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Thieves and Pickpockets

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Brisbane, Australia
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573 posts
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Thieves and Pickpockets

I see this is a regular topic on this Board but what precautions do you recommend against pick-pockets and other thieves (other than staying indoors and never going out)?

Some visitors tell warning stories about pick-pockets on trains, tourist site queues and elsewhere. A friend of mine experienced a cab driver who wanted to charge her much more than the fare from the airport and ended up grabbing one of her suitcases which she never saw again and so on.

My own experience a few years ago was with a railway employee who decided a mug from down under with not much Italian was easy pickings and tried to short-change me (considerably). He insisted loudly he was correct until another (honest) employee intervened and I got my correct money.

No general disparagement of the delightful people of Rome is intended. We have our fair share of low-life here at home. I just want to know what sensible general precautions we should take.

Tragic

Edited: 20 June 2014, 09:02
adelaide
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1,670 posts
27 reviews
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1. Re: Thieves and Pickpockets

look like you don't have anything worth stealing

don't have anything worth stealing

if you do make sure it is small and your hand is on it

if anyone asks for passport just keep walking

if anyone has an 'accident' in front of you just keep walking

be sensible and have fun

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2. Re: Thieves and Pickpockets

I hardly think an official cab driver would ever steal a bag.

The railway employee probably was tired and just making a mistake.

Antwerp, Belgium
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3. Re: Thieves and Pickpockets

There is plenty of information to be found on several websites.

http://www.lifeinitaly.com/travel/pickpockets

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2394624/Pickpoc…

We caught a pick pocket on a tram in Lisbon a few months ago and we knew she was up to something so we decided to keep an eye on her on the tram. Only minutes later, when a woman went to sit next to her, she putted her big handbag on her lap with one hand and the other hand went under the handbag into the handbag of the woman next to her. That's when we screamed to warn her victim. The 'thief in action' just smiled like she saw a ghost, and at the next stop she was gone!

Just be carefull in big crowds, I am always amazed to see how many people run around with their handbags open or with their wallets in their back pockets.

4. Re: Thieves and Pickpockets

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Removed on: 23 June 2014, 00:07
pittsburgh
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for Rome
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5. Re: Thieves and Pickpockets

If you wish to carry a lot of cash use a money belt that goes under your clothes.

If you carry a purse be sure to bring around to the front of you and put your arm across it when in any crowded situation.

Men, don't put your wallet in your pocket, especially your back pocket.

Don't carry anything of value in a back pack.

Use common sense when in crowded situations.

Donna

6. Re: Thieves and Pickpockets

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Removed on: 23 June 2014, 00:08
San Diego...
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7. Re: Thieves and Pickpockets

**I Have never seen pickpockets!** Most victims never see a pickpocket and don't realize they have become a victim until they go to use their wallet.

Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: Thieves and Pickpockets

you can't be picked if you aren't a walking buffet. We have been targeted by pick pockets half a dozen times that we know of (mostly in Paris where we spend the most time, but also in Florence) and we have never lost anything because we don't carry valuables in our pockets and we don't use a backpack. If I am carrying a purse or my husband is carrying a messenger bag, it is not behind us but forward and under our arm if we are in crowded places like museums, bus or metro. I mostly don't use a purse but have travel clothing with hidden zipped inside pockets. Those travel shirts that have the zipped pocket behind the chest pockets make great lightweight jackets in warmer weather. If it is really hot then I use a purse and carry it cross body and forward under my control. It really is that simple. Rarely do thieves mug someone for their money; this is a game of stealth.

The other main way people lose things is to be careless about where they rest a bag e.g. if you put your briefcase, backpack or purse on the floor while you do business at a window -- getting tickets, checking into or out of a hotel etc then you risk theft of the whole thing. It is a common location for theft. If you put your purse on the seat in a train while putting the rest of your luggage in the overhead rack, the thieves who board trains just before departure may well walk with it. (I sat across from a woman who had her purse stolen this way on an Italian train. There is no control of who boards trains in Italy as there is in Spain and so thieves get on as if they are passengers and steal small bags likely to contain valuables and hop off before departure)

Short changing seems to be common in Italy and Spain where I am always surprised that government employees do it. We have had it done or attempted in buying transportation tickets and it is quite common for restaurant bills. So always review your bill and know what the prices were on the menu; Rome in my experience was the spot where this happened most often often to a ludicrous extent with dishes being added to the bill or prices not matching the menu.

On the other hand, years ago I handed a cabbie in Rome the wrong denomination bill and would have overpaid by about 80%. He handed it back and pointed out I had confused bills. Most of the time the people you deal with will be honest.

janettravels44

www.janettravels.wordpress.com

London, United...
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9. Re: Thieves and Pickpockets

Just be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings at all times.. I took my normal handbag and just made sure it was always zipped up and that I held on to it. I never had any problems with pickpockets oin my 5 days there. I did however see people at the metro stations trying to help tourists by tickets at the machines and I think they were after some money for this. I waved them away and they didn't bother me.

I also didn't carry any bank cards, just a small amount of cash just in case.

Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: Thieves and Pickpockets

let me help you buy tickets for the metro is a classic old scam. I mean seriously -- who would hang around machines 'helping tourists' except thieves? the usual is that they use their own card, collect money from the hapless rube and then give them a worthless ticket or a child's ticket and let them end up with the fine when they get caught. if you can't use the machine then buy from a ticket window and a person -- NEVER let someone 'help you' buy tickets