We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Pickpocket experience on Switzerland Trains. Be careful.

Singapore, Singapore
3 posts
Save Topic
Pickpocket experience on Switzerland Trains. Be careful.

Just returned from a 2 week travel in switzerland between 17 May - 31 May 2012. My wife and i used the SBB train service between Zurich Airport, Montreux, Geneva, Zermatt, Wengen, Luzern and Interlaken. The train service went without a hitch and the scenery is beautiful. The snag that marred our holiday was when i was pick-pocketed at a small town at Visp at the train station on a train headed to Zermatt on 20 May 2012. While boarding the train (it was a 1210pm train), a man with a trolley bag got on between my wife and me. He then acted confused and asked if it was first or second class. Then he made an about turn and acted to get off the train thus trying to push past me. I was struggling with a trolley bag trying to bring it up. He rammed into my side a few times. My wife was amused how the man tried to ram into me but sensing something was wrong, i checked myself and discovered my wallet was missing. I ran throughout the station but wasn't too sure who the person was anymore. Fortunately, we managed to cancel all our credit cards though i lost quite a bit of cash. We reported the matter to the police at Visp but unfortunately the train stations at Visp don't have surveillance cameras. I actually think SBB should do something about this.

I checked the forums and found others who've had pickpocketing experiences. I think it pays to be careful along the entire swiss train experience. We met a Malaysian man in Geneva who owns a restaurant warning us of pickpockets in Geneva who target Asians as they can escape to france quickly.

Keep your pockets clean and put your valuables in a backpack or a hidden strap under your clothing. Switzerland is not as safe as i thought it would be. I've heard of countless pickpocketing stories in Barcelona, Spain, Greece, etc but made a mistake by letting my guard down. Just wanted to share this so that no one has to be another victim to this most unpleasant part of the trip.

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage, Zermatt
Level Contributor
17,124 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Pickpocket experience on Switzerland Trains. Be careful.

Hi, and I'm really sorry you had this experience We have been discussing this for some months here on TA and I have posted that Visp station is one place the pickpockets operate - I had a friend lose 3000 Swiss francs in cash! Of course, she admits she was crazy to have that much cash but this was in the early days of the tales about pickpockets so none of us were as careful as we are now.

It's always wise to put your cash in a zipped and locked bag. I wouldn't put it in a backpack unless the zippers could be locked as they are adept at opening the zip. After my friend's experience in Visp, when I travel through there and elsewhere in winter, my money, credit cards, etc. are in the zipped section of a small shoulder bag that goes under my coat and my coat is buttoned/zipped. It's a bit more difficult in warm weather but a bit of thinking will come up with good solutions.

I think Visp is a target because it's pretty busy year round with folks rushing to make a fairly quick change of train going to and from Zermatt so they aren't paying close attention to being jostled. There is a lot of jostling getting onto the trains there - in winter it's skis, etc. as well as luggage with everyone in a bit of a rush/panic.

Thanks for sharing that it was a man with luggage getting on and off the train - that seems to be a new twist!

Again, I'm sorry you had this horrible experience. You can be sure that these folks are in Switzerland primarily for just this purpose and are not Swiss! I hope you'll return soon!

Edited: 02 June 2012, 22:29
Singapore, Singapore
3 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Pickpocket experience on Switzerland Trains. Be careful.

Thanks for your encouragements! What a quick reply. Yes he was a white caucasian man, bald without hair and muscular wearing a black tight shirt at a height of about 1.8m. He also had a brown coat hung over his hand. He blends in well with the tourists but moves alone (i think..not sure) I guess his hand with the covered coat was used to pick my wallet. I lost close about 800 francs and felt silly putting that much. Your friend must have felt worse losing so much. The police at Visp really need to do something about it. It happened on a sunday and there are no police at the Visp police station! We pressed the intercom and the police from Brig were activated to come over which took half an hour. I think the pick-pocketers knew that. We asked if there were surveillance cameras but there were none. They really should have patrols and cameras since it is recurring. No one will have the confidence that it won't happen again until the authorities step in. I've actually written to the Swiss Tourism Board about this.

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage, Zermatt
Level Contributor
17,124 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Pickpocket experience on Switzerland Trains. Be careful.

Yes, writing to the tourist board may well be the best thing we can all do about these events - tourism is a huge business in Switzerland and it might create some urgency to take a more active position regarding these pickpockets if the proper authorities pressure the police. Knowing that this is being discussed on these international travel forums should be of importance to them - it can discourage future visitors!

I hope you had a great rest of your trip and enjoyed Switzerland!

London, United...
Level Contributor
189 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: Pickpocket experience on Switzerland Trains. Be careful.

My suggestion is buy a belt with a pocket that can be put under the pants. This way I put there my cash, passports etc. Everyday I put small amount of money in my regular wallet so it is being stolen no harm done. If need more cash I just go to the bathroom and take out some. This way it is impossible to get my money unless someone tries to rob me. I guess we haven't got that far in Western Europe (especiall Germany/Switzerland).

Martigny...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
33,380 posts
171 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Pickpocket experience on Switzerland Trains. Be careful.

I am so sorry this happened to you. I had a very similar experience right here in Martigny when I was boarding a train for the airport to go on holiday and I lost a lot of money... I totally agree with you about the cameras and in fact cameras are being installed in the main stations. It is so helpful that you told the authorities in Visp as perhaps then they can push to have cameras installed.

Following KM's advice while travelling is a good plan and men should never put their wallets in their hip pockets. (I have to constantly remind my husband about this...)

Singapore, Singapore
3 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Pickpocket experience on Switzerland Trains. Be careful.

Thank you for sharing your past experience Hamhagahle and i'm sorry to hear of your experience too. Thanks too for the tips shared by guli33 and kileysmom. Yes i heard Martigny is notorious too. Martigny isn't too far from Visp if i recall. Perhaps by similar folks. My wife and me are saying such things should not be repeated. If they are, its just a sign that the authorities are not doing anything and are just accepting it as a way of life there. This shouldn't be so.

Brooklyn, New York
1 post
Save Reply
7. Re: Pickpocket experience on Switzerland Trains. Be careful.

i just had the exact same expiriance yesterday in visp, as i headed to zurich airport with my father we took the 10:57 train and as we enterd the train there were two guys with bussiness looking clothes coming down the stairs and one of them had a small brown and black suitcase, he came to my father and tryed to take his suitcase from him as if he thought it his his while asking my father if this is 1st class, my father took back his suitcase and the two of them went off the train with a smile. only in thun my father saw his travelling wallet is gone with all passports and alot of cash e.t.c.

somone in the station saw the passports in the garbage and my father got it back. when he asked to see the cctv cameras he was told to his shock that there isnt any!!

my question is, why in nyc every taxi has a camera and in the switzerland there isnt a single camera in a station where there are crimes daily?

Basel / Switzerland
Level Contributor
2,709 posts
32 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Pickpocket experience on Switzerland Trains. Be careful.

Because our left wing politicians claim a "*loss of personal integrity", if filmed by a camera. For unknown reasons, Maybe they are concerned for their beloved asylants and french gipsys, who normally commit those crimes,

We should have more police, more cameras and much harder punishment for that scum.

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage, Zermatt
Level Contributor
17,124 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Pickpocket experience on Switzerland Trains. Be careful.

Yes, a friend of mine lost her wallet at the train station in Visp. It is a common place for having groups of visitors all juggling luggage on and off trains as well as skis, climbing gear, etc. and it is usually quite crowded at the doors into the train carriages so people don't necessarily feel the hand dipping into a handbag or pocket.

Take precautions!!!

Martigny...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
33,380 posts
171 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Pickpocket experience on Switzerland Trains. Be careful.

What you describe about your father is exactly what happened to me at Martigny station. Two men offered to "help" - and took my wallet.

Many of our local trains now have CCTV. I agree with Maetzli - ALL our stations should have it. And quickly.

Verbier, by the way, has now installed at lot of cameras all over the resort and a large sign as you go into the village stateing this... I suspect the sign is worth more than the cameras!