Is Paris really full of thieves?

(19 Posts)
IamFluffy Tue 20-Aug-13 14:03:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hermioneweasley Tue 20-Aug-13 14:06:49

I don't know about Paris specifically, but I imagine crowds of tourists in any major city will attract pick pockets. Take sensible precautions - minimal cards and cash and split them between you. Consider a money belt, use a secure bag that goes across your body and keep a hold of it. When you are there you will be gobsmacked at the number of tourists with bags open, hanging off their arms while they gaze in the opposite direction. Make it a bit more difficult and hopefully any pickpockets there will choose an easier target.

PetiteRaleuse Tue 20-Aug-13 14:15:24

Yes, I'm afraid it is. It has got a lot worse in the past five years. I used to feel much safer in Paris than in London but I think I would feel safer in London now. I remember Oxford Street and Picadily used to be pickpocketing risk areas in London. In Paris it seems that pretty much anywhere is risky, with the métro and touristy areas obviously slightly worse. It's mainly kids, but they aren't violent usually

It wouldn't dissaude me from going though - just be as careful as you would be in London.

GetStuffezd Tue 20-Aug-13 14:18:22

Yes! Near the steps by the Louvre when I went there were these wankers dressed as clowns with masks on, pratting about. They had a sign saying "free hugs." I swerved to avoid as I loathe that kind of thing but one of them grabbed me for a "hug." My colleague pulled me away and I was quite upset. Shortly after I realised I had been relieved of my purse. Needless to say they were no longer there when we hurried back.
I hate Paris.

PetiteRaleuse Tue 20-Aug-13 14:21:45

And act as if you know where you are going and what you are doing. Stay away from café and restaurant terraces - eat and drink indoors, it's not as fun but you're less likely to be hassled. Be really careful around cashpoints - you can normally find cash machines inside banks Don't dawdle, try and work out ahead which way you need to go. Similar precautions to London really. But the rumours about gangs of thieves is true. There are constant news items and documentaries about it here. Unfortunately the problem is used for political purposes to encourage people to vote for the far right, which is a whole other thread. It's very sad.

PetiteRaleuse Tue 20-Aug-13 14:24:31

They work in groups, so someone will distract you and someone else will steal stuff. So if a kid comes up to you begging then you can be sure another one is not far trying to work out how to nick stuff. I actually feel quite sorry for the kids actually, they are sent out by gangleaders and treated pretty badly.

LynetteScavo Tue 20-Aug-13 14:29:46

In London, you don't look like a tourist....in Paris you might, especially if you are speaking English.

I would second having a money belt, and being really aware, especially if you are on a crowded metro. That little lad standing next to you? He is actually working. sad

mignonette Tue 20-Aug-13 14:35:40

Don't use rucksacks, hold your bag tightly to you and don't get distracted because straps can be cut, bags slashed. Use cashpoints inside banks but if you need to use an outside one get a companion to stand right behind you. Make sure he/she keeps a close eye on his pockets/bag too.

Don't stop to help anybody if they ask you for directions or the time (Sad to have to advise this) and avoid street hawkers, touts, groups of people like the plague. Keep your bag held tight alighting on and off the Metro, standing in queues and in any crowds.

If your body language is proactive and self protective they will not see you as the weakest animal in the herd. They look for vulnerability.

sooperdooper Tue 20-Aug-13 14:39:37

I wouldn't say it's any more risky for theft than any other capital city, just keep your wits about you, people tend to relax and not think about being sensible so much when they're on holiday, it wouldn't stop me from going there

IamFluffy Tue 20-Aug-13 14:45:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

celticclan Tue 20-Aug-13 14:51:18

At the moment it feels like everywhere is full of thieves. I have lost count of the amount of friends and relatives who have had their bank cards stolen recently and not in areas that have high crime rates.

LynetteScavo Tue 20-Aug-13 14:53:21

If you are larger than a size 10, you will definitely look like a tourist, trainers or not. grin

lovestogarden Tue 20-Aug-13 14:53:48

Don't wear any jewellery or have a map/tour book/expensive camera in sight.

Have a money belt (although a colleague of mine has hers nicked on the underground) and don't eat/drink on the pavement seats (or the quick grab n run thieves will snatch your stuff!).

As you're a Londoner, you'll know the drill: beggars, kids playing accordians, 'distraut' women with dirty babes in arms, (ie the Marble Arch gangs), street performers, distraction techniques, hugger muggers, people who have lost their bus fare home, people who shoulder-barge you or offer to wipe dust off your coat...

PetiteRaleuse Tue 20-Aug-13 14:59:08
GraduallyGoingInsane Tue 20-Aug-13 14:59:22

I don't think it's any worse than any other big city. I feel far less safe in London personally, but that's because it's less familiar I suppose.

Be wary of scams - in Paris (and French cities generally) a common scam seems to be for a young girl to come up with a clipboard on, asking you to sign. Her companion will get your purse whilst you're distracted. If someone comes up with a clipboard, say 'NO' and walk away. Another one I've seen is for a young girl to drop a ring, then pick it up and hold it out to you as if she found it on the floor. Again, if someone holds something out to you, say 'NO' and move away.

I've seen both scams in operation, and once you are aware they're a scam they seem hopelessly clumsy, but if you aren't aware I could see you could get fooled.

I've seen these scams in operation around the Eiffel Tower and Trocadero, near the Musee D'Orsey and up by the Sacre Coeur. The area around Montemarte isn't the nicest and Les Halles metro station isn't too pleasant at night. But they're certainly no worse than say, Soho or Brixton.

IamFluffy Thu 22-Aug-13 12:47:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PetiteRaleuse Thu 22-Aug-13 12:59:03

Glad you had a nice time. Paris is a wonderful city smile I heard they had upped police presence round the tourist spots because of all the problems - good to see that they were effective.

mignonette Thu 22-Aug-13 13:01:37

Iamfluffy Great to hear an update and glad you both enjoyed yourselves. I adore Paris.

bruffin Thu 22-Aug-13 13:23:05

I know its a bit late, but glad you had a lovely time

My DS 17 and his GF 18 got caught out by the clipboard scammers last month , but they are only young and have learnt their lesson. They didnt have anything stolen but got conned into making a donation.

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