Pickpocketing/crime poll

Jun 30th, 2001, 05:11 AM
  #21  
JOdy
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Wev'e been to europe over 40 times over the years and have never been vicitimized. It might help that we take the usual precautions, it may also help the I learned from my mother how to "GLARE", it stops kids in their tracks! It may also help that david is over 6'4" and well built and not afraid of anything or anybody. We only ever saw 1 attempt at pickpocketing,in campo di Fiore, a bunch of gypsy kids were about to surround an older woman, david called out to her and stepped toward them in an aggressive manner and they dispersed quickly. He also carries his wallet in a zippered pocket in his jacket, it is a little hard to discern and also to reach if you're short.
We are also both from big cities and look purposeful and unhesitant .We know where we are going before leaving hotel and don't have to flounder around on street corners, helps that I have a good sense of direction too.

Only time we had any trouble was being ripped off by a taxi driver in Rome, but I blame that on being tired when we got off airport bus and not walking to a regular taxi ramp, just taking the first taxi offer that came up. I knew better but even though I paid him what he asked I told him off in graphic language, probably didn't do any good but I felt better.

 
Jun 30th, 2001, 07:45 AM
  #22  
Joanne
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We have been traveling to Europe yearly for about 10 years. Often visited Mexico and the Caribbean prior to that. The only experience we've had was in Madrid. We were in Puerta del Sol, where we had just bought some "helado" (we did this most evenings) and were strolling along enjoying our ice cream. It was crowded and suddenly my husband and I were separated. I was kept behind by the crush of the crowd and my husband was ahead of me. I thought I saw a hand go for my husband's rear pocket and I, like Robin, grabbed his wrist. The arm came up and great protestation followed, denying any wrongdoing. I feel if he were not up to no good he would have been furious with me and that was not the case, just the denials. I'll never know for sure, but if it was a pickpocket attempt it was nipped in the bud. That was it. Never any problems in either Mexico or the Caribbean.
 
Jun 30th, 2001, 08:44 AM
  #23  
Andrea
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I lived in Paris for a year, have also lived in Geneva, have visited Russia, Italy, Greece, and Germany (on various trips as a tourist), and have never been pickpocketed (or had any close calls - to my knowledge!). Also live in Asia and have travelled quite a bit here with no problems. Also pickpocket-free in the Yucatan.
 
Jun 30th, 2001, 11:01 AM
  #24  
Jim Dandy
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Lived in Paris for 2 years.

Got punched in the face in the metro for no reason (maybe looked too much like a tourist) and chipped a tooth. Found out dentists aren't too expensive and nobody wants to get involved.

Caught a kid moving his hand toward my pocket in the metro. An older man was between me and him providing cover. I looked at him and shook my head. He withdrew his hand.

Have never been assaulted or robbed back home.
 
Jun 30th, 2001, 11:01 AM
  #25  
Scottster
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1984--lived in Europe for one year--car broken into in Biarritz, France 1996-- 10 day trip--(Part 1)--was confronted by two rough guys in Nice, France--we walked away but one pulled what appeared to be a knife (Part 2) 3 DAY trip to Amsterdam, Holland 1.Two guys tried to grab my wallet in the red light district. 2. I was physically attacked by a robber and had to fight him off--very scary. AMSTERDAM IS A DANGEROUS CITY WITH MANY THUGS AND FEW POLICE OR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS. HOTEL OWNER SAID VIOLENT STREET MUGGINGS WERE COMMONPLACE IN AMSTERDAM. EXPECT TO BE ATTACKED IF YOU GO THERE--I WAS TWICE IN THREE DAYS. 1997--three month trip throughout Europe--no problems except in Spain--1. Thieves tried to break into our rental car outside Barcelona 2. A woman tried to snatch my bag during the Running of the Bulls festival (Pamplona). 3. A man who I am certain was a pickpocket talked to me on the Ramblas in Barcelona--I evaded him. I had no problems during a two week trip to Greece in 1995 and a 17 day trip to Spain and Portugal in 1998. I also lived and worked in the city of Chicago for 3 years--no crime experiences. I also lived in Washington, DC for 2 years and had my bicycle stolen once.
 
Jun 30th, 2001, 11:46 AM
  #26  
Tammy
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Paris June 2000, in the metro waiting for the next train, and saw a bunch of kids come down the stairs. Lots of people, but as soon as the train approached the kids dispersed amongst the crowd. I saw a girl reach her hand into the purse of German tourist. I said something to the lady to watch out and stopped the pickpocket. Barely got on the train but as it was pulling away the kids flipped me off.

Paris on New Years eve, coming up from the metro a man tried to upzip my purse/backpack, I turned around and glared and he pulled away. He would have been disappointed, only thing in the bag was chap stick, kleenex, and extra film for the camera.
 
Jun 30th, 2001, 12:05 PM
  #27  
jeanne
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Been to Europe about 20 times and never had a problem myself, although have witnessed a pickpocket in Paris Metro and on ferry boat to Capri. Have been robbed 3 times in the USA: St louis, Houston, & LA.
 
Jun 30th, 2001, 12:45 PM
  #28  
Capo
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Thanks to everyone for your comments so far.

When you read these posts and compare incidents of pickpocketing and other crime to the number of trips people have taken to, or within, Europe, I really think it helps put things into a better perspective.
 
Jun 30th, 2001, 06:34 PM
  #29  
wayden
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I have gone to Europe the last 4 years and have had two incidents with pickpockets. I am a 55 year old male 150 pounds who travels alone and seem to be a good target for pickpockets.

1. I was in Amsterdam. I get on the tram during the busiest time of day.There are no seats. I crowd in the back with the other standing riders. There are poles that the riders hang onto. I way surrounded by 3 young men around 24 years old around 5'10" and 180 pounds. I felt a hand in my front pocket. I back up and start to move out of the way. There was 1 guy who had his arm extended holding onto the pole and blocking my escape. I ducked down under his arm and moved away from them. They got off at the next stop. I did not lose anything as I have a money belt.

2. I was taking a train from Bratislava to the Prague Holesovice train station. I was going on the Metro from Holesovice to the city center where my Hotel was. I had to make a change on the Metro at the Florence station. You go underground quite a bit to make the change. I walk along with the rest of the commuter crowd. I had on a backpack and was carrying a small pack. It was a busy time of day. I look over and there is this kid around 9 yeras old walking a little ahead of me and staring at me. I wonder - why is this kid staring at me? I will soon find out what the kid is up to. I go down the escalator and the metro train is just arriving. I rush over to catch the train. There is a guy in front of me that bends down on his hands and knees like he had dropped something. He was around 60 years old 5" 10" 200 pounds and red hair. This backed up everybody behind me. pretty soon, I feel a hand in my front pocket. I look around and it is a kid around 13 years old. I slam him up against a wall and tell him to stay out of my pockets. The guy that was on the floor gets up. I release the kid and he runs off the car. I move out of the way and the red headed guy gets off at the next stop. I did not lose anything as again I had a money belt. They do not want any attention and are not likely to get physical with you. They usually work in teams.
 
Jun 30th, 2001, 08:59 PM
  #30  
Yeah
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I just returned from Amsterdam and had absolutely no problems whatsoever. No danger, no muggings, just lovely people and a great time.

I suppose it's where you hang out -- I stayed away from the RLD. So no, don't "expect to be attacked if you go there". Pfft.

Y.
 
Jun 30th, 2001, 11:50 PM
  #31  
BTilke
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I made my first trip to Europe in 1973 and went back regularly until we moved to Brussels in 1999. Until we moved to Europe, I had only been the victim of a pickpocket once--in 1997 in Paris in the Odeon metro station by someone who crammed in behind me on the turnstile--at first I just thought he wanted to get in free--they do that--and I yelled at him, but a few seconds later, after he'd run off, I saw that my purse was open and cash gone. Tant pis.
Since moving to Brussels, however, it's been an interesting in experience. I was pickpocketed on an early Sunday morning in the Gare du Midi. At that time, it's crawling with thieves as there are no police or security on duty til later. The Thalys people were very kind and actually held the train for us for 10 minutes while we raced around to see if we could find the pickpocket (or my wallet--if only the cash was missing, it wouldn't have been a big deal). No luck.
Then on October 31, 2000, at 6 pm, I was mugged by three Moroccan kids in the little square behind the Hilton hotel. I knew they had been following me and went into the square because normally at that time it's filled with people and their dogs...this time it was empty and I was stuck. They attacked me, knocked me down, and stole my purse. Fortunately, my apartment keys were in my coat pocket and they didn't get my GSM. The Hilton Hotel security were very helpful, by the way, showing me to a quiet table in the lobby, calling the police, and calling the number to cancel all my credit cards. They were outraged because the same group of kids had attacked 6 people, including several hotel guests, over a three day period. Two of those guests were injured--an older man wearing a money belt and a 6 months pregnant woman. Even though the police had complete descriptions of the kids, right down to the jacket one was wearing with a Moroccan flag patch on it, they couldn't patrol the area looking for kids with that description--it would be perceived as racist.
Another evening, we were coming home from the movies and happened to be in a pedestrian crosswalk when a drunk wanted to speed through it. He screamed at us, and a block later, pulled his car up right in front of us and jumped out waving a pistol. He tried to fire it at point blank range, it didn't go off, my husband jumped him, pounded the sh-- out of him, I grabbed the gun, and ran into a hotel to have them call the police. We never had these adventures when we lived in Philly or NY! Talk to Brussels residents for a while and believe me, most have their own stories to tell. Street crime and organized crime here is on the rise. Brugge, fortunately, is very safe and crawling with undercover police as tourism is the lifeblood of the Brugge economy and the people there clearly have no tolerance for street crime, including pickpocketing and graffiti (but property vandalism would be another thread...).
BTilke
 
Jul 1st, 2001, 12:17 PM
  #32  
Scottster
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Nothing makes me angrier than people who write, "Well, I went and nothing happened to me, therefore city or country X must be 100% completely safe and these people must be making up stories." I have visited most of Italy and never experienced crime. However, I know that crime is a problem in Italy because of the stories I have heard and reports I have read. I'm glad that others have visited Amsterdam and had no problems. It certainly was not true in my case. Either they were lucky or I was unlucky. Obviously, much depends on how you travel. Few people are likely to bother twelve large guys walking down the street. It is much likelier that solo travellers will be targeted. If someone travels only by taxi, he is much less likely to be a victim than someone who takes public transportation only. People who never walk in the streets are less likely to become victims. Both of my incidents in Amsterdam (see previous posting) occurred in the Central Station/Red Light District. THIS IS OBVIOUSLY THE MOST DANGEROUS SECTION OF AMSTERDAM. It is likely that locals never go to this area at night and if they do, they travel only by taxi. Let's also keep in mind that Internet postings are anonymous. "Yeah right ," the previous poster, concedes that he NEVER went to the red light district AT ALL. However, most people who visit Amsterdam want to see this area and people who arrive by train at Central Station are forced to pass through there. Let's keep in mind that tourism is big business. What motive do I have for making up stories about Amsterdam? However, "Yeah Right" may very likely be the owner of a hotel in Amsterdam who is losing thousands of dollars because fewer people are visiting due to the very high crime rate there. I am a sophisticated male traveller who has been to 40 different countries. I have also been to the vast majority of cities in most of the countries in Western Europe. Holland, especially Amsterdam, is the only country where I would tell others NOT TO GO. OK, I guess I would also include the Philippines in the list. There is virtually no police or law enforcement presence in the Central Station/Red Light District area in Amsterdam at night. I find this incredible because of the high crime rate there. I am simply trying to help others with information that may prevent them from becoming crime victims.
 
Jul 1st, 2001, 12:27 PM
  #33  
Capo
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Scottser, Re: "However, most people who visit Amsterdam want to see this area and people who arrive by train at Central Station are forced to pass through there."

People who arrive by train at Central Station are "forced to pass through" the red light district? This is news to me...forced by who, or what, exactly? On our past three layovers in Amsterdam, my girlfriend & I arrived at Centraal Station from Schipol, and walked down the main street (Damrak, I think) towards Dam Square and beyond. In none of those three cases, were we "forced to pass through" the red light district, so perhaps you might illuminate all of us here as to how this "forcing" happens. Thanks!
 
Jul 1st, 2001, 01:05 PM
  #34  
Sheila
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It's no more any good generalising that thee is no crime than that there is always crime. No?
 
Jul 1st, 2001, 01:18 PM
  #35  
Scottster
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OK, I probably used the wrong word. What I meant is that Central Station is extremely close to the red light district and CENTRAL STATOIN ITSELF IS LOCATED IN A DANGEROUS SECTION OF TOWN. Someone travelling from another city who GETS OFF THE TRAIN IN AMSTERDAM AT CENTRAL STATION HAS TO PASS THROUGH THIS DANGEROUS SECTION OF THE CITY. There is no magic dividing line between Central Station and the RLD--the entire area is dangerous. Locals, including people who work in the area, described this area of the city as dangerous.
 
Jul 1st, 2001, 01:38 PM
  #36  
Scottster
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Go to the U.S. State Dept. at http:// travel.state.gov. and see the country report for the Netherlands. State says, "Visitors to larger cities FREQUENTLY fall prey to pickpockets, bag snatchers, and other petty thieves. ... Within Amsterdam, thieves are VERY ACTIVE IN AND AROUND THE CENTRAL TRAIN STATION ... (and) THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT (emphasis added). In all my travels, including a three month trip to many poorer countries in Asia, the Central Station/RLD area at NIGHT was the most threatening area I have ever experienced because of the large number of shouting, aggressive people loitering in the area.
 
Jul 1st, 2001, 01:55 PM
  #37  
Scottster
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Check the U.K. travel advisories at fco.gov.uk. It says, "Throughout the Netherlands, thefts...are VERY COMMON. ...visitors should exercise caution PARTICULARLY IN CENTRAL AMSTERDAM (ESPECIALLY CENTRAL STATION). (emphasis added). I might also add Morocco to the list of countries I have visited where I would advise people not to go. But at least in Morocco no one attacked me or tried to grab my wallet.
 
Jul 1st, 2001, 04:05 PM
  #38  
Linda
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I have been to Europe 10 times and travelled by car, train, subway, bus and yes, even hitchhiked once with and without companions. I have never had any incidents with muggings or thieves. I thought I was pretty clever until my friend asked me not to dress like a gypsy anymore if I wanted her to travel with me.
 
Jul 2nd, 2001, 06:34 AM
  #39  
Jean
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My family & I have only recently discovered the joys of traveling to Europe. We've been to England; no problem at all on that trip with pickpockets. We went to Italy last month, and had three problems in one day in Rome.
In the first incident, a gypsy boy of about 6 got on the metro with his father. The boy stood next to my husband and during the course of the ride, eased his hand into my husband's front pocket. My husband took his hand out of his pocket & gave the father a stern look. The father "pretended" to scold the boy.
Later that same day -- also on a crowded metro -- a group of four girls in their late teens or early 20's tried the old trick of scurrying onto the metro and stopping, not letting anyone pass. They worked in teams of 2; as I was getting around one of them, another from behind me attempted to get my very small purse I was wearing bandelioro-style (all it contained was a lipstick, small mirror, and 2,000 lira). The other two girls tried the same trick on my brother-in-law. He felt the girl's hand going into his front pocket and he flung it out. They got nothing and appeared to be angry. They got off at the very first stop.
Someone on this post earlier said something about carrying a wallet in his front pocket; I would strongly recommend against doing that. I think many of these pickpockets don't bother to check back pockets anymore. They go straight for the front pockets. IMO, money belts worn under the shirt or leg stashes worn under pants are the way to go.
These incidents certainly won't deter us from traveling to Rome again! What a beautiful city!
 
Jul 2nd, 2001, 06:46 AM
  #40  
Joanie
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No, I'm not the owner of a hotel in Amsterdam. I'm just someone who was cautious and stayed out of the dangerous parts of town. I also know many who have been through Central Station and had no trouble.

Scottster wrote about Amsterdam, "EXPECT TO BE ATTACKED IF YOU GO THERE..." This is a highly inflammatory comment and I took exception to it. It's flat out not true. I didn't doubt that you were mugged,"Scottster", just doubted the validity of your "attack" comment.

In your subsequent posts you list govt websites that you must see as supportive to your "attack" comment. I don't agree. Amsterdam CAN be a dangerous city, if you aren't careful and are in high crime areas, especially at night. For most travelers, it's a lovely city.

The moral of this thread is to be careful and alert at all times. Yes?

Joanie (also known as Y)
 

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