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If you’re a regular TikTok or Instagram user, you’ve probably come across viral videos of European locals enthusiastically shouting ‘Attention! Pickpockets!‘ by exposing petty criminals who were about to rob inattentive tourists in popular European destinations such as Venice and Paris.
While the people in the videos are typically spared the headache of having their wallets stolen, thanks to the reverberating alert, many more aren’t so lucky and find themselves robbed within the first few days of their dream European vacation.
Fortunately, awareness seems to be increasing among tourists, who are becoming increasingly cautious when walking through crowded areas, but the question remains: which countries are the worst for pickpockets in Europe?
The 5 Worst Countries for Pickpockets
@napolitantwitcher Attention pickpocket in Venice #pickpocket #attention pickpocket #Attention #venice #pickpockets ♬ original sound – Best Napoli Twitch
According to the insurance comparison website QuotezoneBased in the UK, ‘thousands of travellers’ have been the victims of petty theft when traveling across Europe, particularly its ‘main destinations’, as tourist hotspots are ‘convenient places’ for criminals looking for purses and bags.
As the viral TikToks show, pickpockets can look like anyone and they don’t necessarily adhere to outdated stereotypes of petty criminals who wear baggy, tattered clothing and sleep rough at train stations.
They can be of any race and ethnicity, including casually dressed Caucasian teenage girls who look like tourists, and spotting them before they strike can be challenging for those not yet familiar with how they operate. nor suspicious behavior.
However, before we give you a rundown of those red flags, here they are. The five worst countries in Europe for pickpockets, with the most occurrences ‘per million visitors’:
According to Quotezone European Pickpocket Indexparadise Greece is the fifth worst country for petty crime, with bigger cities like Athens and Thessaloniki leading the way in crime rates.
Tourists need to maintain a particularly high level of situational awareness at busy sites such as Athens’ Acropolis Hill, home to the Parthenon and other iconic Hellenic temples, as well as the capital’s Plaka tourist district, where thieves operate frequently.
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The Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, Santorini and Mykonos in particular, are not usually targeted, as they are more difficult and expensive to reach, and there are not many places to evade the police. Crime rates are very low compared to the mainland, but even so, you should never let your guard down traveling in Greece.
Although often perceived as an extremely safe destination among Americans, Germany ranks fourth on the index, with pickpockets disturbing the peace in Berlin and major state capitals such as Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Munich, Bavaria, and Hamburg.
Thefts usually take place in Train Stationsespecially when luggage is left unattended, even for a fraction of a second, and in crowded squares, though you are unlikely to be approached in a violent manner or realize your items were stolen until after the thief has left.
According to the US Department of State, Americans should use « greater caution » when traveling in the country, although general safety advice appliessuch as keeping an eye on your personal belongings and avoiding unnecessary displays of wealth.
The Netherlands is the third riskiest country for pickpockets, although it is only the ninth most visited country in Europe, which shows that crime levels are abnormally high, mainly in large agglomerations. These include Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Eindhoven, and others.
In Amsterdam, the most visited city in the province of Hollandpickpockets often target tourists on trams, buses, and ferries, as well as in crowded areas such as Central Station, the three main canals, which make up the Grachtengordel, and the Red Light District at night.
Tourists are recommended to avoid distractions and beware of thieves in crowded situations. Not carrying valuable items you don’t need with you at all times, such as your passport, not putting your wallet in your back pockets, and making sure your bag is closed will normally suffice.
France is the second worst country in Europe in terms of pickpockets. The data collected by the agency in question suggests that there is 283 pickpocketing events per million visitorsone of the highest rates not only in the continent but in the entire world.
Several attractions are pickpocket hotspots in Paris, such as the green space leading to the iconic Eiffel Tower, the public square in front of the Louvre Museum, and its adjacent tuileries Gardens, the Sacre-Coeur basilica, in the heart of the bohemian quarter of Montmartre, the busy Ile-de-la-Cite, where Notre Dame is located, and many more.
However, of all the French cities, the second largest Marseille in the country is a particularly dangerous, with higher rates of not only pickpockets but also reported assaults. The picturesque Côte d’Azur, home to Nice, Cannes, Antibes, St Tropez and the independent principality of Monaco, may also be affected.
Italy is maybe America’s Favorite European Getawaywith its delicious regional cuisines, pastel Ligurian villages, paradise Mediterranean islands and unrivaled cultural richness, but sadly it is the most dangerous for petty crime.
almost everything viral pickpockets Tik Tok were, in fact, filmed in Italy, most of them in historic Venice, although most Italian cities were affected, with up to 1,906 visitors reporting items stolen while visiting the Gallerie Degli Uffizi, in Florence, and several others by the Milan Cathedralin Milan, and the Colosseum in Rome, the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon.
Overall, the investigation concluded that there are 463 mentions of pickpockets for every million visitors, the highest performance of any European country. So how can you stay safe and avoid being scammed or robbed when traveling to these destinations?
How to Stay Safe Amid the Rise of Pickpockets
As the US Department of State advises, it is recommended to maintain situational awareness at all times when exploring tourist sites. This includes taking your belongings with you, rather than leaving them on tables or resting next to you on benches, avoiding placing wallets in back pocketsand other similar measures.
Although this is not official advice, living in Paris, I urge you to familiarize yourself with pickpocketing stereotypes.
They may be harder to spot, as criminals now do a better job of blending in, but you can still steer clear of them by noticing any group of people, especially young adults or teenagers, who are walking in groups, moving quietly through crowds, and who seem perhaps also observant.
They dress casually and look like any other local.so it can be more difficult to spot them, but more often than not, train operators will notice your suspicious activity and put out a warning on loudspeakers to make travelers more vigilant.
You should also carry your bag in the front when traveling on the Paris metro, or keep it safely between your legs, never on your back, as this could lead to being robbed when the carriages are crowded and pickpockets are in transit.
Distance yourself from people who seem to be getting too close or violating your personal space unnecessarily, and follow other general instructions informed by the authorities.
Violent crime is generally not a concern in Europe, unlike in other global destinations, but there’s no denying that petty crime is becoming more common, although these are easily avoided if you follow the safety tips above.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com