Samuel Dorsi - Oct 5, 2009
Pick pocketing is a familiar problem, which is often unavoidable unless tourists stop carrying any valuables around at all. Recent news from has shed light on where the thieves are most competent and which measures to take when sightseeing to avoid having empty pockets at the end of the holiday.


Unsurprisingly, most theft from pockets takes place outdoors whereby the attention of tourists is taken by a monument or interesting landmark. The problem worsens when there are a lot of people in one place around such attractions.

Fortunately for pickpockets, Europe is full of such places and the problem is getting worse. Outside of Europe, only Buenos Aires and Hanoi in Vietnam were named as places where you are likely to be pick pocketed.

The rest of the cities are full of ‘predatory thieves’ who hunt around famous monuments, museums and attractions where the last thing on the tourist’s mind is usually the position of his/her wallet. Namely, Prague’s Charles Bridge, Las Ramblas of Barcelona, the Rascals of Rome and the El Rastro flea market of Madrid are notorious hunting grounds for thieves. Florence, Amsterdam and Athens made up the top ten cities for pick pocketing in Europe.

The advice given by TripAdvisor involves a lot of common sense and mainly awareness. Firstly, knowing the pickpockets are about is an important step to not getting robbed. It is important to realise that thieves do not only come in the form of scruffy beggars and youths. Even children and well-dressed people may be part of large organised schemes to steal from pockets.

A simple measure is to avoid carrying too much cash. If this is not possible, then you should always be aware of the common tricks used by the thieves. It is perfectly normal, in Barcelona for example, for a thief to throw bird excrement onto the shoes of a potential victim. An assisting accomplice would steal the wallet or bag whilst the fake excrement is being cleaned up.


Top Havens of Pick Pockets according to TripAdvisor:

1. Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain

2. Rome, Italy

3. Prague, Czech Republic

4. Madrid, Spain

5. Paris, France

6. Florence, Italy

7. Buenos Aires, Argentina

8. Amsterdam, Netherlands

9. Athens, Greece

10. Hanoi, Vietnam

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  1. Prague is not that bad any more but watch out their taxi drivers - they often charge the tourists much more than they should.

    (United Kingdom)

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