According to Tourism Review, “Unsurprisingly, most theft from pockets takes place outdoors whereby the attention of tourists is taken by a monument or interesting landmark.” Now, I really question the ‘unsurprisingly’ since I have always been cautioned about crowds, especially on public transport. This was ‘surprising’ to me, but then again, the crowds around Budapest have thinned lately, but any large group of people inspires me to keep my hands safely on my shoulder bag.
Europe is a treasure trove of places for crowds to gather, so those with frisky hands can be very busy without a worry about becoming redundant in the near future. What admirable job security they have! So where are you in the most danger of having sticky fingers penetrating your inner sanctum where your wallet or other valuables are nestled? The top hot spots for relieving yourself of your goods are in general the city with a particular ‘highest alert’ place following it:
Numero uno is Barcelona in general, Las Ramblas in particular
2. Rome in general – especially the Rascals
3. Prague in general, the Charles Bridge in particular
4. Madrid – the entire city, but be extra vigilant around the El Rastro flea market
5. Paris, France
6. Florence, Italy
7. Buenos Aires, Argentina
8. Amsterdam, Netherlands
9. Athens, Greece
10. Hanoi, Vietnam
No, Anna, our dear friend, Budapest is not even close to the top of the list.
In our years of travel, we have encountered numerous tricks for robbing us. We have thwarted the majority of them; however, realizing that all friendly people are not out to just be kind to tourists is key. I agree that haivng negative thoughts about that little old lady who is asking you the time is contra indicative of what we should believe, but honestly, I have been hustled by elementary school kids, senior citizens and everyone in between. Avoid carrying too hot items, especially cash. Read up on the common tricks used by the thieves. “It is perfectly normal, in Barcelona for example, for a thief to throw bird excrement onto the shoes of a potential victim. An assisting accomplice would steal the wallet or bag whilst the fake excrement is being cleaned up.”
Notice that there are only 2 cities outside of Europe, Buenos Aires and Hanoi in Vietnam where you need to be on guard.