Street crime, Lisbon
Photo: What did I expect?
I slippied my camera into my coat pocket rather than returning it to my handbag as we ran (hobbed in my case - I'd recently had knee surgery) to catch a tram to Belem on our first day in Lisbon. BIG MISTAKE!!!
The tram wasn't too crowded and I got a seat butby the time we got to Belem there was a group of youths crowding the exit. Being more concerned about getting off safely without hurting my knee, I didn't even think about the contents of my pocket - but someone on the tram obviously did because, just minutes later, I realized my camera was gone. Not a good way to start a holiday, though I suppose at least it was only the replacaeable camera I lost - at that point I hadn't actually taken any photos.
The Portuguese police were a model of courtesy and efficiency when I reported the loss, my insurance company covered the full cost of the lost camera and the spare memory cards and battery that were with it. My main regret is probably that the photos we have of Lisbon capture the city almost exclusively through MrL's eye -
"Take that," I asked him, pointing to the lovely wine-red and white facade of the Teatro da Trinidad.
What did I get? The Anglo-Portuguese Telephone Company building next door!!
(Anyone who knows MrL and his addiction to the telephone would not be the least surprised by this - I just didn't notice at the time!)
I thought I was a savvy traveller, I know pickpockets are an ever present threat in touristy places, I'm usually very careful - but I still got caught. I guess the lesson is - be very, very careful , it can happen to anyone - and travel insurance is definitely a worthwhile expense.
Avoid the Baixa at night (most of the buildings are office buldings and therefore are deserted at night), as well as poorly-lit streets. Also make sure you have your wallet in a safe place when you travel by bus, metro or train.
The Eduardo VII park, just up from Marques de Pombal, as well as Praca da Alegria are prostitution-prone areas, so avoid them if traveling alone. Also the Intendente and Anjos zones are notorious as a 'drug zone'.
If you are going to ride the #28 tram or the funicular, beware of pick-pockets. I had the unfortunate experience that we were almost became the victim and had to witness a commotion after a pick-pocket incident.
Here’s how it works with the tram, usually these people worked as a team of three to four people and they will scout out their potential victim at the tram stop. One will get on the tram right in front of you and he will stop in front of the ticketing machine on board and try to find his ticket or loose change. You will have no choice but to stop behind him. The other team members will be pushing and shoving behind you and pick your back pocket or your purse. Once your pocket is picked, one guy will get off the tram and the other guy will be blocking you from go after the thief. If you had the opportunity to get off the tram before it takes off, a fourth person will point to the wrong direction for you to go after the thief.
I am not saying one should go after these guys. Just beware of your surrounding at all time especially in crowed area and locals with a jacket around their arms on a hot day. If you feel that you are being pushed, just push back. Do not put your wallet in your jean back pocket. Also, if you are an elderly lady, watch out for people walk straight toward you and pretend to ask you a question. Once they grab your purse, they can out run you up the steep stairs at no time.
Again, just beware of your surrounding at all time and enjoy the other good things this city has to offer.
Alfredo Freitas & Pacheco, Lda Parque Nacoes - FIL - Rua Bojador 1900-047 Lisboa
Do not think that you are safe in nice restaurants in Lisbon, Portugal. My purse was stolen from UNDER the table, directly in front of my feet, and touching the feet of the friend seated opposite me. It was between us, UNDER the table. I was with four gentlemen, good friends. Not one of them saw the crime, it was professional. Not one of us could believe that it happened so quickly. It happened within only a few brief minutes of my being seated in this restaurant. When I announced this to my friends, the waiter immediately expressed his doubts that I had even brought my purse into the restaurant. (?!?) He did not express any concern whatsoever. His response seemed totally canned and rehearsed to me. Having something stolen while out in the streets is something we all expect, but don't let your guard down for one minute while in nice hotels and restaurants. Often, groups of people work together to rip-off their customers. Maybe the staff do not themselves steal things, but they seem to at the least be so complacent about it, that it leads one to believe that it happens all of the time. There are 'complaint books' in Lisbon restaurants, that one is supposed to use to report problems. Do not bother. Go to the police instead and report exactly what happened and get a copy of the complaint for yourself. I would not recommend a trip to Lisbon to anyone, unless they intended to keep all valuables strapped to their bodies under their clothing 24/7.
A worker in my hotel told me that he would not travel to the center of Lisbon himself, during the height of the tourist season. There are gangs in Lisbon which exist for no other reason than to thieve from as many tourists as possible. There are professional, organized, criminals. Please beware. Please register at your Embassy upon your arrival in Lisbon.
Afterall i feel Lisbon as a safe city, but not everywere and not for everyone.
Lisbon as most of the capitals is getting more dangerous.
I wouldnt recomend anyone to walk in late hours in streets like Martin Moniz, Intendente, Casal ventoso, or Cais do Sodre hiding bars.
Those arent the only dangerous places, just perhaps the more known for prostitucion and drug trafic, so my advice is to avoid walking alone or in small groups at night, wherever you want to go becouse tourists attract robbers.
Isolated central areas are dangerous in Lisbon at night, stay in public areas where lots of ppl are.
During the day you are free to go everywhere.
I was on tram 26 for only 100 metres and got my wallet stolen. One person tapped my leg on the left as another stolen my wallet from my right pocket.
On the upside, the 'tourist police' unit were very helpful and friendly. They spoke many languages as well.
Be careful..after 20h, shops are closed Downtown...strange people are around this time...to sell drug and to other stuff. Dont use Photo Machine there, wallets with just some €....Open your eyes and walk always in a group!
In spite of that...enjoy the great Capital!
We rode the funicular and had the opportunity to sit next to the entry gate. When the funicular started to move about 500 feet up hill into a three block journey, two 10-12 years old kids climbed on the side of the car where the gates or the windows are. It seemed like these kids are looking for a free ride up the hill. In fact these kids are really looking for a “FREE RIDE”. The first thing they did was stuck their head inside through either the gate or the window and look over your lap. If you purse is on your lap and unattended. You can pretty much say good bye to your purse because the funicular does not stop until it reach the top of the hill.
Compared to other capitals I must say that Lisboa is a secure place where you can walk at night without problems. There is crime, of course, but mostly it is reported to pickpockets or car thiefs. Drug adicts are asking for money when you park your car in some zones, they're a potential danger. You should avoid some parts of Bairro Alto (few years ago important racial confrontation took part there between Black groups and Neo Nazi's.) All old parts of the city like Alfama late night should be avoided, unless you're with someone who knows the way.
Avoid to walk alone in the doclands area, at night. Avoid Jardim de Santos - I was robbed there 8 years ago - Jardim da Parada (Campo de Ourique). Campo Grande - don't go there, stay on the streets but don't cross the gardens. If you have to cross it use a street where's traffic.
Never go to this places: Chelas, Curraleira, Camarate, Casal Ventoso, Bairro da Liberdade. They are potentially dangerous, because there are heavy drugs comerce there
It's not really a danger, but it's definitely one of the areas in central Lisbon where you should be a bit more careful - the Avenida Almirante Reis it's a long avenue that starts on Alameda and goes down to Martim Moniz(near Rossio), through the way it passes by some of the most difficult areas in central Lisbon: Anjos e Intendente. These 2 neighborhoods in particular have some problems with drug addicts and prostitution.
During the day there are always loads of people in the street, but it should be avoided to walk around by night, or at least be very aware of what's going on.
It's not that loads of things happen there, it's just that for a tourist it wouldn't be nice to fall into that place by mistake.
There are places in Lisbon very well known for their nightlife like docas or bairro alto. Be very careful when exiting these areas as there is nobody around, only people trying to steal your money. Sometimes it's better just to take a taxi.
Be careful - tram 28 through Alfama is full of pickpockets!
I watched three of them cooperating: number one snatching the wallet of a passenger, number 2 watching his colleague and signalling the fast success to number 3, who drove a car immediately behind the tram. The whole action lasted for less than one minute, number 1 and 2 jumped out of the tram and boarded the car, that drove away.This happened before I could warn the theft-victim (who went to the police and got back his wallet, without money but with his drivers license and creditcards, as I could give a description of the car and part of its license-plate.)
So beware !!
PSP - TOURIS-POLICE
Palácio Foz - Praça dos Restauradores
Crime is generally low in Portugal, but petty theives are everywhere. I watched it happen in Porto (the theif was apprehended) and I saw a theif looking for a target in Belem. The worst places are any crowded tourist destination and public transportation. The crowds make it easy to escape detection. Don't take all of your money with you everywhere, use a hotel safe and make sure you have backup copies of your passport, birth certificate, etc in case you become a victim. Using common sense is the best defence.
I stayed in a very good area, Pombal Square, but someone broke into my rental car looking to steal something. A car that was parked next to mine was also broken in; the thieves even smashed a window. So be aware of this problem, and don't leave anything inside of value!
We had a dinner on the Rua das Portas da St. Antao. I had a bag fixed between my legs. My wife took the bag en forgot it for one minute. The waiter saw people around us en said...sacko...donde e sacko ...where is your bag ! It was gone, but the waiter pointed out the direction where the thieves went. We, me and two waiters ran through the street along full terraces such as the of el Rei dos Frangos. After 200 meters the waiter said `these must be the thieves`. It were two, but no bag. I presumed there was a third one.
I threatened the two touched them and said..... donde e sacko ...Policia....! They were afraid. I had 50 specators, two waiters and was 15 cm taller. They said...there... and pointed out the third one in crime. He had our bag. I ran to him en took it. The three thieves ran away. I gave the waiters a tip and heared that these things occur often. Mostly it are East Europeans, from Moldavia, Albania or Rumenia. In general Lisboa is safe and i never felt or feel unsafe or threatened.