Having travelled to several of these spots I can testify to this list.
Here are the five European cities that according to TripAdvisor are places to be especially aware of conniving pickpockets – and tips on how to avoid becoming a target.
- Barcelona – More than 300 thefts are reported every day in this spectacular city, earning itself the reputation as the pickpocket capital of the world.
- Paris – The Louvre, the world’s most visited museum, was closed in 2013 also because of strikes related to pickpockets targeting tourists and employees. French police launched a major operation targeting pickpocket gangs last year.
- Madrid – Home to the infamous ‘Bosnian clan’. Four women who form the notorious pickpocket gang made a name for themselves in Barcelona – where they robbed thousands of tourists and Metro users – before moving on to Madrid. In 2013 the gang was banned from all of Madrid’s underground network, before the ban was overturned on a legal technicality. Pickpocketing on the Madrid Metro dropped by 40 per cent while the restraining order was in place.
- Prague – The pickpockets of Prague commonly target public transport, particularly the routes to and from Prague Castle and other major tourist sites. Charles Bridge, Karlova Street, Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square are also chosen areas for pickpockets and scam artists. Unlike most cities renowned for pickpocket gangs, here thieves usually work as individuals.
- Rome – Pickpockets congregate where the tourists are, in particular around the Vatican, the Spanish Steps and the Colosseum.
It is one of those things to worry about when travelling but good to be aware.
Does anyone have any good stories of near misses? The Barcelona authorities are so lax on pickpockets that is humorous!