Warning - Do Not Go To Pisa

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Oct 8th, 2018, 12:46 AM
  #21
mjs
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,298
I , too never leave luggage in a car, even in the trunk when traveling in most countries. I plan my holiday with this in mind. When we make stops someone always stays with the car unless it remains in plain sight from where we have gone. It is too easy for thieves to spot tourists who might be carrying valuables. Otherwise you are just taking chances...
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Oct 8th, 2018, 01:13 AM
  #22
 
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Good grief. Have none of you ever done a multi day road trip and stopped along the way to view some tourist sight? Stopped off somewhere on the way to the airport because you have a late flight? Do you then take turns to view it or do you leave your luggage in the car, with or without the tonneau covering it, and hope for the best?

The only mistakes OP made was not having their passports with them, and coming on Fodors to tell their tale.
hetismij2 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2018, 02:52 AM
  #23
 
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I think just about all of us know the rule about NEVER leaving valuables in a parked car. The problem with that is that "NEVER" is not always possible. Whenever I am obliged to leave my rental car with my baggage in it (but still never any valuables), I find the busiest brightest place in the area with people passing by at all times.

The only time I ever had everything stolen out of a car was in a nice area of Los Angeles where I was parked for less than an hour in mid-afternoon.
kerouac is online now  
Oct 8th, 2018, 04:58 AM
  #24
 
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Never, never, never leave passports in a car! If I'm in a country that I need a passport to get home from it's on my body at all times.


But I agree with those who realize that sometimes it does make sense to visit somewhere en route from one place to another and you'll want to leave luggage in a car. But there are ways to minimize the risk.


1) Minimize how often you do that - plan itineraries so that whenever possible you do side trips from each base rather than going from one place to another with a stopover.


2) Take all really valuable stuff with you in a day pack. Yes it's a bit of a pain to wear the backpack with the laptop, iPad, cameras, etc. but I'd rather do that than have them stolen. Obviously also all medications, credit cards, important paperwork, etc. Then if your luggage does get stolen all they get is your clothes.


3) Don't access the trunk at your parking spot. If you need to get things in or out of your bags stop a few minutes before you get to the destination and rearrange things so that anyone watching you park will just see you take your day bag and go - and have no reason to assume you have stuff in the trunk. The OP indicated that might have happened in his case.


4) Research ahead of time if it's somewhere that is known for break ins. Pisa apparently is. Ask on this forum and others if - for the most part - it's a 'safe' area. Nowhere is completely safe obviously, but some places are notoriously unsafe.
isabel is online now  
Oct 8th, 2018, 07:31 AM
  #25
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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What Isabel said. ^
You can't always avoid having to leave bags in the car but you can minimize the risk. Additionally, don't leave guide books and other tourist paraphernalia visible in passenger section.
Trophywife007 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2018, 07:43 AM
  #26
 
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We have car break-ins all the time here in Fl. You might as well leave the car unlocked to save the cost of a window. I know someone that just had their passport stolen and when they were flying back to the states the person had already used it to fly. They were from Yemen and the airport immigration people tried to make this person fly to Yemen. She had her military id and they still didn't believe her. Two days later they found her passport. The Yemen person copied it and used the grainy paper as proof she was a US citizen. It was a freaking nightmare. Hold on to those passports.
Macross is online now  
Oct 8th, 2018, 07:59 AM
  #27
 
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Sorry you had to learn a lesson about never leaving your passport in the car! (That's what money belts are for!)

I just drove through Spain and Portugal in May. I bought some lightweight cables and locks to lock my luggage to the floor of the trunk.

The trunk floor of the Audi rental had latches. The cables wrapped around two luggage bags, handles, etc. I know if somebody were truly determined to steal the luggage, they could have, but not as easily as opening the trunk and walking off with the luggage.

Fortunately, no one tried to steal our luggage and test my wonderful system.
Masterphil is offline  
Oct 8th, 2018, 08:21 AM
  #28
 
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I am sorry but moneybelts do not guarantee that people won't leave something in sight in a car. And that system of yours wouldn't stand a chance against bolt cutters which come in compact sizes
Dukey1 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2018, 08:23 AM
  #29
 
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Originally Posted by sassy27 View Post
I just came back from NYC and left all my luggage in the trunk of my parked car. I had no choice as I was attending a convention. So was I supposed to skip the convention as I had to leave the hotel? Saying never to leave luggage in a locked trunk isn't always practical. .
Most conventions will hold your bags for you. If not, your hotel or the one where the convention is held can store your bags.

As for leaving your car when travelling, some people park their rental car so that it's hard to get into -- like backed up against a building or a fence.
Mimar is offline  
Oct 8th, 2018, 08:28 AM
  #30
 
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Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
Good grief. Have none of you ever done a multi day road trip and stopped along the way to view some tourist sight? Stopped off somewhere on the way to the airport because you have a late flight? Do you then take turns to view it or do you leave your luggage in the car, with or without the tonneau covering it, and hope for the best?

The only mistakes OP made was not having their passports with them, and coming on Fodors to tell their tale.
This.

Having just returned form three weeks of driving in Italy, I can attest that is simply isn't always possible to NOT have valuables in the car. I will just say, and not to rub salt into the wound, but we always carry our passports with us. That said, I can't even imagine how you and your family must have felt for this to happen. How utterly devastating. Thank you for sharing; it serves as a reminder for everyone.
Rocket79 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2018, 09:09 AM
  #31
 
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Dukey1...You are assuming every thief is walking around with bolt cutters. Many do not. You probably lock your doors each night knowing that a lock will not keep someone out of your house, but you still lock the door every night. By your logic, you shouldn't bother locking your door. My system will make it a little more difficult to steal my stuff than someone who merely has their bags easily lifted out of the car. Having your passport in a money belt as opposed to in your car will prevent you from getting your passport stolen along with your luggage. The best thing to do is not leave luggage in the car or any thing for that matter (I live near San Francisco where 30,000+ cars got broken into last year alone). However, If I am driving from one destination to another and there is a stop I would like to make along the way, I have no choice but to leave my luggage in the car. My locking system was better than nothing.
Masterphil is offline  
Oct 8th, 2018, 10:01 AM
  #32
 
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I think Phil's idea of locking the luggage with cables is a good one. Most thieves don't have a lot of time - they break a window, open the door and the trunk, grab the stuff, and run. Have to do it quickly, because people are probably around. If stuff is locked up with cables, that's too complicated and slows them down, better move on. Not a guarantee but surely a deterrent.
Andrew is offline  
Oct 8th, 2018, 01:07 PM
  #33
 
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Part of the enforcement problem is that thieves target non-locals by observing rental company stickers or license plate codes. With no one local to testify, the cops aren't interested.
AJPeabody is offline  
Oct 8th, 2018, 01:19 PM
  #34
 
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Originally Posted by AJPeabody View Post
Part of the enforcement problem is that thieves target non-locals by observing rental company stickers or license plate codes. With no one local to testify, the cops aren't interested.
I think that’s assuming a lot. Cops want to catch thieves, and while I agree thieves target rentals, they’re criminals of opportunity. They’re not going to pass up a local’s car with valuables in it.

I think most of the problem is that the police don't catch perpetrators of this crime often because 1) it’s fairly unlikely they’ll track the thief down and get the stuff back and 2) it’s fairly low profile as far as crime goes. Like bike theft. If no one gets hurt, the police will just file a report and that’ll be that.

the chain up system is interesting. My luggage, for the most part, is less valuable than my car windows. I’d be worried they’d trash the car even more if they discovered the chained up luggage. I

Last edited by marvelousmouse; Oct 8th, 2018 at 01:22 PM.
marvelousmouse is offline  
Oct 8th, 2018, 01:37 PM
  #35
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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I find all this extremely interesting. Two thoughts: I arranged our trip to Sicily with no stops with luggage in the car. And this: Pisa is the only city I've visited in Italy where I've witnessed violent crime.

Pal, this was at the secondary rail station, near the Campo Miracoli. An elderly tourist was beaten and robbed. The underground crosswalk on the way to the station was littered with syringes and I wasn't too surprised to see the man being mugged when we walked up to the station.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Oct 8th, 2018, 01:47 PM
  #36
 
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For those who would read up to here; lessons would be :
1.try not to leave luggage in unattended car
2. try not to park car with unattended luggage in parking used only by tourists
3. never leave passports in your car
4. don't leave valuable in your car.

In this case,
1. was not possible
2 should have been tried (park in a street with passer by's and where locals park)
3 was easy for avoid
4 put the valuable in a backpack and carry the backpack with you (with things such as Ipad etc) and pay attention to the backpack.

As to commiserate with OP, well for some - me included - it is difficult to feel sorry for someboy who blame an entire city, and don't realize that police has better things to do than to look for luggage left unattended in a parking used by toursits only. I got stolen in US (Atlanta ?) and never blamed US for it - should I have ?
I just think that thieves are everywhere, more in touristy places.

The bright side is that they probably waltzed at customs, since they had no more luggage ...
thibaut is offline  
Oct 8th, 2018, 02:02 PM
  #37
 
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Pal, this was at the secondary rail station, near the Campo Miracoli>

Very familiar with that station - sleepy station. And yes the unseemly side of Italy with a major drug problem. Probably addicts doing the theft than Gypsies oops Romani.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 8th, 2018, 02:17 PM
  #38
 
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Our passports were in our suitcases.

I am sorry this happened to you. But you should NEVER leave passports, valuables, luggage in a parked rental car. Anywhere. Nothing to do with Pisa.

So where were they supposed to leave their items if in Pisa for only a few hours?

Well at least the passports they could have kept on their person
suze is offline  
Oct 8th, 2018, 02:23 PM
  #39
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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I would not give the city of Pisa a complete pass - tourist areas should be especially well policed - especially one rampant with drug addicts apparently. That said look for a good place to park - like the supermarket parking lot nearby - folks coming and going so thieves cannot work without anyone seeing them.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 8th, 2018, 02:24 PM
  #40
 
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I have always taken a train to Pisa and have never had any trouble! It's much more manageable dashing from the train and walking to the Campo area. Rental cars parked in lots are all at a potential risk IMO, hence the reason I only use public transportation in Italy with never a problem. However, with that being said, some close family friends of mine were just in Italy end of September following an itinerary I created for them. They rented a BMW and drove to Pisa from Florence and parked there and enjoyed their day with no issues. I don't know where they ended up parking but they were never bothered; and in subsequent cities after that too (Siena, Lucca, Venezia, etc) since they drove everywhere. Sorry to hear you had that mishap and hope it won't cloud your view of bella Italia in the future. (I've been robbed years ago with my then-toddler daughter in a stroller on a public bus in Napoli, but that has just made me the wiser for constant awareness when going there!)
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