Jump to content

Where tourist crime happens the most


Recommended Posts

You’re eating tapas at an outdoor restaurant in Barcelona, your iPhone on the table a few inches from your right hand, when a woman bumps your left arm and spills a drink on you. She apologizes profusely and walks away. A few minutes later, you realize your iPhone has disappeared.


Unfortunately, you’ve just become a statistic, one of thousands of daily victims of “Apple picking,†a crime trend aimed at the owners of iPhones and iPads.

Unfortunately, you’ve just become a statistic, one of thousands of daily victims of “Apple picking,†a crime trend aimed at the owners of iPhones and iPads.

1ab94b37-d7ca-4437-8dcd-6d679da03b5c_picBarcelona. (Photo: Thomas Quine / Flickr)In this example, the crime was in Barcelona, known for its petty thievery and pickpockets. But it could have happened almost anywhere in the world. While Apple picking is a crime that’s soaring statistically, it’s only the tip of the iceberg for travelers, who are prime targets for pickpockets and street criminals.

Pickpockets have become so aggressive in some parts of Europe that guards at the Louvre Museum in Paris – the most famous museum in the world – went on strike earlier this year to protest the audacious behavior of street criminals at the facility, and a similar strike was threatened in Rome by guards at the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel.

“There have always been pickpockets at the Louvre and in tourist locations in Paris, but for the last year and a half the gangs have become increasingly violent,†Sophie Aquirre, a supervisor at the museum, told the BBC.

Statistically, tourists are victimized at much higher rates than local residents, says Marcus Felson, a Texas State University professor and expert in crime analysis. “Tourist crime is quite high,†he says.

7283ea4c-59c3-42c9-a489-2cae54016788_picLouvre Museum in Paris. (Photo: Vankfire / Flickr)Because of the inconsistent way crime statistics are reported in various countries, street crime is difficult to chart. And while groups such as the United Nations track crime trends internationally, they usually don’t distinguish between violent and nonviolent crime.

Nonetheless, some cities are known for street crime, says Bob Arno, co-author of Travel Advisory: How to Avoid ‘Thefts, Cons, and Street Crime While Traveling.

Barcelona is at the top of the list.

“For 10 years, there’s been a concerted effort to cut down on street crime in Barcelona, and it’s slowly getting better,†says Arno. “But it has a long way to go.â€

He says statistics show seven to 10 percent of all visitors to Spain will be accosted by a street criminal, and about one-third of these attacks will be successful.

Arno, recognized as an expert on pickpockets, is a frequent guest on CNN and has made documentaries for The Travel Channel, Discovery and National Geographic. After Barcelona, he lists Paris as a top spot for pickpockets.

Paul Roll, director of the city’s tourism office, tried to deflect some of the bad publicity Paris received after the Louvre strike by telling the press that he hoped tourists would visit the city anyway. But he added that “it is a subject that we shouldn’t hide and must take seriously.â€

The U.S. Embassy takes it seriously enough to have published a tips guide: “Pickpockets in Paris: How to Avoid Becoming a Victim.â€

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah its a bit scary. But if you are careful about how you carry stuff, ie don't put your wallet in your back pocket.

We have less of this type of crime here in New Zealand, but I wouldn't leave valuables in a car, cause they will be gone when you get back to them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

I live in Barcelona,near Arc de Triumf,tourist spot next to a bad neighbourhood.Most of the thieves are from Marocco,lazy buttholes who dont want to work.ive seen them rob more than 200 times,i know all their tricks.Most popular one goes like this-2 thieves with bikes,one goes behind tourists where they sit,other one goes and asks for directions. less than 5 seconds and your bag is gone.How they pickpocket,there are too many different tricks,seen them work too many times,one time even get rid of my wallet.one of the funniest are the guys with fake flyers to a bar or something similar.they give you a flyer,put one arm around you and start showing directions with their leg stretched forward.while tourist stares at the leg,all his stuff will be taken in seconds.
Then again, other guys misfortune is other persons luck,last summer i found 3 very nice backpacks in 2 week period.one was in front of my door,some chinese guys unvaluable stuff was still inside.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was a neat show that was on discovery science channel a while back called Scam City. A guy went around the world to different cities showing how scams and other crimes were done to tourists. Probably find episodes of it online somewhere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I lived in Naples, Italy...any event that held up foot-traffic, pickpocketers would get more than ur iPhone. And forget about parking ur car on the street. U'd come back to either damage or broken into car....probably both. Naples has a trash problem, and they throw trash in the streets. Not just a few wrappers....dumpsters of trash. One time we had visitors stay with us. they stayed downtown. the locals protested and set the trash on fire. Which then set a car on fire. And they had to evacuate their hotel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.