For all those people who are worried about Prague and the abundance of pick pockets needent worry too much.
I found that I felt relatively safe in the city and on all modes of transport. We used a money belt for notes, carried no bank cards or passports and the camera etc was kept in an over the shoulder bag that rested in front of my stomach, rather than behind my back. It pays to be safe, by not making yourself an easy target. Handbags and rucksacks are harder to stop people getting into as they can easily stand behind you, but a bag to the front is the safest you can be.
Prague is no different to London or New York. It just pays to be vigilent and not to be careless with your possessions. Other than that, you will have a great time in Prague.
Prague is known not only due to its beauty, but also for pickpockets. When it is so much people around, it is not hard to use thankful situation and grab valuable things without any reaction of stolen one. Places, that could be not so safe, include Charles Bridge, Old town hall, mostly used metro lines, possible Wenceslas square as well.
Thing about Wenceslas square: here is possible to see some people, who just stand without any action (mostly gypsies, black people), so as I got explained, these are not waiting someone to rob, but to invite to night clubs or offer some drugs. Wenceslas square is quite watched by police, so these people act silently.
LIKE IN ANY OTHER BIG CITY ONE HAS TO BE CAREFUL. PRAGUE IS NOT DANGEROUS AT ALL BUT THE GUIDES WARNED US ABOUT THE PICKPOCKETS, WHICH SEEMED TO BE THE MAIN CRIME THERE. ONE DAY ULLA AND I WERE LOOKING AT OUR MAP AT ONE UNDERGROUND STATION AND UNCONSIOUSLY I NOTICED A YOUNG COUPLE WHO STOOD NOT FAR FROM US AND WHO DIDNýT SEEM TO HAVE ANY HURRY, THOUGH EVERYBODY ELSE WAS RUSHING EITHER TO THE TRAINS OR OFF FROM THE STATION. I DIDNýT PAY REAL ATTENTION TO THEM UNTIL WHEN WE WERE ABOUT TO ENTER THE STAIRS THEY PUSHED THEMSELVES BETWEEN ULLA AND ME. ALL THE WARNING BELLS WERE RINGING IN MY HEAD BECAUSE I THOUGHT THAT THEY WERE TOO CLOSE TO MY FRIEND AND AS IT WASNýT ANY RUSH HOUR THERE WAS PLENTY OF ROOM FOR EVERYBODY. THEY WERE SO CLOSELY TOGETHER THAT I COULDNýT SEE WHAT THEY WERE DOING BUT I SHOUTED: ýULLAý AND WHEN SHE TURNED I ASKED HER TO BE CAREFUL WITH THE COUPLE. AS WE STEPPED OUT OF THE STAIRS THE YOUNG MAN GAVE ME A LOOK, WHICH COULD HAVE EASILY KILLED ME BUT I JUST SMILED AT HIM POLITELY. ULLAýS BACKPACK WAS OPEN, SO THE COUPLE WERE PICKPOCKETERS, THOUGH THIS TIME UNLUCKY ONES. ULLA HAD ONLY OUR SANDWICHES AND WATER BOTTLES IN HER PACKBACK, SO THEY WOULDNýT HAVE BENEFITTED HAD THEY BEEN LUCKY. WE NEVER KEEP ANYTHING VALUABLE IN OUR PACKBACKS OR POCKETS AND HAVE OUR MONEY IN THE MONEYBELT INSIDE OUR TROUSERS.
This can't be stressed enough as one of my traveling companions was a victim to this nuisance behavior.
Very much aware of this sort of activity and swearing it would never happen to us, nevertheless it happened!!!
The pickpochets are quick, skillful and ingenious!
I am convinced the best method is to keep only a small quantity of money handy and the rest stored in money belt strapped to your body in some way.
The loose money should be kept in a front inside ZIPPERED pocket and reclosed immediately after making your purchase.
The scene of the crime was the Christmas Bazaar at Old Town Square-Staromestske Namesti but it can happen in any major tourist area all over the world.
It is up to you to prevent it!
I felt uncomfortable, mostly in the crowded areas, which includes all the tourists sites, but especially Charles Bridge and the Clock area. When you are shoulder to shoulder, anything can happen fast. I put my billfold in front pocket and kept checking to make sure ity was there. That is not a style of tourism that I want to be a part of' like being on edge all the time.
The handbag snatching happened at the Praha Holesovice train station at about 10:30 am, on May 22 2006. I was travelling with my family (from Vancouver, Canada) and we ran into an elderly American couple from New York at the station. Coincidently, we were all heading to Vienna on the same train. We all boarded the same first class car at the front of the train but they wanted a bit of privacy and took their own compartment next door. The train was uncrowded. As we waited for the train to leave, we heard some shouts next door. Apparently, the husband went to use the washroom leaving his wife alone, and along came a man who sat down beside her and asked "Is this second class?" When she said no, he got up, grabbed her handbag as well as his bag and ran out. He tossed her handbag to an awaiting accomplice at the train car door, and were both last seen running along the train track lines. The police were of little use since their english was very poor and they seemed understaffed. These thieves worked in pairs, and dressed casually but not poorly, and their plan was obviously well thought out. We weren't chosen because there were four of us - and my brother and his girlfriend are RCMP officers so they were in great physical shape. So, my tip to you is always keep an eye on your luggage on and off the train at the train station.
Prague is sadly famous to be the home of pickpockets but it remaing a sure town. It is a phenomenon that is not only of Prague but of all the tourist cities of the world. When you are in crowded and tourist places like the Charles Bridge or the Square of the Old Town to do particularly attention.
Ok, Prague does have a large contingent of profesional pickpockets and gangs of thieves operating within the main tourist areas and the public transport system, just like most capital cities in Europe. I have seen them targetting obvious tourists, mainly because they look gullible and vulnerable. You can lessen the chance of being targetted by not walking around with a rucksack on your back, if you are visiting just for a day, leave it in the railway left-luggage office. So too, shoulder bags, even if you normally wear it round your neck and across your shoulder, leave it in your hotel. One of the main tricks of the thieves is to carry a scalpel and simply slice open the bottom of the bag, you will not feel it happening, and let the contents of your bag fall into a bag they are carrying. They will also use this trick on back-pockets of trousers etc. Basically, try not to carry money anywhere apart from tight front-pockets, preferably jeans. Never have your wallet/purse in you jacket and put your jacket down, even for a minute; once a gang has identified you as a definite target they will follow you for some time just waiting for the right moment. Having good street-cred and awareness is your best defense, display this and they will stay clear of you. Don't make it easy for them.
Everyone (especially on this website) goes on about the pickpockets, thereby giving every visitor to Prague a serious complex about the problem before they get there.
Let me put the record straight....
YOU'D HAVE TO BE A PROPER NUMB NUT TO GET PICKPOCKETED HERE !!
Yes, there are Gypo's, but you can spot them a mile off.
...if you walk around with your passport and wallet hanging out of your back pocket you deserve to lose it.
The only Gypos we saw were in Wencelas Square after dark - gangs of ugly, brown toothed women sat in shop doorways offering sex.
If you decide to proposition them, then God help you anyway.
(Same goes for the money exchanges... why would anyone in their right mind go to a neon kiosk next to a lap dancin' bar to get their money changed?)
If you don't understand the above statements, please see your doctor before flying to Prague
Prague is known for having lots of pickpockets. It's best to really watch yourself, because skilled pickpockets can do their thing without you noticing at all. If you must carry a purse, make sure it's small and make sure you're holding it against yourself. One is most vulnerable to this on Charles Bridge, so really take caution there. It's a very crowded 'attraction,' even in the off-season.
At the end of an otherwise superb weekend in Prague, I became yet another statistic. Heeding all of the warnings, avoiding crowded areas, splitting money between us etc, four of us were targetted by a gang on the metro and there was no way that we were all going to get away with it. In the end, confronted by at least three men built like prop forwards and two juveniles, they had my wallet. The common trick of jamming the door, creating false crowd and then ten hands against my two. Since coming home, everyone that I have spoken to who has been to Prague, and that's at least a dozen, have all been robbed. These are not light-fingered "Artful Dodger" types, these are gangs of thugs: in the metro, on the tram, even in parks and cemetries. As for the Police, they are just not interested although they are very efficient at making out the reports. Read other travellers' comments and you will see that they just watch and will not intervene even when it is clear that people are being robbed. The only way to free this beautiful city of the scourge is to boycott it and then the authorities will have to do something.
First of all I would like to say that Prague is SAFE place. Only thing is that a lot of people are trying to make money by cheating.
Taxi drivers - Never take TAXI standing at main turistic places! Trainstations, Old Town Sq...they are waiting for you to charge you more. Ask for price first. Use some companies like AAA tel: 14014, City taxi tel: 257257257
Approx prices...from Airport...cca 600czk to city centre
from Main Train St (Hlavni Nadrazi)...cca 200czk...its really close to city center
from Holesovice train station...cca 350czk to city centre
All mentioned prices are approx all depends on traffic and where you go in the center but differences from mentioned prices would be 10th of Crowns, NOT hundreds!
Money exchange - never change money in the street, youll get fake or different country money with no value! Use banks or exchange offices and ask for final value you get! Again avoid offices at the trainstations, airport...
Pickpockets - Just watch your pockets, mainly in crowdy places, trams, metro...do not hang your cameras, jackets over chair in outside restaurants.
Otherwise its peaceful and safe city!!!!!!!!
Please all be careful when taking photos in prague or when on tours... I did a tour (a walking tour) from the castle & over bridge etc & a lady that was in my group had a backpack on her back & when her husband turned around for 2 mins - someone unzipped the pack & took her wallet out and was gone.. please be careful!!!
Also.. be careful at night... heaps of people on the bridge at night and therefore - keep an eye out!!!
I read some warning about pickpockets in Prague before, so I think I was quite aware on it. But one day before we left, my friend's wallet was stolen on the metro when we want to go back to our hotel. It's around 6 pm and the metro was crowded (we got in at Museum metro station). All the seats were occupied, so that we have to stood up in front of the door together with a group of man (around 20-35 years old). I felt a bit bad feeling from the start, I warned my friends to watch out the backpack. But it was too late, they really worked so fast, and just trapped us in their group, one of my friend and me could get out of them but the other friend was not. It's happened several seconds before the metro stop for the next station, the group was gone out together from the metro with such a reckless movement and pushed my friend around. When she realized that she could not find her wallet the metro was starting to move already :-(
Yeah, so we join the line for international resrvations, theres maybe 5 people ahead of us. Anyway, this guy kind of mozies over, and I notice that he's get this sweater thrown over his sleeve. I think, that's weird, its like 90 degrees in here. And then I get this flashback to a show about pickpockets on the Travel Network. That's one of the oldest pickpocketing tricks--it makes it look natural that their arm isn't hanging like a normal persons, and disguises their movements.
So basically, hes going after this guys back pack, but we all moved forward and glared at him till he backed off. He then chats with his buddy to the side of the line )this was so weird--the whole place is empty, yet they want to chat right beside this line? weird.). Eventually I get to chatting with my friends until I notice he's hovering around the back of my pack. NOTE TO PICKPOCKETS: THE ONLY THING PEOPLE PUT IN THE OUTER POCKETS OF THEIR BACKPACKS ARE DIRTY SOCKS AND UNDERWEAR!!! LEAVE THEM ALONE!!! I wheeled around and we all basically and his buddy made him leave.
Well fine and dandy, we do our business and make our way to the subway area--guy comes after us agin while we are buying subway tickets. When I caught him with his hand on my bag I kind of lost it. I probably shouldn't have said anything--who knows, he could have stabbed me or something. But the idea of a stranger and my underwear, dirty or not, sent me off the edge. I would have made a New Yorker proud with the fierceness of my "Get the f*** away from me!" Whatever. It worked. No underwear on the station floor.