We were a group of four tourists who bought multi-day Metro cards at a Paris airport. No mention was made of a requirement to sign our names on the card. On the first night, we were confronted by several men who did not present any identification and had no uniforms or other markings. They indicated that they were randomly checking our fare cards and cleared us. Another man appeared and checked my wife's card again and informed her she was being fined 35 euros (about $41) because she had not signed her card. She was told she had to pay immediately. The date and time of her first use that evening was clearly printed on the face of the card. A warning would have been far more appropriate than a fine. Several days later we were in Montmartre, an area known for pickpockets. As we entered a crowded car, a man dropped his phone near my feet and started to grope my legs. I knew immediately that this was a tactic of pickpockets and kicked him. We immediately exited the car before the doors closed as did the pickpocket and his partner. No police presence was in sight. We boarded the next train as did the pickpockets who stationed themselves on opposite sides of our car communicating by cell phone. We kept eye contact and made gestures so they would know we were watching them. They disembarked at the next station and one threatened to throw his phone at us. Pickpockets can only survive if permitted to do so by the authorities. In the five days we were in Paris, we never saw a police officer in the Metro. Instead of hassling innocent tourists, Paris Metro should devote resources to thwarting criminals who prey on them openly and notoriously. It appears that Metro is more interested in generating extra revenue than the safety and security of its 1.5 billion passengers a year.
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