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Paris pickpockets/crime

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Feb 22nd, 2012, 08:49 AM
  #1
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Paris pickpockets/crime

Getting somewhat paranoid about carrying a purse in Paris---would love to hear others' thoughts/experiences/advice.
I also plan to wear a "pouch" under my clothing for passport/credit cards, etc.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 08:56 AM
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Never, ever had a problem with pickpockets in Paris and have always just carried my credit cards in my wallet, in my purse. Make a photo copy of your passport if you'd like and have it somewhere separate from your passport itself. (I don't usually carry around my passport once there - I'm more afraid that I'll misplace something than someone stealing something.) As I'm sure others will tell you, just use your usual caution when in a big city - don't open up your wallet and count your cash on the metro, pay attention to your surroundings, etc. Otherwise, no cause for paranoia.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 08:57 AM
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Lots of pickpockets IME - especially at places like metro gate entrances - I have seen folks go into bag backs and folks pockets - just carry nothing of value in your purse and keep all valuables in an under clothing device and you should have no problem.

Unfortunately be aware of anyone coming up to you - like asking directions, etc - they may be distracting you whilst accomplices are pickpocketing you - and beware small kids -
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 08:59 AM
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I use whatever purse I'd use at home and, in 20+ trips, have never had a problem. I do think I'm more aware/wary of my belongings in crowds.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 08:59 AM
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No need to be paranoid, Paris is a safe place, you need to just follow normal big city 'awareness'. Probably safer than most NA cities.

Yes, people hear stories. But they never hear people say "I went to Paris, and nothing happened". So tendency, when you only hear bad stuff, is to assume it must be rampant, and it is not.

I'm a man, so this probably does not apply to you. I carry my money in a wallet, no longer use moneybelt. I have some clothes with zippers and jackets with inside pockets. I don't carry a backpack or waist pack. Too obvious a target.

Passport, keep with me, usually.

I try to keep myself unencumbered as possible. That way I can 'watch' my stuff a lot easier.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 09:03 AM
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I used to lead group trips to Paris and on one trip out of 35 people over half got pickpocketed - but if you know there is - yes IS a problem then the problem is not much of a problem - be aware and do not tempt a thief.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 09:17 AM
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I've made 108 trips to Paris, always carry the same purse I use in the US, and have never been pickpocketed or been the victim of any crime. No one I've ever traveled to Paris with has had a problem, either, and that's a lot of people. I don't do anything differently with my belongings when I travel - to me, that would mean not being comfortable with my usual habits and presenting an opportunity to do something abnormal and stupid for me. There is no need for paranoia; it's a lot safer than most big U.S. cities.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 09:23 AM
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I have made more trips to Paris than StCirq and have never been pickpocketed or victim of crime - veteran travelers rarely are - but to say there is no problem IMO is misinformation - there are many streets scams that have been talked about ad nauseum on Fodor's - folks selling fake watches, jewelry - diversions, etc.

To say there is no problem IMO is just misinformation.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 09:28 AM
  #9
 
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I don't do anything differently, either, but I do think Paris has more pickpocketing incidents than many NA cities, although it's not the worst of some European cities. Pickpocketing is just more common in large European cities than in American cities for some reason. I'm used to living in big cities, riding metros, etc., so don't do the kinds of things that are extraordinary, and am not as unwary as a lot of tourists are. That's just the way it is, but if you are not used to that kind of city or riding public transportation, etc., then you might wear a moneybelt or at least, don't carry everything with you that is important. Then you have to figure out a safe place to keep it (I liek hotels with personal room safes). I always leave at least one credit card in my hotel room, for example.

It really is not just stories, it does exist and especially where a lot of tourists hang out and on certain metro lines where they are (no 1 going through the Louvre, for example). I have read Parisian crime reports, this isn't a fabrication, and there is more crime at certain metro stations than others, of course. I think it is mostly pickpocketing, though, not forcible removal of purses, but some of that exists (muggings, which involves force, although I've only heard of men actually getting hurt).
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 09:31 AM
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I think someone out there is writing a PhD on how to start arguments in chat rooms.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 09:39 AM
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I think it is more of how to conduct oneself in Paris.

Another poster talked about taking taxis everywhere, worried about Metro, pick hotel near sites. Another person saud tey never went out at night.

So if we all agree that there is crime in Paris, and that, yes, as a tourist you are a more likelier target than a local (perhaps), then it is a matter of what common sense things to do. And, common sense that would apply to Paris, London, NYC,etc..

Like the jewelry scam...common sense is that no one gives you jewelry.

I'll fess up to being bamboozled years back by a kind local who 'helped' me buy RER tickets to Versailles, at station where booth was closed, and only machine available. But out of that experience, met some friendly french people, rail ticket taker who insisted on reporting what happened, station master in Versailles who took us into his office, gave us tea, and free ticekts back to city.

I'll skip over the jet-lagged fog induced story of the Hindu guy who did some kind of read my mind trick with slips of paper,etc.. in London. Shake my head.

People say you cannot look like a local...but you can arrange to limit what you are carrying to not send the signal "look over here, lots of stuff being carried by tourist".

Last trip, I was able to travel with nothing in my hands, and no bags/packsacks/etc. I had a city map, camera, passport, wallet, and photocopied plans for day, if needed.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 09:43 AM
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Watch it at the train station. I was taking the early train to Bayeux. I could not print out the boarding pass so I had to wait for the office to open. There was a guy standing behind me that proceeded to get into some sort of disagreement with this younger guy. I did not pay attention. When I got into the office, I realized that my purse had been opened without my knowledge. However, I carry only my credit cards, ID, and cash with me. All of those items were in my front pocket. Only my camera and umbrella was in my purse. Nothing they wanted... Just need to be very mindful of your surroundings.

Always keep your purse around the arm that is NOT facing the street to avoid anyone on a scooter from coming up and snatching it. This happened to several people in Rome.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 09:49 AM
  #13
 
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I've been to Paris 25-30 times in the last 10 years. In fact, I just returned last night from our latest trip. We've never had anything stolen, but last week we were approached 3 times in the first hour we were in Paris by someone trying the "I found a gold ring you dropped" trick. I actually laughed at them and told them to try to find a new scam. That didn't make them very happy. Both men and women approached us.

A diner at a table next to us one evening said he carried his wallet in his zipped pocket of his slacks, and while on a metro escalator a woman approached him from behind. Her scarf draped near him. She reached her hand under it and unzipped his pocket and was lifting his wallet when he realized what was happening, caught her and began yelling at her.

We always wear a money belt, and will continue that practice.

Don't be fearful, but do be alert.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 09:51 AM
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Somewhere out in the ethers of the Internet there is a website discussing the multitude of scams that take place in Barcelona. The site is about 15 years old (and may have moved more than once) and lists just about every trick you could think of. You can use it for two purposes: (1) to scare yourself stupid; (2) to know what to watch for. Similar scams are run in Paris, Rome, Florence, etc.

Get a purse that you can sling diagonally over your shoulder.

Don't set it down at the cafe tables.

Know where your passes, cards, etc are so you don't have to dig for them.

Don't flash tons of cash.

Ignore the people who are hawking cheap goods (you'll see this near the Eiffel Tower or Louvre) because they may be the ones trying to distract you while their partner picks you.

Don't coddle the cute little dirty-faced brats who stick a newspaper in your face or call to you "lady lady!!!"

I carry a wallet and put it in my pocket but women's pockets are not so deep and you look less intimidating than I do so be aware and you won't have problems.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 10:14 AM
  #15
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Great thoughts! Thanks!
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 10:19 AM
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And don't hang your purse on the back of a chair in a restaurant/cafe.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 11:04 AM
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I use my same purse as I do at home and carry it everywhere. Just be smart. Keep it under your arm and close to your body at all times.

The things NOT to do... carry your wallet or passport in the outside pockets of a backpack then go ride a crowded Metro. Don't set it down on the top of your suitcase in a train station (yes I have read a post like this and yes it got stolen) and wander off. Never hang it over the back of your seat in a cafe or restaurant as Judy just mentioned.

A money belt under your clothing is an OK idea, just do not plan on accessing it in public. That goes on in the morning and stays on all day under your clothing. You take out what you need for that day and keep that somewhere seperate that you can more easily get at.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 11:22 AM
  #18
 
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What about fanny packs?
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 11:50 AM
  #19
 
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>>>on one trip out of 35 people over half got pickpocketed<<<

You must have been leading quite the group of Rubes. They must have taken colduphere's advice and were all wearing fanny packs! LOL
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 12:03 PM
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I can hear PalQ saying ..."How many times do I have to tell you rubes. First you put your fanny pack on. THEN we tie our wrists together."
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