Parisian Pickpockets

Old Jun 5th, 2013, 12:41 PM
  #81  
 
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I don't think it is unreasonable to assume an Asian could be more of a target, in fact, there was a recent thread on that. Because they are known to carry a lot of money (and, on average they are smaller and one knows they don't speak the language).

I think the guy is just concerned and hasn't been there before so doesn't know what to expect, it isn't unreasonable to wonder.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 12:45 PM
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<<And why do you assume an Asian is more of a target?>>

Because, as explained in the OP, Asian tourists in Paris are known for carrying around large amounts of cash and ARE more frequently targeted.

Nonetheless, it would be really stupid to be aggressive with a pickpocket, even if you could be, and a knee-jerk reaction like those described by Running Rabbit would not be taken lightly by the French authorities. French law is very specific about what kinds and levels of self-defense you may use in specific situations, and the sequence of events and timing. Breaking an arm, unless you had the equivalent done to you would surely send you right to jail. Besides, fears of being harmed, or frankly even touched, as a tourist in Paris are unfounded and irrational.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 12:49 PM
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Asians are smaller and don't speak the language?? I will tell that to the Japanese man I work with who speaks English and Japanese fluently and is a good foot taller than I am.
Or are you comparing the language skills of Asians to the well-known linguistic versatility of Americans?

Amazing to me how people on a travel forum - people who one would assume have more experience of the world - can fall into such stereotypes.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 12:57 PM
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"And why do you assume an Asian is more of a target?"

Read the initial post and its' link?
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 01:07 PM
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I am not a lawyer so this is not legal advice.

In general, you may not use more force to oppose an assault than was involved in the assault.

If someone grabs your arm, you may not hit his face.

If someone hits your face, you may not fend him off with a knife or nunchak or club.

If someone threatens you with a knife, you may not respond with a firearm.

You may prevail in court depending on the circumstances but you aren't going to walk away from the encounter without a trip to the police station.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 01:08 PM
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<i><font color=#555555>"Keep in mind a lot of pickpockets are children, some are old women, so you hardly need to beat them up"</font></i>

This is serious mis-information. There was a time when mothers and children played the cardboard-in-your-stomach game, but these days the men have skin in the game and are traveling in groups. I'm hearing these groups are not easy to identify visually. They're better practiced at blending in and moving in on the prey unnoticed.

I've had physical altercations with street thieves because I carry very expensive camera equipment. Their talents are nothing like what you see on USA's White Collar. They are physically aggressive as they try to distract you. You are often pushed, which comes as a shock, and they use that moment of shock to make the catch.

<i><font color=#555555>"I mean if someone decided to try to grab your backpack and you end up fighting him over it"</font></i>

I once took a kid's arm and pulled it around his back until he gave me my wallet back. He was completely stunned that I took such aggressive action against him. A Rome businessman once chased a thief on my behalf, and he got my wallet back from the young girl.

I've never been attacked by an adult male in Europe. If that ever happened, I pity the poor guy. I'm trained in self-defense, and I will not hesitate to act. There's always a risk when you defend yourself, but I'm willing to take the risk.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 01:11 PM
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http://www.connexionfrance.com/expat...le.php?art=494
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 01:12 PM
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<i><font color=#555555>"it would be really stupid to be aggressive with a pickpocket"</font></i>

I guess I'm really stupid.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 01:14 PM
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<i><font color=#555555>"Article 122-5 of the Penal Code says "a person who, faced with an unjustified attack on themselves or a third person, simultaneously commits an act necessary to legitimate defence, shall incur no criminal liability except where the means employed are disproportionate to the seriousness of the attack." "</font></i>

Works for me.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 01:59 PM
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By the way, the article that started this whole discussion came from the South China Morning Post. This is a Hong Kong newspaper that is said to be tilted toward the Chinese government and not completely independent. The article has a definite pro-Chinese anti-French slant if you read it carefully. I would suspect it's not completely reliable.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 02:08 PM
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Works for me, too, as long as people take the word "disproportionate" seriously.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 02:41 PM
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It looks like we have two sides to this argument -- those who have been in the trenches and those who watched the news at 10.

My defense against pickpockets is to take their photo, preferably a video. They get furious. Usually they flee. Sometimes they get verbally abusive in my face. Sometimes the abuse gets physical.

In Warsaw I went back to my car to clean it out and a pack of gypsies suddenly had me surrounded. I started taking photos. Most of them ran. One old lady came up and started slugging me. She was so weak that I laughed.

The Gare du Nord Paris pack came after me when they saw me taking their picture. I stood inside the door while they stood outside saying whatever they say to uncooperative victims. They wouldn't come inside. I have some close-up photos.

I started videoing a group at the Milan train station and they suddenly ran off like rabbits when one of them noticed me. But one fellow stopped and turned around. He pulled down his sweat pants, grabbed his junk, waved it around, and shouted "Here, take a picture of this!" I did.

Maybe I have been lucky that I haven't been hurt but I'll keep taking photos of the gypsies. Works for me.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 10:59 PM
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Spaame, I was last in Paris in '05. I saw a pack of girls (with the older "mama" seated under a tree in the distance watching), as I walked through Tuileries Garden toward the Louvre. One asked me if I spoke English. I shook my head and kept walking. I wasn't too worried, but just kept walking at a brisk pace. But the fact that security guards are now being threatened made me concerned that the problem has grown much worse in more recent years.

That being said, I spoke to a colleague today who was in Paris last December and he said he didn't notice a problem anywhere they went, including the Louvre or the Metro, the one time they used it to get to Pere Lachase.

I'll continue to be alert but not worried.
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 04:00 AM
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"Article 122-5 of the Penal Code says "a person who, faced with an unjustified attack on themselves or a third person, simultaneously commits an act necessary to legitimate defence, shall incur no criminal liability except where the means employed are disproportionate to the seriousness of the attack." "

This isn't quite what the law says, but it is close. It also says what I said above. You cannot, without risk of arrest, use force that is out of proportion to the force used against you.

You need to be in imminent danger with no hope of assistance from the authorities and the danger must be real, not just a threat. Your defense must be immediate (no teaching the SOB's a lesson); it must be necessary (could you back off and go away?), and it
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 04:17 AM
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IPad took control-- and it must be proportionate. One may not use force greater than the aggressor.

There ate no " stand your ground" laws in France ( nor in many of the United States).

This is NOT going to be a problem for most people. In a week in Paris, this very month, we saw one (1) gypsy beggar, two (2) Caucasian kids with petitions, and zero (0) Romanian (not Romany, Romanian) gangs. But we weren't at the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Cour, on the Metro Line 1, or the Louvre. Or in Lisbon, or Rome.

We were in the Gare du Nord and at the Gare de l'Est, where we saw lots of Indians and Pakistanis, none of whom looked less than honest, and we rode buses and the Metro in areas with lots of Africans and North Africans, and we never felt threatened at all. We are fortunate enough to have lived and raised our children in diverse communities where difference does not equal scariness. We have well- developed street senses and don't smile at strangers (much less talk to them, what would mother say!) but saw nothing to fear.

Keep calm and carry on, to appropriate the current cliche.
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 05:00 AM
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First I'd like to say that I'm not "looking for a fight". If anything, I'm the type to avoid a fight. Would I break the arm of a child? Not if they only try grab by stuff...but if they suddenly produced a knife and lunge at me? I would do whatever it takes to disarm the child which might include breaking an arm. Like one other person on this forum, I've trained in martial arts since I was 12 years old (which was actually my parent's idea). I've been to other cities like London, Hong Kong and New York and I felt completely safe. From online research, it seems that there are far more incidents of tourists having problems in Paris than London, Hong Kong and New York. The recent news of the Louvre staff going on strike to protest pickpockets and news of entire tour groups being robbed has made me a bit nervous.
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 05:16 AM
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Re fighting back.

I got mugged on my own doorstep here in a leafy suburb of London last year. I fought back, insofar that I kept hold of my handbag, was dragged along the ground until the strap broke and he made off with it

I got a visit from two lovely cops, who strongly advised that if this happens again, I should just let the bag go, as he could have had a knife, as he was most certainly a junkie looking for money for a fix (there had been a few incidents the area that evening, and I got the impression they knew who the gang were).

In hindsight, they were right, however, because I struggled, my wallet and keys got tossed on the ground, which save me a lot of grief.

With me, it was not a conscious decision to resist - I wasn't thinking at all: it was the primeval 'fight or flight' mechanism kicking in, and I appear to be fighter.

As others have said, it is better not to get into the situation by being prepared and aware. In my case, I no longer walk home in the dark through my ill-lit streets, I take a taxi, and ask the driver to wait until I get in my front door.
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 05:34 AM
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OReilly - that is depressing news. I am thinking of moving back to the UK, after many years in a very quiet corner of the US. It sounds a lot more dangerous than when I left!
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 05:36 AM
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I am not saying that these things dont happen, but I live in London and have never felt unsafe - I feel safer in London than I ever did in North American cities, so I dont think you have to worry thursdaysd
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Old Jun 7th, 2013, 05:41 AM
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Just got back from Paris - had a tablet snatched from my bag on the Metro. I was tired and not paying attention and had it (stupidly) in the outermost (zipped) pocket of a shoulder bag. It wasn't the end of the world, but was annoying.

That being said, these things can happen just about anywhere, not just Paris. I have no plans to stop coming to Paris (although I have no intention of going near the Anvers metro station again).

We were accosted several times by the petition scam in prominent tourist-y locations (my wife had to physically push one of them away in Montmartre) and once by the bracelet scam (a couple of stern no's stopped that), but no one tried the gold ring scam on us or tried to accost us buying tickets in the Metro (however, the fact that I can use the machines myself and don't look helpless probably helps.)

JC
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