Know about this?
Pickpockets are very creative. We boarded the metro and a normal looking man next to me dropped his glasses. He bent down to pick them up and was nudging my leg as if I were standing on them. He retrieved them, got off at the next stop and my wallet was gone. I even had it in my front pocket. Be wary of any disturbance or nudging in a crowd. As a precaution I always carry anything I can't do without such as my passport, airline ticket, extra credit and ATM cards and cash in my money belt. I don't think violent crime or armed robberies are much of a risk in Paris, but pickpockets are so be very cautious.
Don't Pick my Pocket!
Metro and RER lines that serve popular sights are infested with thieves. Wear a moneybelt or neck pouch. Keep all important items in your moneybelt/neck pouch: passport, credit/debit/ATM cards, money, airline tickets. Keep a tight grip on your bags.
Operate with a day's worth of spending money in your billfold or wallet...the rest is kept in your moneybelt/neck pouch. If someone picks your pocket, your trip can still go on. If you need more money, step into the restroom and make a "withdrawal" from your secret stash.
- Budget Travel
Pickpockets DO exist.
I nearly got "hit" on the infamous metro line 1.
A group of young girls pushed on with me. I didn't pay much attention as I have my major valuables under my clothes and I hold my purse close to me -- but these little hands managed to get the top zipper half open before I sensed something and pulled away. They wouldn't have gotten much at all, but it was a jolt to have been "hit".
Don't Look Like A Tourist Pt. 2
You see this all the time and even we may be guilty of doing it too. I am referring to being so engrossed in finding our way that we pull out our maps anywhere we can stop. Sure this is highly convenient, but it makes you a target for pickpockets and/or scammers. Suddenly you may be approached by someone trying to 'help' you to find your way. Of course, the person may be a genuine 'good Samaritan' but usually it's someone who is targeting you as a potential victim.
If you must scan your map do it in private: in a cafe, in a store, etc. Just don't do it in full view out on a sidewalk of in the metro station. BTW, the pickpockets love the metro station and many of them hang out in the station and in the trains just looking to see who is vulnerable.
Pickpockets inside Le Louvre museum!
This could be read to-day in the French newspaper "Le Figaro":
"Le musée n'a pas pu ouvrir ce mercredi. Les agents de la surveillance ont exercé leur droit de retrait pour manifester leur exaspération devant les bandes qui s'attaquent à eux autant qu'aux touristes. Les visites reprendront jeudi matin.
Agés de moins de 26 ans, ceux-ci s'introduisent dans les murs en profitant de la gratuité. Ils dévalisent sans faire les visiteurs (dix millions cette année) et molestent ou agressent les agents de surveillance."
The museum was unable to open Wednesday (10/04/2013)
Surveillance officers have exercised their right of withdrawal to express their frustration with bands of youngsters who attack them as much as tourists.
Aged less than 26 years, they enter the museum taking advantage of the free entry. They rob visitors (ten million this year) and molest or assault surveillance officers.
Visits resume Thursday morning (11/04/2013). Policemen in uniform are now present.
The paradox with this free entry for youngsters is that organized gangs of minors are robbing visitors, often seniors unable to defend themselves; seniors who have to pay the full ticket price!
When the police catch these youngsters they are immediately released by justice because they are minors. A few days later these pickpockets are again at work not only at Le Louvre or Orsay but even more at the Trocadero, at the Tour Eiffel and in the Metro.
Some French politicians are well aware that this criminality is a treat for tourism but zero tolerance is not a priority presently in France.
- Museum Visits
Don't look like a tourist
Sounds silly not to look like a tourist. But if you call attention to yourself you'll more likely be a pickpocket's target.
Pickpockets are mostly where crowds of tourists congregate. And mostly they hang out in the subways. They've been known to divert one's attention while going through the metro's turnstiles and then grab your wallet or bag. Another way they work is to work as a couple inside the metro trains: usually a guy and girl work together, the girl diverts the target's attention, the guy is behind the target picking the pocket or bag.
They are excellent in plying their trade and therefore one needs to take as much precaution as possible: don't announce you're a tourist by displaying guidebooks and maps in the open, wear a moneybelt and use it for your passport, credit cards, and cash, don't use a waist pack (aka fannypack), if you carry a backpack hold it in front of you in the train and secure the zipper with a safety pin and don't put anything of value in it.
Pickpockets on Trains
OK. This is nothing new. But I just wanna share my experience with a pickpocket.
I was sitting comfortably on the metro on a seat that can be folded up. In came a tall muscular guy who walked slowly to the empty seat next to me.
I guessed he noticed I had my mobile phone inside my left pocket. So when the train moved, he "accidentally" fell onto the empty seat and brushed his hands through my left pocket. It was a discreet yet cunning way to fish out my mobile.
Fortunately, I was alert enough to prevent the phone from getting fished out. And gave him a disgusted stare.
He apologized for falling awkwardly beside me (and not for trying to steal my phone!).
I remained vigilant throughout the rest of the train journey.
Watch yourself in this city
I had two close-calls in Paris. The first happened when my friend was intently looking at her map in the Ste. Germaine area. She was taking too long and frankly, I was feeling uncomfortable. I noticed a woman lurking too close to her and checking her out so I just told her that we were looking like targets and to walk now. She had noticed the woman too and we both walked away from her.
The next day I was in the Marais and trying to figure out where I was. I pulled out my Paris guide and was looking in it when a French woman approached me and asked if she could look at my guide. I handed it to her but had a strange feeling about this. She seemed to be trying to figure out where she was when I realized that a man was standing right next to me. I had a shoulder bag with various zippered sections and kept my wallet in the one closest to me. As soon as I realized that the man was next to me (and perhaps I grabbed my bag), she handed the guidebook back to me, mumbled something and they both took off.
I noticed that the front portion of my bag - the one where my book and scarf were - was open. I can't honestly say that he opened it or if I'd left it open because that's where I was also keeping the guide, but the whole thing seemed strange and I immediately checked to see that my wallet was still with me. It was but I was pretty freaked out by the whole thing.
There are also a lot of gypsies wandering around the touristy sites asking if you speak English. Say "no".
Pickpockets at Gare du Nord / Gard De L'Est
I was in Paris in July and witnessed a family of 7 experience a pickpocket first hand.
They were walking from the Gard du Nord RER presumably to their hotel with maps in hand when an elderly gentleman at the back of the group was violently bumped by a young man. As he regained composure a second "samaritan" "helped him" by steadying him and in the process rifled his pockets and stole his wallet. All this took a couple of seconds.
If you are walking away from the station with cases and a map you are obviously starting your holiday and therefore are likely to have more money with you. The area around these two northern stations is not the nicest area of Paris (especially after dark).
As mentioned here before, be vigilant, don't scream "tourist" to the whole world and only take out of the hotel what you need for the day. Leave everything else in the hotel safe (especially your passport)
Watch out for your belongings at the crowded metro stops. Two kids about 8-10 y.o.were pushing me on a crowded train, and by the time (just seconds away!!) I realized my bag was opened. They soon got off at the next stop. Fortunately, a water botter blocked my wallet in it, so they couldn't reach down. So watch out for not only suspecious adults but also the kids!! They are swift!
Another caution under the Eiffel Tower is that there are so many people, and it is normally very crowded. There are a lot of experienced 'pick-pockets' there so hold on tight to your bag and makle sure it's zipped up. I know a friend who had her camera taken away and she never saw it again.
If you feel somone pushing against you, be extra careful and make sure no one's taken anything. You'v probably known for it to happen when someone is shoving up against you in a crowd - they've really just taken your wallet.
Beware of the band of gypsies
Near Champs Elysee I was almost mugged by these gypsies. If you see them do not speak just step lively and with a lot of confidence. Do not let them put their arms around you like friends do. If they attempt push them off. Do not go their with a big bag, this will excite them and any other pickpocket. Put all money underneath your coat.
- Women's Travel
Pick Pocket attempt at Moulin Rouge
No sooner had I gotten out of the taxi when a young (about 14 year old) tried to pick the wallet from my elderly friend. The kid tried to flip it back to his co-hort, but I was able to get back fast enough to block him out and step on the wallet.
The Moulin Rouge really needs to have someone out front to keep away these pests.
I have a picture of the lighted windmill so that is what you get.
- Road Trip
In station (subway), when you take the bus..., and when you take floor to go away the station... In the funicular in Montmartre...
There lot's of pickpocketes, who wait for tourist. Let your camera in bag, keep your bag in front of you. Dangerous areas are: Champs Elysées, Montmartre, Pigalle, Eiffel tower and all tourist areas. (Often in station is young people who bring jacket on their arm.)
A minister start fight against pickpockets.
The insecurity for the tourists, mainly by pickpockets, received the attention of the French (left) government and its Minister de l'Intérieur Mr Valls. He deployed 200 policemen only for the monitoring of the main tourist areas of Paris: Notre-Dame, Champs-Élysées, Trocadéro, Champ-de-Mars, Louvre-Rivoli, Palais Royal and butte Montmartre.
The Louvre is now safer. A little more than one criminal act per day instead of five.
But pickpockets have turned to other parts of the capital such as the Jardin des Tuileries, Place du Palais-Royal, Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Quais de Seine and the bridges (Solferino).
The pickpockets are mostly youngsters, often girls, supervised by adults and well organized. Now the paradox of France is that if Police is active, the Minister de la Justice is lax (for ideological reasons if I listen to the French!).
The Police complain that when arresting these minors they have to free them after 4 hours so that these juvenile delinquents start immediately again their activities.
First victims of this criminality are the Asiatic and especially Chinese tourists (who are supposed to have more cash on them) at such point that the Chinese ambassador complained to the Minister.
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