Travel lovers are, unfortunately, the most likely targets for pickpockets around the world. Whether true or not, pickpockets often view tourists as wealthy, making travelers a prime opportunity in a pickpocket’s mind. For travelers, falling victim to a pickpocket can quickly turn the trip of a lifetime into a dreadful ordeal. A recent study by money.co.uk reveals the top 10 places tourists are most likely to be pickpocketed. Below are the top 10 places to be on your guard based on total Tripadvisor reviews that mention pickpocketing and what you can do to lessen your chances of becoming a victim.
1) Las Ramblas pedestrian walkway – Barcelona, Spain
- 3,271 Reviews mention pickpockets.
- Barcelona is known to have many pickpockets, and this famous walkway is one of the main hotspots.
- There was an average of 12 robberies every hour in 2018 in Barcelona.
2) Eiffel Tower – Paris, France
- 2,569 Reviews mention pickpockets
- Paris, and the Eiffel Tower specifically, is known to have a significant number of pickpockets and street scams.
- In 2015, there was even a temporary shutdown of the Eiffel Tower as employees staged a walkout to protest the surge of pickpocket gangs in the area.
3) Trevi Fountain – Rome, Italy
- 2,206 Reviews mention pickpockets
- According to legend, if you toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain, you will return to Rome. This leads to almost $1.7 million worth of coins collected yearly, which goes to charity. Naturally, a pickpocket views the area as an opportunity to steal coins and pickpocket visitors.
4) Charles Bridge – Prague, Czech Republic
- 1,081 Reviews mention pickpockets
- Like the Trevi Fountain, Charles Bridge has its own ritual. Touching the statue of St. John of Nepomuk on the bridge will bring you good luck and make sure you return to Prague. Pickpockets see this area as a great way to distract you while they attempt to steal your vacation money.
5) Sacré-Cœur – Paris, France
- 914 Reviews mention pickpockets
- This church offers some fantastic views of Paris, but street scammers and pickpockets are lining the entrance and the walk up to the main building.
6) Colosseum – Rome, Italy
- 666 Reviews mention pickpockets
- Every year, over 6 million people visit the Colosseum. This makes it a hotspot for pickpockets who take advantage of the crowds and distractions.
7) Old Town Square – Prague, Czech Republic
- 646 Reviews mention pickpockets
- The central square of the historic section of Prague, Old Town Square, is one of the top attractions in the capital city. The astronomical clock, in particular, is a go-to site for tourists. Its popularity with tourists also makes it famous for pickpockets.
8) Louvre – Paris, France
- 598 Reviews mention pickpockets
- The Louvre is one of the top attractions in Paris, welcoming over 9 million people per year. As such, it is a popular spot for pickpockets. Just like the Eiffel Tower, staff at the Louvre have staged walkouts in the past to protest the increasingly bold pickpockets in the area.
9) Notre-Dame Cathedral – Paris, France
- 408 Reviews mention pickpockets
- This world-famous cathedral welcomes 30,000 people a day. As with many other places on this list, a tourist magnet like this also attracts pickpockets.
10) Sagrada Família – Barcelona, Spain
- 407 Reviews mention pickpockets
- An architectural masterpiece, Sagrada Família, is another tourist destination with its fair share of pickpockets. 4.5 million people visit this site annually, making it an ideal spot for thieves.
So What Can You Do?
The number of reviews that mention pickpockets seems high enough to worry when visiting the above areas. Still, there are several precautions you can take to minimize your chances of becoming a victim.
- For men, don’t wear your wallet in your back pocket. Pickpockets tend to avoid front pockets, buttoned pockets, and zippered pockets. If you cannot secure your wallet more, be sure never to carry more than you can afford to lose.
- Don’t continually tap your pockets to see if you still have all of your items; this tells pickpockets exactly where to find them.
- For women, don’t carry your wallet inside your purse. Instead, opt for a zippered pocket if possible.
- Leave expensive jewelry at home, and don’t carry expensive designer items. These set you apart as a target.
- When visiting high-traffic areas, be extra cautious. Be on the lookout for lone pickpockets as well as pickpockets that work in groups. A common scam to watch out for is younger people in a group of three or four walking around trying to get signatures for a petition. While they distract you with your signature, your view is obstructed from your vulnerable pockets.
- Most importantly, don’t let the threat of pickpockets keep you from enjoying yourself! If you are smart and stay cautious when needed, your chances of being pickpocketed are minimal.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com