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Sunday 5 May 2024

Be ultra-vigilant: these are the pickpocketing hotspots of Europe

Anyone who has spent time in Europe know that you need to be vigilant 100% of the time in major cities.

From opportunists to well-organised gangs, pickpockets and bag snatchers are ready to ruin your holiday.

Put a bag by your feet for moment and it can be gone. Leave you wallet on a café table for a second and some fleet-footed cretin will be running away from you at top speed.

Someone bumps into you on the Metro and you can be minus your money. Leave your handbag dangling carelessly and someone riding a motor scooter will swoop in seconds.

New research has found that some of the most popular tourist spots in Europe go hand-in-hand with some of the worst pickpocketing statistics on the continent, Euronews reports.

The study by UK-based travel insurance company QuoteZone has created a league table of pickpocketing capitals around the continent, looking at each country’s top five tourist attractions.

I'm not sure how scientific the research was, but Italy came out on top, with the highest proportion of victims in any country across the continent, followed by France and Spain.

Although many cities and towns across Italy attract hordes of visitors year-round, Rome was found to be the worst for pickpockets - many of whom, it so happens, are not Italians at all.

Overall, QuoteZone found that there are 478 pickpocketing mentions for every million British visitors to Italy’s top tourist attractions.

The capital’s iconic Trevi Fountain (top image) came out on top in that country-specific ranking. Also in Rome, the ancient Colosseum and the Pantheon were found to be particular hotspots for pickpockets.

Outside of Rime, the Duomo di Milano in Milan and the Gallerie Degli Uffizi in Florence were also reported as having the highest numbers of stolen personal items on online travel reviews in Italy. From experience, Naples is also a place to be on your toes. 

All five of the top attractions monitored are in Paris - and the Eiffel Tower was, perhaps unsurprisingly, found to be the most risky for tourist theft. Other places in the French capital to be extra vigilant are the Arc de Triomphe, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, and the Musée d’Orsay and Louvre Museums.

Next came Spain and Germany with Las Ramblas in Barcelona a thoroughfare where you need to beware.

In Germany, the worst pickpocketing spot is the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

Greg Wilson, Founder and CEO of Quotezone, says that while it’s unfortunate that so many attractions in Europe pose a risk, there are steps you can take to lessen the worry.

“It is essential always to remain vigilant, leave valuables, like expensive jewellery, in a safe in the hotel and always travel with a secure cross-body bag with zips to secure phones and wallets or even a money belt,” he advises.

“Try never to leave personal belongings unattended because travel insurance companies require travellers to take ‘reasonable care’ and could reject insurance claims for theft if items have been left alone.

"It is also important to remember to get a police report for the loss or theft of an item if you’ve been pickpocketed, as this will support the insurance claim.”

The top 10 European countries to be mega-aware, according to this survey: 1. Italy, 2. France, 3. Spain, 4. Germany, 5. Netherlands, 6. Portugal, 7. Turkey, 8. Greece, 9. Poland, 10. Republic of Ireland.

Image: Irish Grace Jimenez, 

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