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Pickpocket Warnings

Seattle, Wa
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Pickpocket Warnings

I want to think all of you for responding to the questions I have posted . We will be traveling to Italy in late March, and our plans are pretty much complete. However, one concern that my wife and I have is the constant warnings in travel books and internet websites about pickpockets in the major cities in Italy. I even read a message on the home page of a restaurant in Rome warning customers to be aware of pickpockets while waiting for their meals. I was also told that some people in Rome will approach right out in the open. How prevalent is this in most cities? I keep reading "Try not to look like a tourist". Difficult not to look like a tourist when I'm taking photographs of the sights. I'm not trying to be paranoid. We've been in many large cities in Europe and never had a problem. Obviously we need to be careful. But are Rome, Venice, and Florence really as bad as we keep reading they are? Your comments are greatly appreciated.

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1. Re: Pickpocket Warnings

No, they aren't. Pickpockets are relatively rare in Venice and Florence. They are more in evidence in Rome. You just have to take simple precautions: Men should keep their money, ID etc, in their front pocket or in a money belt. Women should keep their valuables in a zipped bag close to the body and with their arm over it. Pickpockets take advantage of crowded situations and/or lapses of attention. They do not approach you on the street.

As for the restaurant warning: It's inviting trouble to hang a purse over the back of a chair if you're sitting outside on the street. It should be kept in your lap or the strap secured under a chair leg away from the street.

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Pickpocket Warnings

In my opinion, a front trouser pocket is not secure. If you put a wallet there, it should contain only just enough cash for the next few hours. Put your credit cards, driving license, passport, spare cash, etc., into a money belt under your clothes. This is not paranoia: just a sensible precaution.

Really, the prevalence of pickpockets in Rome is no worse than in Paris. There are not all that many of them, and the chance of one picking on you is fairly small. But it is very upsetting if you find that your wallet has gone, with all your cash and your cards. If you take precautions, the pickpockets will look for an easier target.

Norwich, United...
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3. Re: Pickpocket Warnings


Very often, following the advice given by one's home police force isn't a bad idea......



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4. Re: Pickpocket Warnings

Don't let the fear of pickpockets put you off a simply amazing city.I was quite fearful, and I have to confess I let it get the better of me on several occasions.I read and read all the good advice on TA and followed it closely.We were fine,luckily, although we did meet people who had been pickpocketed on the underground.I perfected what my husband now refers to as 'the Roman handbag hold"-always zipped up, facing inwards,over my arm, other hand over the bag while holding it in front of me! We took only a small amount of money when out and about, split that between us, and took care on crowded buses in particular.If we naive little kiwis can do it, so can you!Have lots of fun.

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5. Re: Pickpocket Warnings

The issue of pickpockets is one that seems to impact every large city in Europe...and has been around for years. The best way to approach this subject is to treat it as something that you just have to plan for while you are getting ready for your trip.

For instance, before you go to Italy, I bet you are going to spend time reading up on which sites to see, which hotels to stay, where to eat, as well as certain train schedules and other related trip related research.

Just take fro granted that pickpockets are just going to be part of the trip AND something you have to take into account by doing some research how they operate so you dont fall victim to them.

Understand that most people who travel overseas come back without a scratch - and that's in due part that most people in the world are honest - not the thieving street pickpockets. But those street thieves are out there - even in small amounts - and they obviously like to target locations frequented by tourists - and why not - they are known to carry a fair amount of cash, as well as items of value, and they usually wont stay around very long after the crime .


Take some of the time you spend on researchng your destinations and put it towards educations yourself "how to outfox the fox." Learn the pickpockets "tricks of the trade" and why so many of them are successful in the daily picking the pockets around the world. While many tour books have a small section devoted to travel crime - many will have a few tips, some generic, others more specific. They are a basic place to start. But venture out a little farther to really get some great "pickpocket prevention" information. Here are a few places to start:

OSAC Website ( U.S Govt - Dept of State Business Travel Website)


The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) is a Federal Advisory Committee run by the U.S. Department of State. They publish crime and safety bulletins regarding most countires around teh world. These reports are similar to Travel Advisories issued by the Dept of State, buy sometiems have a few more scams listed. Note that the above link was publisehd for Italy in April 2009 - but has great specific locations where pickpockets are known to operate. See above link:

US Department of State - US Embassy - Italy - Security Tips Page


This is the U.S Government's official embassy web page for crime tips specific to Italy - While it does not have a large amount of info - you will find some tips that you should know. Read some of the "warden messages" that document purse slashings on buses in 2006 - While that warden message is several years old, purse slashing still occur to this day.

Pickpocket Avoidance Information - Numerious Pickpocket Videos and In-Depth Information


This is a website that has several links to various articles on how to avoid pickpockets. Go to the pickpockets section. one of it's best features are that some of the webpages show actual real crime videos of pickpockets in action to give you a real sense of how slick pickpockets are - Make sure you watch the video shot at the Trevi Fountain of the three young girls trying to pick pockets of several women.

How Stuff Works - Avoiding Pickpockets


This is a visual guide that shows instructional 'slide-by-slide" photographs that show you how pickpockets get in your pockets.

6. Re: Pickpocket Warnings

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