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Unsafe Paris !!!

Attard, Malta
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Unsafe Paris !!!

Had a wonderful weekend in Paris, but it was spoiled.

Every single day, we had to confront pickpockets.

On arrival, upon boarding the train, at Anthony station, I saw my mobile phone flying in the air ! Someone tried to steal it from my pocket, and another person, behind me saw everything and cased the offender away.

I was approached by a teenager, showing me a ring- a Paris classic. I just shouted at him, go away, and he got frustrated !!

This happend about four times in four days !

Boarding a train, two men, one from the front and another one from the back of my wife started talking to her, trying to grab her bag . She shouted my name and they disappeared !

Going out of Notre Dame, we stopped at a zebra crossing. A woman in a parked car started to ask me silly questions in broken english. Aman behing me, advised me to ignore her as she is trying to make you approach her car, so she can grab and drive !!

This all happened last weekend, between the 17th and 20th November. The police are nowhere to be seen ! The only police I ve seen were near Arc de Triomphe.

My advise:

If you are reading a map, carrying luggages, holding a camera, dressed up elegantly, and heard speaking anything but French, you are an easy prey !!

Carry your belonging in a zipped pocket in front of your chest or a zipped, closed bag, hanging at the side, with your ahnds odvering it at all times.

I have travelled to many places, but this amount of crime in just four days, is just too much !!!!

Fullerton...
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81. Re: Unsafe Paris !!!

Okay, let's be fair. This issue has not been ignored or downplayed on TA. It, in fact, has it's own "sticky" at the top of the forum. However, it also requires that tourists such as us take some responsibility for managing our own behaviour. Which includes not only our demeanor while traveling but also doing research in order to be as prepared as possible.

I'm not a seasoned traveler abroad, though I have traveled extensively in the US. Every large city has its issues. Even as a native of SoCA, I wouldn't walk alone in many areas of Los Angeles and while New York is safer, it too has areas of issues. One only has to go to the forums for Barcelona or Rome to see as many threads about pickpockets.

What I don't appreciate is hysteria. I read numerous posts about pickpockets before I went to Paris for the first time in May. I got so concerned that I actually went out and bought a money pouch to wear. You know how often I wore it? Once, on the flight over, because it became immediately clear to me within 24 hours that I had been scammed...by the hysterical pickpocket posters.

Yes, one needs to be aware but lets at least try to be fair and productive about what the actual "threats" are and how best to avoid them...not hysterical.

New York City, New...
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for Yucatan Peninsula
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82. Re: Unsafe Paris !!!

"A former mayor went to 'zero tolerance' starting with small crime. NYC became safe. I am sure it isnt really totally safe, but the image it was safe worked"

Oh please. NYC didnt become safe because of a mayor (who people foolishly worship!) - it became safer because there was money to hire more cops, the internet boom made it possible for all people to make money regardless of education and background, and the crack epidemic ended.

And in reality, most violent crime in NYC is not random - people kill people they know - not strangers. The way to stay safe in NYC is to stay single. Most of the theft crimes on the subway take place when school lets out and the little hoodlums are robbing each other's ipods/iphones.

Not that we're talking about New York here, but I have to laugh.... I go to Paris almost annually, and never encounter all these criminals. Sure, 1 woman tried the gold ring scam with me in 2007 when I was waiting for a bus by the Louvre, but if you avoid the major tourist traps and stay vigilant on the metro, you shouldnt encounter any problems. I always try to have my back up against the wall on the metro - that way I only have to watch in front of me.

Toronto, Canada
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83. Re: Unsafe Paris !!!

I will be returning to Paris for my 7th visit next spring.

So far I have encountered the "do you speak English" women. And a fair number of them outside Notre Dame. Since there isn't much talk of these women anymore, have they now "graduated" to the petition people?

I was also handed a card on the metro from a purported deaf/mute man who just handed the cards to everyone, then came back to pick them up with any donations people had. That one is as old as the hills, and I've seen it in my own city in several food courts (although not recently). These incidents are simply begging - I didn't feel I was at risk for any harm.

I'm sure that the ring people, the bracelet guys, the pickpockets, the petitioners etc. are all there, but I do wonder why I haven't encountered them yet. Sheer luck obviously, but when/if we do encounter them in the spring, we certainly have enough information to take precautions but leave the paranoia behind. Who wants to spend their vacation continuously worrying that they are going to be victimized? There's no need if one only heeds the advice of simple precautions without the hysteria. And unfortunately these types of threads often instill the hysteria and paranoia in newcomers.

I do take issue with tourists' "demands" that more police action be taken, harsher penalties, etc. The petty crime that happens in Paris and elsewhere is part of a larger social issue, and one not easily solved simply by the demands of tourists. If tourists became less profitable to the pickpockets and scammers, perhaps that might aid in reducing the petty crime rate.

warrensburg,MO
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84. Re: Unsafe Paris !!!

That's right. The "speak English" gypsy girls suddenly became the "pretend deaf and dumb" gypsy girls practically overnight in Spring 2010. Same policy, distract you then steal your money, but a different way of doing it.

Chicago
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85. Re: Unsafe Paris !!!

I've never seen the gold ring scam personally, but last year did see the bracelet guys in action for the first time over by Montmartre, and encountered the petition people at the top of the funicular. On a prior trip, was approached by the "do you speak english" women but responded in Polish and they walked on.

Also bear in mind, scams like the gold ring and pickpocketing are two different things. I'm a city dweller myself, so like to think I am somewhat street-smart (although I have been picked twice in my life), so try to be careful, especially on the metro. I now go out with only one of my credit cards with me, just in case. And I generally have my cash separate from my cards.

Hong Kong, China
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for Hong Kong, Osaka
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86. Re: Unsafe Paris !!!

My Asian friend just spent a week in Paris. At a cafe one day, she put her phone on the table. A man came by and put a piece of paper with Japanese writing on her table, covering the phone in the process. The cafe staff immediately started screaming at him and he ran out in a hurry. According to the staff, the man was trying to distract her and grab her phone in the process. They warned her by saying "You are in Paris. You don't leave your phone on the table."

I have been to Paris several times myself and spent a couple of extended trips throughout the country. The city, like many other metropolis worldwide, has its shares of scams and questionable people. Each city has its "specialty" when it comes to scams and theft. It's foolish to say the city is entirely safe. There is also no use in comparing one city vs another. This thread should really be about sharing experiences so we can all learn to protect ourselves through knowledge.

NYC
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87. Re: Unsafe Paris !!!

Well said, Sammy, I dislike this comparing one city to another.

88. Re: Unsafe Paris !!!

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89. Re: Unsafe Paris !!!

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90. Re: Unsafe Paris !!!

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Removed on: 23 November 2011, 08:35