Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Pickpocketed getting on train at Rapallo (Italian Riviera)

Pickpocketed getting on train at Rapallo (Italian Riviera)

Old Jan 20th, 2014, 05:35 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,893
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<i><font color=#555555>"Our new policy is to remind each other to slow down"</font></i>

Slowing down is only possible when you allow yourself time. When you consider the mass of tourists who cram endless stuff into their itineraries, you quickly see why pickpockets in suffering economies do a brisk business. The vast majority of tourists who get accosted don't post here.

A lot of people don't realize that the to-and-fro of travel can be quite stressful. No matter how easy things seem to many veterans here, a lot of people find it natural to panic slightly when they find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Hearing a language they do not speak or understand only adds to the stress. Stress rarely allows you to think clearly.

<i><font color=#555555>"We don't always travel in winter time, so a "policy" of trying to hide all our valuables under our clothes is not going to work for us."</font></i>

Strange. My money belt almost matches my skin tone. It's designed to lay flat no matter what you stuff into it. Luckily, I have a very flat tummy. I wear mine under comfortable, casual linen or cotton all the time. Money belts come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Find one that can work for you and use it.

Backpacks come in all shapes, sizes, and colors these days, too. Some are actually quite fashionable, and some offer lumbar support. With two straps, they are almost impossible for a thief to cut quickly. Locking the compartments with small TSA locks is a great way to deter thieves. And those 3-number locks are easy to open and close in a pinch. I've been traveling with my favorite backpack for almost 20 years. I have felt a few stupid people attempt to gain entry, but no one succeeds.

I simply <b>do not, will not</b> carry anything valuable in my pockets while I travel. All pockets are too obvious. Professional street thugs know how to gain access to them, even the hidden ones. My hands are always busy with camera equipment. I can't be bothered to think about the security of my pockets.

The economy in Europe, especially Italy, is not great these days. There are a lot of people out of work, and the immigrant population is growing. People need to eat to stay alive and live one more day. Tourists are the most vulnerable to thieves. A smart tourist must learn about the tools of protection that work and keep you as safe as possible.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2014, 06:06 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,067
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I totally agree with everything NYCFoodSnob just said. ALWAYS keep your passport and the majority of your cards/cash in an under the clothes money belt. Does not matter what the weather is. Also agree with little locks on backpacks/bags. Pickpockets don't want to be bothered and will look for another target.

I will say that for convenience I do carry one credit card and a small amount of cash in a pocket (the rest are in the under the clothes money belt, along with the passport). I have a small thin pouch with a string thing attached that I put the stuff in, and then loop it through my belt loop. If someone were to reach into my pocket it would be attached to me. In the summer when I'm wearing a skirt with no pockets I'll put that in my bag, but attached to the bag so they'd need to snatch the entire bag. And even if that were to happen the majority of my valuables would not be in it.
isabel is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2014, 09:35 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 13,388
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Chartley, I did say that I didn't want to change the op's topic. We're from Australia, we don't need entry visas to the countries we've travelled to.
cathies is online now  
Old Jan 20th, 2014, 03:15 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 22,973
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<i> we leave our passports in our room and carry a photocopy.</i>

and are hoping that the person checking you ID did not wake up on the wrong side of the bed that morning.
Michael is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2014, 03:16 PM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 22,973
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
correction: you<b>r</b> ID
Michael is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2014, 05:11 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 938
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"and are hoping that the person checking you ID did not wake up on the wrong side of the bed that morning."

But how often is an ID checked? I live in Europe and travel quite a lot for work and vacation. Beside crossing the border my ID was checked exactly once and I suspect that had something to do with being young, dumb, drunk and sleeping on a bike path in a park.
Hans is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2014, 05:24 PM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 938
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"Deeper in the same pocket was his Iphone and wallet. The bulky passport holder was such a tight fit into his front jeans pocket that there was simply no way it could have fallen out on its own."

There are for sure pickpockets. But on the other hand a pocket with an iphone, a wallet and bulky passport holder sounds exactly the way I've lost stuff in a hectic situation (and I got my wallet back with the money inside, so I'm sure that it was lost and not stolen).
Hans is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2014, 06:10 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,560
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This was a useful post, IMO. But ANYONE who shoves things in a front pocket of anything is asking for trouble. Having your husband shove his stuff further down into the pocket is not the solution. Securing his valuables in a far better way, whether it be a moneybelt or something else, is a much wiser solution.

I never travel anywhere with anything remotely valuable in a pocket of any kind. That's just inviting trouble. There's a reason they are called pickPOCKETS.
StCirq is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2014, 07:02 PM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6,476
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have often considered putting fishing hooks in my pockets, but I know I will forget.
IMDonehere is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2014, 07:24 PM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,748
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
aw: I appreciate your post, and it brought back a memory. I was on a very empty train traveling from Santa Margherita Ligure to Recco and two teenage girls were all over me, sticking their hands in my pockets.

Of course, I don't carry anything in my pockets but they had their hands in them.

I've also had teenage girls stick their hands in my pockets on the Metro in Rome. That was an unpleasant experience because both my husband and I raised our voices and shooed them away, but there were people on our train car giving US dirty looks.

No need for the usual suspects to lecture me; I'm just chiming in on the topic of dangerous teenage girls on public transportation in Italy.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2014, 08:46 PM
  #31  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 10
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi again,

I think some people misread my posts.

I don't "have my husband" do anything! He arranges his own stuff. He didn't put things further down in his pockets. He put them deep in his duffel bag.

We were traveling between lodgings on the train. We really had no choice but to have our passports and other valuables. At other times, they are locked up where we are sleeping when we travel.

We were not rushing around with a fast or crammed travel itinerary. We were momentarily rushing (needlessly) because the doors to our train carriage weren't functioning. (Other people were rushing off the train.) We were practically doing nothing in Rapallo except enjoying some nice weather.

I travel carrying a small backpack. (Fashionable lightweight leather, thank you!) I had switched it being in front of me, on my chest, getting on the train.

People all dress differently, I realize, but the way we dress in summertime in hot places makes it impossible to conceal a moneybelt large enough to hold things we would hate to lose -- and it is not because we have big tummies!

And sorry but the only gypsy/Roma woman I might recognize by sight is Mother Teresa. I don't know if anybody posting here has ever been in Rapallo, Italy, other than tuscanylifedit, but most of the women are short and darker toned and it is area filled with immigrants from latin america and north africa as well as the Balkans and Eastern Europe and China. Plus, the usual small dark tourists!

Needless to say again -- I thought I already described it in my first post -- my husband and I realized we must have done something wrong for this to have happened to us. We had assumed after so many trips abroad we were always doing everything right because we hadn't experienced being pickpocketed. So we spent quite some time afterwards talking about how we needed to do things differently. This happens all the time to us when we travel, fortunately never before regarding things that are very serious, but we do make plenty of mistakes that cause it to change what we do the next time we travel. Other people will find different answers that work for them and how they travel, dress, what they carry, where they go -- although I think to focus on "who-looks-like-a-thief" instead of "how can I change my behavior to avoid this" is not the answer.
aw51 is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2014, 12:46 AM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 25,620
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
aw51, a very valuable post and I'm sorry it happened to you.

My tricks are to not have anything worth stealing. I tend to holiday on a bike (about 28 years old now with non clip pedals) chipped paint and battered gears. My cheap bike bags are old and they trail black plastic bags (bin liners) from the inside which act as waterproofing. I collect the clothes I wear during the year from the clothes I would have thrown away this allows me to throw them away on holiday rather than wash them.

I wear an old casio digital watch (£10 25 years ago) and only carry a Nokia ancient phone, no money belt and most plastic/cash deep in a internal zipped pocket on a pair of long shorts with so many pockets (think fisherman) that any pickpocket needs to spend 20 minutes working out which are the real ones. At the bottom of one bag is the linen jacket and trousers I use to go to supper in.

This has worked for many years but one day I expect to have stuff nicked so I sympathise

The whole "who are Roma" is tricky, though once you see them on mass it does help. I once went to Isreal and in the leaving interview at the border I was asked "have you spoken to any Arabs?" and I had to answer that I did not know who they were as "you all look the same to me"
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Jan 21st, 2014, 03:15 AM
  #33  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,169
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Never feel bad about making a scene.

We were on that notorious bus in Rome that runs from Termini to the Vatican when a group of the usual suspects got on. Amongst our fellow passengers was a group of nuns who loudly called out warnings in an extremely politically incorrect way. We all clutched our valuables until the newcomers got off. But nobody lost anything.
Ackislander is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2014, 03:37 AM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 13,388
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ackislsnder, I believe you are referring to 'The Pickpocket Express'?


Same experience for me except that we didn't have nuns to call out a warning. I had my hand firmly across the zip of my cross body bag but that didn't stop them trying to get access to it.
cathies is online now  
Old Jan 21st, 2014, 04:00 AM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,067
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
aw - you said "the way we dress in summertime in hot places makes it impossible to conceal a moneybelt large enough to hold things we would hate to lose". I'm sure if you travel a lot you know there are numerous kinds of under the clothes 'money belts'. The traditional kind is indeed a belt worn around the waist but it can be worn in front or in back. I find wearing it in back is more comfortable and under thin tops/skirts it's less visible. Obviously harder to access but then the point is that you aren't accessing it when out in public. I worn it every day last summer (in Rapallo) and it was in the 90s. I get so used to it that after the first few hours I don't notice it. Yes, it gets a bit sweaty by the end of the day. But better than than loose my stuff. It easily holds one passport, several ATM/Credit cards and my 'valuables' which in my case is my SD cards (once full of photos). No they won't hold bulky jewelry or electronics, etc. but really it's the passport/cards/money that I most worry about. The phone/cameras go in the bag (with a small lock most of the time).

But if wearing one around the waist is not something you want to do there are ones that can be worn around the neck, the leg, etc. Unless you travel about in a bikini there is some type that will work.
isabel is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2014, 04:03 AM
  #36  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 348
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
AW51 - I don't tell my husband anything either - unless I just want to hear myself talk! I watched two men approach him by the Spanish Steps and only stopped when I screamed "coke, coke, coke" (our code for "you're about to get robbed!)

My hiding spot is in my bra. I carry one credit card, cash and my cell phone in the upper portion of my bra and the balance of the cash in the under portion of my bra. There's little square shapes from the credit card on my shirt, but I usually wear a zipper travel vest over my shirts so it doesn't show too bad.

I know there is going to be a lot of laughing at this, but I don't care and I have never lost a single euro on all my travels.
ChallengerGrey is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2014, 04:27 AM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 7,584
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
With a narrative such as this, who would bother to read a novel?

I find it rather peculiar that the OP prattles on and on about being robbed but tells nothing about the actual holiday in Italy.

You are preaching to the choir, madam!

PS
Why would anyone use a passport holder in this day and age when passports have to be scanned?

Thin, above suspicion
Pepper_von_snoot is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2014, 07:02 AM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,893
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<i><font color=#555555>"I think some people misread my posts. I don't…We were…We were not…I travel…Needless to say again -- I thought I already described it in my first post."</font></i>

Dear, no need to be defensive. Just because you started a thread does not mean you own it.

<i><font color=#555555>"I find it rather peculiar that the OP prattles on and on about being robbed but tells nothing about the actual holiday in Italy."</font></i>

I find it rather funny that she starts a thread about pickpockets on the internet and doesn't realize this subject always has a life of its own.

<i><font color=#555555>"but the way we dress in summertime in hot places makes it impossible to conceal a moneybelt large enough to hold things we would hate to lose"</font></i>

Talk about painting a funny picture. I'm seeing two New Yorkers wearing Speedos and flip-flops, thinking they are dressing like the locals.

A money belt is not meant to hold everything, including the kitchen sink. If "hate to lose" defines your limit, then maybe you should travel with a Brinks truck.

<i><font color=#555555>"I travel carrying a small backpack…I had switched it being in front of me, on my chest, getting on the train."</font></i>

Good grief. Nothing says "I've got a bag full of valuables here, come and get me" like wearing a backpack backwards in public. IMO, unless there's a newborn child in that backpack-turned-chestpack, wearing one in the front is not something I would ever recommend (unless you want to be instantly pegged as a tourist who carries valuables).
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2014, 07:05 AM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6,476
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I know there is going to be a lot of laughing at this, but I don't care and I have never lost a single euro on all my travels.

Have you spent one?
IMDonehere is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2014, 07:59 AM
  #40  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,699
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi aw,

Good of you to report the incident. It helps remind us to be wary.

>the responses have been pretty bizarre and even rather sad. Is this the normal tone of conversation here? <

It's a slow news day?

ira is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -