Do's and Don'ts: Pickpocketing


A Guide to Avoid Pickpockets

They're everywhere. And everyone knows that they're there. But they think that it won't happen to them. We all hear those stories about people getting things stolen in Paris, but then people think that it won't happen to them. So there are signs everywhere, beware of pickpockets. But how exactly do you safeguard your items without shoving them in your pants? Here are some tips that I've leaned so far by living in Paris. 


Don't make anything easily accessible. If you're keeping your phone in your jacket, make sure that there is a zipper or buttons that will slow down a person. If it doesn't have any kind of closure, don't keep anything in those jacket pockets. Someone could easily slip their hand in there without getting noticed. I have witnessed this a lot in the metro. By the time the person realizes the person is running out the metro door as it's closing and they're trapped inside.


Make sure that anything kept in a pocket has a good closure. Whenever I put anything in my pants pocket I make sure that it's in the front pocket and that my shirt covers the pocket, hiding whatever I have in there. If I put anything in my jacket pocket, I only put it in the part with the buttons and keep my hands near the idem, not cradling it to give it away that I have something valuable, but in the general area to keep prying hands away.
Montparnasse Tower seen from the Luxembourg Gardens


Don't leave items unattended. I don't understand why people keep doing this. They keep getting warned but then they go to an area, feel safe, and leave their phone sitting on the table while they get a drink. Or they leave their purse on the grass while they take a picture right next to it. People just swoop right in in that split second and run away with your stuff. Always keep your things with you!!


Keep the flashy jewelry to a minimum. What is happening now more in Paris is that people are running up to women, grabbing their necklace and breaking it of of them, then running away. People are getting more desperate so try and wear only cheap jewelry or make sure that it's covered up with a scarf or hard to grab.


Don't forget a cross body purse. The ones that hang off your shoulders are very easy to grab. And make sure that the hooks of the strap are secured to the purse and that they don't clip off easy. I super-glue mine shut so that no one can pinch my purse undone. I also make sure that my zipper closes the entire bag and doesn't have any gaps on the sides. I also keep the zipper in front were I can see it rather than behind me so I would know if someone were trying to open it. Make sure that the leather is is strong to and that it would take a couple of tries to cut it.


One thing that I do when I travel is that I always keep five euros in my pocket. That way when I'm in a crowded place, like the metro, and have to pay for something, I pull out the five euros instead of my wallet with all the credit cards. That way if they do steal from me, it's maximum five euros. And this did happen in Italy while I paid for my metro card in Milan, they would reach their hand in the machine and take what they could before you could get your change. Because of this I lost 4 euros. And while I'm frustrated that someone stole 4 euros from me, I'm glad that it wasn't the 40 that I had in my wallet or my credit cards.

Please remember that this guide is for Paris and pickpockets from other countries may go about taking your things in a different manner. But from where I've been so far, I've never been approached in an aggressive manner. I'm not afraid to stand my ground, but I will never get aggressive with someone. Most of the time in Paris the goal of pickpockets is to be discreet, so you're not unsafe, you just had some things stolen from you. So if you think someone is going to pickpocket you, look them in the eye and hold onto your items, they won't be able to do anything and will try to go somewhere else. 

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