You guys have been very helpful! Thank you. I now need to rethink my wardrobe. Sad to know that I can't wear my Disney fanny pack and my Goofy tie with my bright white tennies and pink windsuit...
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Old Aug 26th, 2005, 05:49 PM
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Funny, I was also picked clean on the Pickpocket Express! Lesson learned. Last time to Italy we took public transport only when I was wearing tight jeans. Believe me, know one could get my money out of them without me knowing about it.
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