There are pickpockets in Warsaw as in all bigger cities, unfortunately.
You should be careful going by buses. There are special few "pickpockets" bus lines like 175 (the line from Okecie Airport to the centre of town) or 116 and the lines going along most touristic streets like Krakowskie Przedmiescie Street.
Be careful and keep your money in a bag before you not on your back.
I remember an action of pickpockets gang in Warsaw city bus in late 1980'. I realized it when suddenly some 10 passengers get off the bus and disappeared and a moment later a woman started to cry that someone stole her purse... As for pickpockets Warsaw changed for better in recent years and police is well seen in Warsaw streets (yhey mainly write tickets for parking) but it's still similar to many other European large cities. How do they do it in many cities in the USA not to have such problems?
I was told that the war between police and pickpocket gangs in Warsaw is close to the end with a victory of police but I can't believe. The pickpockets in case of being caught are interrogated at a police station and after releasing they... smile and immediatelly come back to their job. They wait long months or years for a judge sentence and being supported by their well paid defenders they use tenths tricks to avoid or delay the punishment (a fine usually). The new law has been already passed and will be introduced soon... pickpockets caught red-handed will be temporarily arrested and sentenced during next 72 hours :-). So... maybe...
WARNING! The gangs are smart! Be very careful. If you look attractive for them single pickpocket may observe you long time (where you carry money/cards etc.). He or she may wait for a good moment to call friends and make "a false crowd" in narrow passages, buses, trams, railway/bus stations, crowded stores etc. to easier steel your valuables. It's said that they love to operate in bus 175 from the airport, at railway/bus stations and buses/trams going along the Royal Way and Jerozolimskie ave. across the Vistula River to the Stadion. What to do? Follow the link below and follow the advices contained there. Haha, did you know that it's better to keep your wallet in the right inside pocket of your jacket Read also Warsaw, Poland: 2005 Crime and Safety Report, please.
As pickpockets seem to be a problem in most of the tourist places around the globe, Warsaw is not different.
Take care of your wallet when you are entering or on any of the public transportation (buses, trams) downtown or on Royal Trail (Trakt Krolewski consisting of Krakowskie Przedmiescie, Nowy Swiat and Ujazdowskie Avenue) between the Old Town and Rozbrat Square near Lazienki Garden.
Be aware that some crowds on the bus may be artificial, especially when you are surrounded by big guys with mustache and plastic bags in their hands (some charateristics often asociated with thieves).
Beware of your wallet and enjoy your journeys on Warsaw's really conveniant public transportation network.
Lets face it, evryone knows the station is supposedly crawling with pickpockets, and this may be true. But with a little bit of common sense they are not a problem. I spent most of my first day wandering around the station, looking like a real tourist (backpack, etc), but had no hassles, as i just kept my hands inmy pockets the whole day.... Reasonably simple solution, i think...
Credit must be given to the Polish Police force, who are very visible in the Station on most days too, and do random checks on people in the station. I know, they stopped me the next day.
A point that would probably fall on deaf ears if reported to authority's. My wife, her sister and myself took the 175 bus from Warsaw airport with the intention of spending a few hours taking in the city views. We hope on the bus at the airport and we were looking at the ticket machine on the bus thinking how we could pay. A genuine mistake on our behalf but we were approached by three TUGS demanding tickets. We said "three from Warsaw airport please". They said ''No ticket you pay 86 slotki each''. I was thinking that this is a bit suspect but they were actually bus conductors and were not very nice at all. They seemed like right bullies. We had only passed three short stops so I said "we didn't see where to pay but now that they had pointed out the small red writing "you must get your ticket immediately" I said OK we'll go and get them now. They demanded we get off the bus that minute (AND ESCORTED US) to the bank where they made us take out money and pay. I felt like we were been treated like total criminals. I've traveled around allot on trains and buses and it's normally very clear were you pay (also a list of penalties for not paying) and if not you just pay the conductor on the bus. I've never been treated as bad in my life.
To conclude this message I advise anyone who takes a bus in Warsaw be sure to know where to buy your tickets as you won't have time when the conductor pounces
Yes, i agree. Bus number 175 is the best way to the center, but it is probably the most dangerous bus route in warsaw(for the safety of your luggage); take care of the pickpockets especially during top hours, when the buses are overcrowded. I was lucky to quickly understand what was happening, but many people were not. Take especially care if you see three men on their 45/50 (two of them with moustaches) nervously walking up&down along the bus.Shout out "Ratunku. mi pomoc" ("Pickpockers, pls help me"in polish) and advise bus driver and police asap.
Be careful of thieves, especially on the most popular tourist places, like Old Town or Royal Trakt (Nowy Swiat, Krakowskie Przedmiescie street). Also in the public transportation (the bus nr 175 from airport!!)
But generaly, in every crowded place it's better to keep your money and documents in safe place and to be watchful.
Be careful with your possessions around the main rail stations and on overnight trains. There has been an increase in thefts particularly around these areas. You will notice suspicious looking characters hanging around areas such as these. I have been fortunate to date though I know of someone whose wallet disappeared.
All this said, I wouldn't say that it is any different to being in many main rail stations (eg. in London, in Rome, in Venice, in Paris)
I did experience one nasty situation when I was subjected to a gang of pickpockets. We were on a bus going from the Forum Hotel (Aleje Jerozolimskie) to the Old Town and 4 men (yes MEN, not lads) all about 30 got on and did the usual encircle operation cornering and trapping me while pushing and one tried to open by back bag. I never carry anything valuable in my back bag but I got annoyed and started making a lot of noise. They must have decided to leave it at that, as they got off the bus at the next stop, but seemed a bit annoyed, I presume because they failed in their efforts. What really amazed me was they were men. They looked like 4 men coming home after a day’s hard work. We have heard of this practice but they perpetrators are usually described as young or youngish.
I experienced this operation before in another city so I knew exactly what was going on as soon as it started.
Watch out for this practice.