Parisian Pickpockets

Old Jun 4th, 2013, 05:25 AM
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From Tuesday's NY Daily News:

"Violence surged like the mercury Sunday, with three more fatalities from gun violence — and eight others wounded in shootings — bringing the total number of bullet-riddled in the city to 25 in less than 48 hours."

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/...icle-1.1361388

and the Village Voice from last year;

"For the First Time in 20 Years, New York's Crime Rate Is on the Rise"

http://www.villagevoice.com/2012-10-...e-rate-rising/

We could go back and forth like this for a while...
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 05:37 AM
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And I could chime in here too - I wandered around Mid-town Manhattan on my own late at night - including after midnight - when I was there in early 2010.
Didn't feel unsafe at all - not even heading to Penn Station at 4.30am one morning to catch the early train to DC.

It might help that I'm 6'2" and a bit over 200lbs - or maybe I just love the experience of travel so much that I exercise caution, but don't allow unreasonable fear to stop me from having a fabulous time!
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 05:59 AM
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Jay_G, there you go again comparing apples to oranges. What on earth does gang violence in the outer reaches of New York City (there are 5 boroughs, ya know, and each is huge) have to do with focused crime against vulnerable tourists in the heart of Paris?

Did you happen to notice your Village Voice article stated "most likely" for crime rise in NYC this year? It was a prediction from the Village Voice, certainly no friend of Bloomberg.

Yes, folks looking to play some kind of game can go back and forth. But smart people know a waste of time when they see it.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 06:25 AM
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Hello FoodSnob,
I posted those links to show that crime goes on everywhere, only some people don't allow it to stop them from travelling to certain places.

I'm trying to highlight how much of an overreaction it is from people to say that they'll never travel to a certain place again because someone they know (must be one of the vulnerable tourists you mention in your post) had their pocket picked.

The irony of your last sentence is a thing of beauty...
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 07:15 AM
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Dear Jay,

Crime goes on everywhere? Really?

Feel free to tell a 14-year-old girl, who got robbed and spit upon in public while her mother came to her defense, that her not wanting to return to Paris is an "overreaction." I won't do that.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 07:33 AM
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And neither will I FoodSnob.

My post was directed to people who say things like;

"The current thug situation in Paris is completely out of control"

and

"these are not good days to visit Paris"

based on an isolated (admittedly hugely unpleasant) experience that happened to someone else. It seems that this sort of mindset goes hand-in-hand with finding it noteworthy that someone on the metro might respond in French when accused of theft.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 08:55 AM
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Isolated experience? When was the last time the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC shut its doors due to street crime?

Get real Jay_G.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 11:58 AM
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FoodSnob, you're comparing apples and oranges (apparently).

From what I've heard, the marvellous mayor Bloomberg wouldn't countenance such a possibility.

As you well know, I meant isolated in the sense that to be spat on as part of a robbery is incredibly uncommon and unlikely to happen to many other people, if at all.

I know you find it surprising that people in Paris speak French, but surely you can realise that not everyone can (or should) be terrified of travelling to Paris just because you think they should.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 01:14 PM
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Get real Jay_G.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 01:54 PM
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I have been to Paris 3 times in the past 15 months and will be going again at the end of June. Not to jinx myself, but I felt as safe in Paris as in any other big city. Two times I was approached by people with pretended to find "gold" rings. I had not heard about this scam, but was wary and they left me alone without further incident. The second time I even laughed and told the woman "your the second" in French.
On the other hand in the middle of April I watched a young man snatch a cell phone out of the hand of a young woman around the corner from my building (no tourists involved). Yes, two of us tried to help her (thought it didn't do any good). New Yorkers will often try to help, but not always and I don't think they are any more virtuous than other people. I was in Prague a few years ago and was quite touched by how quickly people on the subway jumped up to give my mother a seat - much more so than in NY.
The problem is that tourists tend to look like tourists. They have cameras around their necks and guidebooks and maps in very visible places. They can look lost and confused. They dress inappropriately. My advice (and I travel a lot) - keep your tourist-type items out of sight as much as possible- camera, books, maps in bag. Take them out when you need them. Don't look lost and try to blend in as much as possible.
We travel for interesting and positive experiences. But sometimes things go wrong. It doesn't mean that you can condemn an entire city (or an entire ethnicity). The problem of poverty and minorities in Europe is incredibly complicated and I don't think you can summarize it as "how to recognize gypsies (who are presumed to be bad)" or "the recession is causing crime in Europe." Just as I don't think you can judge the recession in NYC by the lines at Whole Foods - perhaps watching people with food stamps at a Key Food in the South Bronx would be a better. If you can't deal with it better to stay home.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 06:20 PM
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<i><font color=#555555>"I don't think you can judge the recession in NYC by the lines at Whole Foods"</font></i>

I don't think you can, either. My comment about Whole Foods was never intended to be considered serious economic analysis.

<i><font color=#555555>"perhaps watching people with food stamps at a Key Food in the South Bronx would be a better"</font></i>

I have never been to a Key Food. I have never been to the South Bronx. In my 30+ years of living, working, and shopping for groceries in Manhattan, I've never seen a patron pay for food with food stamps.

<i><font color=#555555>"But sometimes things go wrong. It doesn't mean that you can condemn an entire city"</font></i>

When 100 Louvre employees stage a walkout to protest the escalating crime, that's enough condemnation for me.

"Sometimes" suggests once-in-awhile. I don't believe for a minute (given what I'm hearing from people who work there) that Paris is having just another ordinary challenge with crime.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 09:44 PM
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To Amy (OP): I hope you have a wonderful theft-free vacation, and that you sorted out which camera bag to take with you. Just make sure your cards and cash are secure in a money belt (or PacSafe - type locking bag).

It's just good to be aware that this is going on in the highly touristed places. Here is the NYT article on the Louvre closing in April: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/20...ts-the-louvre/
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 05:40 AM
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So what is the law on self-defence? Most of the posts from people who say they've never been targeted seem to be from Caucasians. However, I'm Chinese-Canadian and I'm headed to Paris in a couple of weeks. I have no problems dealing with pickpockets as I don't carry anything in my pockets. I also don't carry a lot of money as I use credit cards. But if someone gets aggressive, can I push them back or even use more force?
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 05:56 AM
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Compared to London, Madrid, Frankfurt, Munich, and Kiev, Paris is pretty sketchy.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 06:10 AM
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Thanks Susan! I forgot that I HAVE a PacSafe bag (purchased after the last trip in Paris where my wallet was lifted.) I have decided to bring it for our trip although probably will only use it for the first day.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 09:13 AM
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Re the aggression -- I really have no idea and have never been physically touched that I can recall, but I'm not a big target of scamsters. The only ones recently that have approached me have been those with some scam petition to sign or something, I just don't engage with them and just say "non" tersely, they get the hint not to mess with me, actually, and that I won't entertain nonsense. Other than that, I see panhandlers, etc on the street or elsewhere, but they are sitting there, not approaching people.

I don't think they push people much, haven't heard of that, although there have been reports on here of some very aggressive guys around Sacre Coeur, so beware. I would certainly think you could push someone back without it being a criminal offense, I can't imagine why not. As for "use more force"? what exactly are you hinting at, I really think you may be imagining things a lot worse than they are. Not to say "muggings" as we call them in the US don't occur in Paris, they do, actually (that is petty theft involving some force).
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 11:01 AM
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By "use more force" I mean if someone decided to try to grab your backpack and you end up fighting him over it...using more force may involve punching him in the face or breaking his arm. I know the advice is to just let them have it, but sometimes your initial reaction is to fight back...
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 11:07 AM
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Assuming of course that you are stronger than your attacker and they don't have a weapon. Breaking an arm? Not so easily done and the attacker would certainly try to defend himself. Not a wise idea.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 12:31 PM
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Running rabbit stop thinking its like robbery , pickpocketing is like stealing by stealth.. and while you may push someone away off of you, you may not attack them.

Keep in mind a lot of pickpockets are children, some are old women, , so you hardly need to beat them up, you sound like you are itching to get in a fight,, don't . You will be put in jail.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 12:37 PM
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Exactly right. A lot of children are forced into pickpocketing and would you really break the arm of a child?
And by the way, how do you assume who is Caucasian on this Forum and who is not? And why do you assume an Asian is more of a target?
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