Pick Pockets, Paris

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  • rexvaughan's Profile Photo

    Getting jostled

    by rexvaughan Written Jun 8, 2004

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    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.

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  • worldglobetrotter's Profile Photo

    Don't Pick my Pocket!

    by worldglobetrotter Updated Aug 21, 2006

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    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.

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  • shrimp56's Profile Photo

    Pickpockets DO exist.

    by shrimp56 Updated Dec 21, 2004

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    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".

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Pickpockets inside Le Louvre museum!

    by breughel Updated Apr 16, 2013

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    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.

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  • CALSF's Profile Photo

    Don't Look Like A Tourist Pt. 2

    by CALSF Updated Feb 28, 2005

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    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.

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  • CALSF's Profile Photo

    Don't look like a tourist

    by CALSF Written Jul 4, 2004

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    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.

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  • dixonchan's Profile Photo

    Pickpockets on Trains

    by dixonchan Updated Apr 1, 2007

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    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.

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  • garridogal's Profile Photo

    Watch yourself in this city

    by garridogal Written Jun 22, 2009

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    The Marais

    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".

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  • Pickpockets at Gare du Nord / Gard De L'Est

    by Stevie_Y Written Oct 15, 2004

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    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)


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    by TravelerM Written Nov 20, 2004

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    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!

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  • Arial_27's Profile Photo

    Pick pockets

    by Arial_27 Updated Jul 2, 2004

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    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.

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  • iam1wthee's Profile Photo

    Beware of the band of gypsies

    by iam1wthee Written Jan 14, 2004

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    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.

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  • Roadquill's Profile Photo

    Pick Pocket attempt at Moulin Rouge

    by Roadquill Updated Apr 17, 2008

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    Don't forget that thieves abound

    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.

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  • breughel's Profile Photo

    A minister start fight against pickpockets.

    by breughel Updated Sep 30, 2013

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    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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  • delphetguy's Profile Photo

    Be careful!

    by delphetguy Updated Jan 27, 2005

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    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.)

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Comments (5)

  • Sep 14, 2013 at 4:51 PM


    • goodfish's Profile Photo
      Sep 14, 2013 at 5:16 PM

      Again, very sorry this happened to you but please read the previous posts about safety when traveling. The signs do not have to be in your native tongue: every single guidebook for almost every single country published in every single language warns against carrying your cash/cards in a wallet in a pocket or purse. Your valuables should be stowed safely under your clothing where even if rudely accosted, no hands but your own can easily get to them. The police simply cannot be everywhere so YOU must take the precautions needed not to become easy prey.

      Next time? Wear a moneybelt or a Pacsafe bag, and do not ever trust an outer pocket or a purse.

  • Aug 1, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    I wish I have red this forum before I left for Paris for vacation - first time to Europe.

    it has been a dream for many years for me to go to Paris for vacation, however, my first ever trip to Paris turned to be unpleasant for the first a few days when my wallet was stolen in 30 minutes after I entered the Palace of Versailles and 30 hours of arriving Paris, likely by a group of young women(4 of them or more) who asked me to take photo for them. I would never imagine they were the ones who pickpocketed my wallet until the security and police told me they were most likely. It almost ruined our 2-week vacation completely as we have to change our travel plan and spent a few days dealing with Embassy/visa center for temp travel document, luckily we enjoyed the rest days outside Paris in Tours and Normandy area afterwards, but will never go back again until their government do something to protect the tourists.

    while I blame my own negligence, I also blame the French/Paris goverment and the authority of the Palace of Versailles not doing their due diligence to stop such bold crime targeting vulnerable tourists.

    not sure how long it will take for the world to name Paris the "city of pickpocketing" if no serious and effective measures are taken to deal with that crime.

  • Jul 21, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    About 30 people witnessed what happened to me today and not one of them made a single effort. So much for the Parisians hate it too... don't believe a word of it.

    • goodfish's Profile Photo
      Jul 21, 2013 at 3:20 PM

      To clarify, you said "30 people" and not "30 Parisians". Your witnesses could have been from anywhere at all and/or too intimidated to get involved. They also may have not been completely aware of what was happening until it was too late. I'm very sorry about your unfortunate incident but blaming bystanders for not stepping in and assuming they were all locals may be taking it a bit too far.

  • May 18, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Hi everyone,

    I just want to say that I am proud French myself and believe me, I am more than willing to throw away my pride as I am reading all the bad things that happened to you in Paris.
    I am fed up about these pickpockets as well, and I wish the authorities would do something about it. As all "real" French people, I want nothing more to see these foreigners getting kicked out of the country once and for all, minors or not I don't care.
    I am just devastated and want you all to know that no one in the country endorse this treatment (or lack of) you get.
    These thieves are absolutly hated by everyone and we want them gone, I just wish this feeling could be translate to competent authorities as well.

    Stay safe, do not carry anything precious with you and if you can, try not to wear the "tourist right here" cap on.

    • Aug 1, 2013 at 9:48 PM

      thanks, you may also appeal your government and politicians to take concrete measure to stop that crime by all means.

      by the way, when you travel to a great city and want to bring back the great scene and memory, how can it possible to pretent not be a tourist? why not focus on letting tourists being tourists and the thieves being in jails? the big problem is that all level of French governments/authorities don't do anything to stop such crime and make one wondering if they are conspiracy with those pickpocketers to suck easy money from foreign tourists(sorry for my extreme words, however, all the local french people we met were so nice though).

  • Apr 2, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    My wife got robbed in Paris at subway/ metro line 9 as soon we got on Frank Roosvelt station, there were two ladies in their twenties. One talk to my wife for direction while the other one was pickpocket my wife wallet. She had 1,900 euros in her wallet and two credit card.. We had our children with us and we were busy seating them up or making sure they do not fall as soon the train move. Thieves got off one station after then my wife noticed her bag zipper was opened and her wallet gone. Got off the the next station and screamed for help but no one helped .. Went to the station information and shocked with their reaction as they were laughing and told us to go outside to police help!!!
    We went running for anyone to help but never found any police nearby! They told us to go to the police station and we went. We saw the place is crowded with similar incident just like us and some worse. We spent our day there. They made us wait for 4 hours to talk to the policeman! She was not even interested to her our story and gave us the document papers and nothing happen. This was the ugliest experience that we had ever in our travelling. Kids were frighten from Paris and wanted to go home Now. Can not blame my kids, Paris need to do better job to protect and keep people feel safe.

    • gwened's Profile Photo
      Aug 2, 2013 at 12:55 AM

      we are not condoning or blaming anybody, we are savvy travelers of many years and many countries, and those things has never happenned to me because I take care of myself. Today there is stories at Montmartre of bracelets and twinkets sellers putting then on you before the people realise it and then asking you to pay it lol!!! Of course, i have seen it, but just say a firm no and keep walking. It s the naive visitors who just stands there and look easy prey that pays. The police as in any country cannot stop everything. They just do what they can with what they have as in any country.

    • goodfish's Profile Photo
      Aug 2, 2013 at 2:38 AM

      As gwened said, we are not condoning or blaming anybody. We're just emphasizing the fact that pickpockets are not specific to Paris, and that it's nearly impossible for authorities to "do" anything for their victims unless they are right there to witness the crime when it happens. Most tourists don't even realize they've been robbed until after the fact and so can't even provide a description. Keeping your valuables in place where they can't easily accessed by light fingers (NEVER in a purse or an exterior pocket) is your very best form of defense as the police simply can't be everywhere, and couldn't see every theft as it happens even if they could.

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