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Avoiding the new pickpocket gangs in Western Europe

Travel Forums Europe Avoiding the new pickpocket gangs in Western Europe

1. Posted by juliussavros (First Time Poster, 1 posts) 25 Apr '14 01:37

Apart from not leaving your tour group, what is the best way not to get pickpocketed or mugged by the gangs, usually now children who cross the EU border into Western Europe for this purpose? Many tourists now in Paris and other major cities have to spend hours waiting in the police station to fill out a report of being mugged; their vacation ruined.
If you don't already know about this just google something along the lines of Roma gypsy cashpoint thieves crime Paris Benelux Germany London

2. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru, 1574 posts) 25 Apr '14 14:19

"Robbery" and "Pick-pocketing" are two separate issues entirely. (Although pick-pocketing is of course a form of robbery.)

1.) Robbery is when a thief physically confronts you and forcibly steals your purse, bag, wallet, jewellery, watch, etc. It's a horrible thing to experience, very traumatic and there's the very real danger of being physically harmed.

2.) Pick-pocketing is off course the exact opposite situation... if the thief succeeds you don't even know you've been robbed until after the fact.

You can't 100% protect yourself from being robbed, but you can certainly control your appearance and actions to make it a VERY unlikely occurrence. Common sense and street smarts can (almost) completely remove you from falling into the role as victim - and if you do get robbed you can minimize the loss to almost nothing.

Pick-pocketing on the other hand is 100% preventable. A pick-pocket doesn't have superhuman powers... they can't somehow magically teleport your belongings from your body into their possession, they have to physically get their grubby thieving hands on your stuff in order to steal it. Velcro, zippers, buttons, inside pockets, money belts, etc. etc. etc... there are LOTS of ways to easily make yourself pick-pocket proof.

Happy travels.

Cheers,
Terry

3. Posted by PompeyPete (Budding Member, 30 posts) 25 Apr '14 16:02

There's no need to go on holiday to impress.
Leave the bling at home, dress down, and look skint!
Be aware of your immediate environment, risk assess the environment, keep to the beaten track, and use common-sense.

4. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru, 1574 posts) 25 Apr '14 20:30

"... keep to the beaten track..."

Seriously? That is pretty boring for many travellers...

Cheers,
Terry

5. Posted by PompeyPete (Budding Member, 30 posts) 26 Apr '14 00:26

Terry

Having just got home from 5 weeks in Nepal I couldn't agree more.

Now read the original posting. The OP is asking about tour groups who tend to stick to the beaten track, and generally advise their clients not to wander off too much.

Cheers
Peter

6. Posted by bex76 (Moderator, 3600 posts) 26 Apr '14 01:09

Quoting PompeyPete

Terry

Now read the original posting. The OP is asking about tour groups who tend to stick to the beaten track, and generally advise their clients not to wander off too much.

Cheers
Peter

It's ambiguous and I didn't interpret that the OP was necessarily asking just about groups. Either way, sticking to the beaten track doesn't necessarily reduce your chances of crime anyway. Lots of (if not most) pickpocketings happen in busy areas such as on trains and buses or on crowded streets, and being with a group of people won't stop someone putting their hand in your pocket or bag.

7. Posted by PompeyPete (Budding Member, 30 posts) 26 Apr '14 02:35

What's with the nit-picking and cherry-picking?!

I also said in reply #3...

"Leave the bling at home, dress down, and look skint!
Be aware of your immediate environment, risk assess the environment, and use common-sense."

8. Posted by bex76 (Moderator, 3600 posts) 26 Apr '14 05:34

Quoting PompeyPete

What's with the nit-picking and cherry-picking?!

I also said in reply #3...

"Leave the bling at home, dress down, and look skint!
Be aware of your immediate environment, risk assess the environment, and use common-sense."

There's no need to be rude to me Pete. I wasn't nit-picking or cherry picking at you - I was suggesting that the OP didn't explain himself/herself very well in my opinion, and that his/her suggestion of staying in groups isn't necessarily going to eliminate the risk of crime.

9. Posted by PompeyPete (Budding Member, 30 posts) 26 Apr '14 07:01

You're right - apologies.

The people most likely to get mugged or scammed are those who've left their brain behind at the airport. They go into holiday mode, and simply let their guard down.

Why do some people use a stand-alone ATM in a busy street, when they can easily walk into a bank and use the one inside, which is much less likely to be overlooked by criminals.

Nothing is fool-proof, but being constantly aware of your surroundings is what I'd always recommend. It's a bit like running up the steep stairs of an ancient stupa or pagoda in SE Asia, only to then find out your scared of heights and can't get down.