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My last day in Paris -- a trip to the Bastille by Police Car!

My last day in Paris -- a trip to the Bastille by Police Car!

Old Sep 9th, 2011, 06:34 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
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You won't get any criticism from me either. I had a close call leaving the Metro a few years ago. A girl stopped in front of me in the flipper doors so I stopped. I see a hand reaching into my purse from behind so I slapped it closed with my hand. The girl in front had a long handled purse and when she stopped my foot landed on the strap. The three of us stood there for a moment and when I lifted my foot girl one went round me back into the Metro. Had I spoken better French, there might have been yelling and swearing but alas I was lucky to have learned that lesson. I left most of my money and passport in my apartment and wore a bigger deeper purse from then on. I also kept a firm grip on said purse.
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Old Sep 9th, 2011, 07:08 PM
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I was getting money out of an ATM in Prague not long ago and some guy approached me from behind. In retrospect I think he was honestly trying to get the recipt that he forgot in the machine because he seemed really flustered and a real criminal probably wouldn't have played up that angle, but duh, what kind of lame brain reaches over someone's shoulder while they are at the ATM? I suspect he will never do that again after I elbowed him in the gut and yelled "Back off you GDSOB."
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Old Sep 9th, 2011, 09:30 PM
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Patrick---what an exciting day. You did the right thing.

kerouac---you gave me a good laugh!

ira---I'm with you on the saftey pins. I don't carry a purse, I put my credit cards and cash in a very tight front pants pocket and secure it with a safety pin.

MDH, has a decoy wallet in his back pocket, his real wallet in his front pocket with a complicated set of sunglasses on top of it---he can hardly get it out when he wants it.

I did have my purse stolen once on the outlook to Gordes. We parked next to a rock wall (I could hardly get out of the car) and there was a signifigant drop over a cliff next to my passenger door that I could hardly get open to get out. My window was partway open and I shoved my purse under the seat. We got out and took a few photos---a few bikers asked us to take their photo----big mistake. When we got back to the car, my purse was gone.

The odd thing was that on the morning we drove there, it was the first time I put my credit card in my front pocket. All they got was 25 Euros, a lipstick, a comb, some tictacs and a copy of my passport(not good for anything.)

This has been a great thread to make us all aware of what can happen anywhere, not just in Paris.
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Old Sep 10th, 2011, 05:55 AM
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>>>For what it is worth, I close my pockets with safety pins.
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Old Sep 10th, 2011, 11:43 AM
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Wouldn't it be great to find some way to place razor blades in our pockets, to rip their hands to shreds. Whilst remaining safe for us.

How about a razor edged dummy wallet?

mmmm now I'm in designer mode.

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Old Sep 10th, 2011, 01:08 PM
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Decoy wallets sound silly to me, at least in a big modern city. For a trip to Somalia, I would approve. (But of course that would not be for pickpockets but for muggers.)

Obviously, we Parisians do not close our pockets with safety pins, but it must also be admitted that Parisians are probably pickpocketed 2000% more often than tourists, simply because there are so many more of us running around loose.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 11:33 AM
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Just got back from 8 days in Paris.

Had the satisfaction of slapping the **** out of one of those girls' hand as it was "scooping" into my husband's pocket as we entered the metro tram at the Gare du Nord. She, the lead "stall" girl in front and her friend made a very hasty exit off, naturally. Dressed very nicely. Hubby didn't have anything of value in the pocket, but was very surprised to not have felt her fishing around...good thing I was bending over to sit down and glanced side-ways or I never would have noticed either.

There were four of us and we all experienced or observed numerous times the gold ring scam. Gare du Nord was rife with the paper signing scam. Trinket men were everywhere but politely kept their distance.

On an up note, at least there was little to no dog poop initially, until La Rentree.

Glad you came out alright in the end NP!
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 11:46 AM
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Bravo Patrick, I agree you did the right thing. Safe travels!
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 12:19 PM
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As of tomorrow and until January 6, 2012, begging on the Champs Elysées is illegal. (WTF?) The fine is 38€ and "possible prosecution."

An article says that arrests of Romanian beggars on the Champs Elysées is up 56.25% over last year.
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Old Sep 12th, 2011, 12:44 PM
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Kudos Patrick for standing up for not only yourself but for all of us who travel.
If you are old enough to steal,you are old enough to suffer the consequences!
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Old Sep 14th, 2011, 02:30 AM
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Kerouac: What happens to them when they are arrested? Are they deported or simply released back out into the streets?
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Old Sep 14th, 2011, 02:42 AM
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If you have papers to stay in France (which many Romanians do as EU citizens, often with children born in France), you have as much a chance of being deported for begging as you do for getting a parking ticket.

Actual thieves run a higher risk, of course, but of course pickpocketing is not exactly in the same category as armed robbery.
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Old Sep 14th, 2011, 10:56 AM
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Kerouac, what happens on Jan 7, 2012?
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Old Sep 14th, 2011, 11:10 AM
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november moon.. you made my afternoon with that call!
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Old Sep 14th, 2011, 01:04 PM
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I read afterwards that the temporary decree was to cover the Christmas holiday period, which is pretty ridiculous. It is sort of a way of admitting that the decree is useless but that they want to pretend that they are doing something for the peanut gallery.
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Old Sep 15th, 2011, 01:56 PM
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Kerouac, ah, yes, it makes perfect sense.
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Old Sep 15th, 2011, 02:38 PM
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Good for you, Patrick! Not only was filing the report the right thing to do, you set a good example for the rest of us.
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Old Sep 15th, 2011, 03:37 PM
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Great going, Neopatrick! My husband had a small bag containing his camera (with 500 photos) stolen on a train in Belgium. We filed a report in Brugge with the help of a very nice policeman.
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Old Sep 15th, 2011, 10:21 PM
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The government has indicated a change of policy with respect to gypsy scammers, with a much more aggressive attitude towards stopping them and, if possible, deporting them and/or finding the ringleaders (who unfortunately are often out of reach in Romania). There is increasing cooperation with Romanian police to assist this. Minors who are caught (they are essentially all minor females) are returned to their parents if their parents can be located, otherwise they are released to custody of child support services. In either case, they risk deportation (and so do their parents, from what I understand).

There has been an increase in gypsy scammers of about 250% in the past year, according to one source I read, depending on how you calculate it. They infest Paris right now. Many of the major tourist areas are overrun with them.

One step has been to declare begging illegal on the Champs (begging is legal in France generally). This has allowed the police to clear the avenue of gypsies, although it also affects some homeless people on the avenue. Here's an article about it (in French):

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Old Sep 16th, 2011, 02:16 AM
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Good on ya Patrick, I would have done the same thing. I wouldn't give a crap what happens to the little thief.
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