Paranoid about Safety

Old Aug 1st, 2006, 02:24 PM
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You'll be fine. But if, per chance, someone does try to take something, use common sense. A very active, fit 70+ year old lady I know was traveling out of the country and a guy tried to grab her purse. She WOULD NOT LET IT GO, and he WOULD NOT LET IT GO and she fell down and broke some bones. I don't even remember if she ended up with the bag, or if he did, but the point of the story is, she ended up in the hospital and had to have quite a bit of physical therapy, all because she wouldn't let go of her purse!

I was getting ready to put my metro ticket into the machine in Paris when a guy bumped into me from behind and spilled a bit of his drink on me. I had read about such scams, so I tightened my grip on my bag, whipped around and gave him a very hostile look...the poor guy! He really was just a business man on his way home from work who had bumped into me!
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Old Aug 1st, 2006, 02:42 PM
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< Funny, I thought that Europeans were aghast as the sight of white athletic shoes. >

Fashion police.
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Old Aug 1st, 2006, 05:28 PM
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The only time someone tried to steal my Nikon DSLR was when DH and I were walking through a casino in Las Vegas....weird, huh? We have family in LV, and we were returning to our hotel room after spending a day with them (and taking lots of pictures of the nephews, brother's new house, etc., etc.) and I saw a guy look down at my camera case (the "small cooler" size one that proudly says "NIKON" in big letters).

He promptly nudged the person next to him, and a whole group of men (30's or so, 6 or 7 of them) got up and started walking generally the same direction that my husband and I were.

I nudged my husband, told him my suspicions and took a very firm grip on my camera case. DH came around to that side and wedged in very closely beside me.

Both of us watched the "group" flow around me, then we stopped and just stared - hard - at the leader of the pack.

He hesitated briefly, gave a nod to his friends and they all moved on.

We told the security guard at the entrance to the hotel part of the casino (only about 100 yards from where this happened) and he said that they'd check the security tapes and see whether they recognized anyone (repeat offenders, I guess!).

So, as others have said, bad things can happen anywhere. Be alert, hold on to your things, be smart about what you carry, and ENJOY THE TRIP!

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Old Aug 1st, 2006, 06:07 PM
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As others have advised, be alert and don't make yourself or your belongings a "target." Keep a tight grip on your camera and daypack while riding public transportation. You're probably more likely to forget it in a cab than be robbed of either.

I'll bet that, after you've been on your vacation for a couple of days, you'll relax and not worry so much.
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Old Aug 1st, 2006, 07:36 PM
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No, there is no one you can trust in Italy or Paris. They are all out to get you. They have been planning to attack you and steal your camera for years. None of the citizens of Paris, for example, have jobs so they eke out a living robbing foreign tourists.

But, you know who are worse? The Americans. See that old lady on the street corner in Dubuque? She is laying in wait to scam you out of your Walmart rain poncho. That mailman who is walking towards you is going to punch you in the stomach and run away with your Sears purse.

I don't know why anyone would want to walk the streets of America (or even Canada) with all the scam artists, thieves, pickpockets, drug dealers, welfare cheats, and Republicans.

Have a nice trip.
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Old Aug 1st, 2006, 09:34 PM
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Yes there are even thieves in the supermarkets in Los Angeles. I had my purse in the shopping cart, in that little seat for tots. I was leaning into the cart to bring up the groceries when I noticed a hand come near my purse. It was the jerk in line behind me who pulled back his hand when I stood up.

I guess I will have to be more diligent and hold my purse as I dive head first into my cart for the stuff on the bottom.

They are everywhere!!!
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Old Aug 1st, 2006, 10:09 PM
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Funny thing, perspective. I've taken a digital SLR around various parts of Europe without much of an incident. Doesn't mean you'll have the same experience though. Still, if you keep an eye out and a firm grip on it, I suspect you'll keep it.

The perspective comes in that I've also taken it a few months ago around Phnom Penh. And am booked a few weeks from now for Mexico City and for the first time, I'm considering leaving it at home. Really because things are pretty unpredicatable with the street protests and all. Otherwise, I'd take it there too.

However, here in my "quiet" sort of neighborhood in Memphis - one of those with nice single family detached homes - I'd not leave it in the back seat of the car. In the last week, we've had someone go on a stabbing rampage, in the local grocery, critically injuring 7; a shootout between 6 police and 3 "suspects" not 3 blocks from here; home invasions; carjacks; someone held up the IHOP ... and this is all in the last week

So, I'm almost thinking taking the camera to Mexico would be safer than leaving it at home. "Horror stories" (again, all relative) are just the stuff you hear because no one talks about what doesn't happen. The stories are usually from people who didn't have the sense to prevent it. Sure, it can happen anyway. But it's much more likely to happen because you let it. Put the camera in a secure camera bag with a sling strap to put across you. An SLR isn't something you can sneak out of a bag someone is carrying. When shooting, wrap the camera strap around your hand a couple of times. No 100% guarantees, but it'll probably keep you from losing it.
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Old Aug 1st, 2006, 10:11 PM
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Pickpockets are everywhere, that is for sure. I do think it is a good policy, however, to be a bit more cautious when you are traveling, mainly because people just behave differently when out of their own elements and I think the unfamiliarity with surroundings just makes them easier targets. When one is distracted by trying to figure out where to go or where the next destination is on a map seems to be a time when people let their guard down and voila! a pickpocket attacks! When I am in a place with which I am familiar, I am just more aware of people around me and other things, rather than focusing on finding a street sign.

No, it doesn't mean that all of Europe is untrustworthy, it just means you should be careful whenever and wherever you go. I also think European pickpockets are particularly clever - not like our lazy American criminals!
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