Are you doing enough to prevent crime when traveling abroad? A few tips on how to protect yourself

Japan is one of the safest countries in the world. Therefore, when traveling abroad, Japanese people are often involved in unpredictable crimes.

Most of the crimes that Japanese people fall victim to are pickpocketing, misappropriation, and snatching. Many of them are petty crimes for money.

These are all crimes that can be prevented by knowing the modus operandi of the crimes and taking proper countermeasures. In order to enjoy your trip abroad, you should take careful security measures!

In this article, the author, who has traveled overseas more than 30 times, will introduce crime prevention measures and recommended goods for overseas travel.

There’s a lot you can do to prevent crimes, even if you just know how they work!

90% of Japanese victims of fraud, robbery, and theft

Every year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan publishes the “Statistics on Overseas Relief for Japanese Citizens,” a document that summarizes the troubles Japanese people have been involved in overseas.

According to this document, about 90% of the trouble Japanese people get into overseas is theft, robbery, and fraud.

About 90% of the trouble is a huge number!

To put it another way, as long as you are careful about theft and fraud, you can prevent most of the troubles you may encounter when traveling abroad.

For your information, the embassies and consulates with the most reported cases of Japanese victims are listed below.

Thailand 1,457 cases
Philippines 906 cases
Los Angeles 809 cases
United Kingdom 797 cases
Honolulu 669 cases
Hong Kong 667 cases
France 646 cases
San Francisco 607 cases
Korea 503 cases

Source: 2018 (Heisei 30) Overseas Japanese Aid Statistics

There is a tendency that there is a lot of damage in the countries and cities that Japan frequents, but since there are so many people who have been affected, let’s not think that I’m okay.

I will explain it in detail in the next chapter.

Typical pickpocketing tactics and countermeasures overseas

Method 1: Pickpocketing on trains

Pickpocketing on trains is really common. There are often cases where people are surrounded by a group of people on the train and later realize that their valuables have been stolen.

When riding trains, buses, or going to crowded places, be sure to carry your bag with you.

How to prevent this
  1. Do not put valuables in bags, jackets, or pants pockets
  2. Keep your valuables safe, especially in crowded places
  3. When you get on a train, stay away from the door and sit down as much as possible
  4. Carry valuables with you even when taking bathroom breaks on buses

Method 2: Pickpocketing on the street

It may come as a surprise to you, but it is very common to be pickpocketed on the streets overseas. They will try to catch you off guard and steal from you the moment you let your guard down.

The most common pattern is when you are walking past someone and they put ice cream on you, and while you are wiping it off, they steal your valuables.

In addition to ice cream, there are various other methods such as chaps and mustard.

They may also pose as tourists and ask for directions or ask to take pictures. As you deal with them, they will steal your valuables.

How to deal with it
  1. Don’t let them touch you under any circumstances
  2. If you get into trouble, take care of your valuables first
  3. Do not let your guard down thinking that the other person is a tourist
  4. If you are asked to do something and you are not sure about how to manage your valuables, immediately refuse
  5. Be aware that you are being targeted by pickpockets even on the street

The best way to prevent pickpockets is to use a security pouch

The best way to prevent pickpocketing is to have a security pouch.

Our tour guide at the travel agency also recommended using a security pouch.

  1. Hide it under your clothes
  2. Lately, it looks stylish
  3. Anti-skimming function is also available

Even the quintessential pickpocket won’t be able to get his hands under your clothes, so putting a security pouch under your clothes will give you peace of mind.

When I first used it, I thought it might stand out. When I first started using it, I thought it might stand out, but after I put it on, it was surprisingly not noticeable at all and I love it!

The security pouch makes a huge difference in the level of security, so I recommend having one if you want to carry your valuables around safely.

Can’t be too careful while eating? M.O.s and countermeasures against theft

Method 1: In the lobby of an airport or hotel

Airports and hotel lobbies are common places for people to leave items behind.

  • My suitcase was lost while I was going through the check-in counter at the airport
  • Luggage lost in a cart while retrieving a suitcase from a turntable
  • A bag left at your feet during check-in procedures at a hotel

If you take your eyes off the road for a moment, your bag will be stolen. You should never take your eyes off something you don’t want to be stolen.

How to prevent this
  1. Keep your bag with you at all times
  2. Keep your bag close to your body. If you just leave it at your feet, you won’t notice when it is stolen.

Method 2: Even while eating at a restaurant

Restaurants are another place where misplaced items are likely to occur.

  • You took off your jacket and were eating on a chair when your valuables were missing from your pocket
  • While eating, your bag was stolen from under your feet
  • While eating with a shoulder bag draped over a chair, it was stolen

All these have been stolen because they were separated from my body.

How to take countermeasures
  1. Place your bag where it touches your body while eating
  2. Do not be careless even in high-class restaurants. Rather, you may be a target because wealthy people come here.

Have a wire lock if you are worried

If you are worried about being left behind, you should keep a wire lock with you.

Because you can easily bundle and lock your bag or suitcase, you will reduce the chance of being left behind.

Especially if you are traveling alone, you will have to manage all your luggage by yourself, so having a wire lock will allow you to be flexible.

Pickpocketing with the risk of injury

Method 1: Street Snatching

The most common place for purse-snatching is on the street.

The most common pattern is for a criminal on a motorcycle to pull your bag at the moment of overtaking.

Because motorcycle snatchers can cause injury, please be careful.

How to take countermeasures
  1. Never put your bag on the side of the road
  2. If someone pulls your bag, let go of it because you may get hurt

Method 2: Snatching on the train

Snatchings often occur near train entrances as well.

When I was standing near the entrance of the door, my bag was pulled and stolen just before the door closed.

When you get on a train or bus, it is best to sit down and hold on to your bag as tightly as possible.

How to take countermeasures
  1. Sit on trains and buses as much as possible
  2. Avoid standing near the entrance

Other ways of crime

There are many other types of crimes that can be committed when traveling abroad. Keep in mind the following patterns.

  • A fake policeman asks you to show your passport and wallet
  • After checking into a hotel, you are knocked on the door and robbed
  • When you take a cab, you are taken to a dark alley and robbed
  • You get snatched and robbed in the elevator

Police officers will not search your belongings on the street

Every country has its own modus operandi with fake policemen, but real policemen basically don’t do luggage searches on the street.

How to prevent this

If you are asked to show your passport or wallet on the street, take a firm stance by saying, “I’ll talk to the nearest police station” or “I’ll contact the local embassy“.

Always chain yourself in hotels

There have been cases where someone knocked on your hotel door and when you opened it, you were robbed.

It is a good idea to wear a chain while staying in a hotel abroad.

How to prevent this
  1. Do not stay in hotels that are too cheap
  2. Use a chain as soon as you enter the room
  3. Call the front desk if someone comes who you don’t remember asking for

It is also safer to keep your valuables on your person when you go out. If you are staying in a budget hotel, the security inside the hotel may be lax.

Check the official cab service in your destination country

The most common way to get into trouble with cabs is to take an unofficial cab.

Before you travel, check out the legitimate cabs at your destination. Knowing the name of the company and the color of the taxi will help you make a quick decision when you get there.

Legitimate cabs in many countries have “Driver Information” posted inside the vehicle.

When getting into a cab, check the driver information and the driver carefully, and if there is no problem, get in.

How to take measures
  1. Research regular cabs before you travel
  2. Don’t take a non-authorized taxi
  3. Check the driver’s information before you get in
  4. Get out immediately if you feel even a little suspicious

When traveling abroad, shoulder bags are recommended

If you wear a tote bag or the like over your shoulder, you are more likely to be snatched because it can be easily stolen.

Shoulder bags with tightly closing lids are recommended for overseas travel.

If you wear it diagonally, it will be harder to steal and you will be less likely to be snatched.

Be careful about how you carry your bag

Don’t just carry a shoulder bag, but also be careful how you carry it.

  • Hold it in front of your body
  • When crowded, put your hand on the zipper
  • Do not put your bag on the side of the road

Keep an eye on them at all times.

Backpacks are not recommended

Backpacks are not recommended when traveling abroad. Because you never know how you might be robbed from behind.

It’s better to keep an eye on your valuables when abroad.

If you do have a backpack, put your valuables in a sackosh and hold it in front of your body.

The sachet is light and easy to pack.

Anti-pickpocketing is a must! A shoulder bag is recommended for overseas travel. A shoulder bag is recommended for overseas travel, along with what to bring while sightseeing.
What's the best bag for international travel? I'm afraid of getting pickpocketed... There are many people ...
All the best for pickpocketing! A shoulder bag is recommended for overseas travel. Since I’m often asked about bags for overseas travel on social media, I decided to explain about bags and what to bring while sightseeing. From the standpoint of theft and pickpocketing, I’ve compiled a list of how to carry your bag and even how to manage your valuables. For a safe trip, it is important to take measures in advance…


Women should be careful about crime prevention when traveling abroad

Women are especially susceptible to being involved in crime. There have been many incidents of women being assaulted in cars by men they thought they were getting along with, so it is important not to be easily left alone with men.

Traveling with only women is risky, so try to keep the following in mind when traveling.

  • When approached, do not casually go along
  • Don’t be alone with a man
  • Do not stay in hotels that are too cheap
  • Use a legitimate and reliable taxi
  • Choose a famous or popular massage parlor
  • Return to your hotel before it gets dark

Women are really prone to getting into trouble, so watch out!

It’s safer to have a credit card than cash

When traveling abroad, is it better to pay with cash or credit card? Some people wonder.

In conclusion, it is safer to minimize cash and pay by credit card.

Cash not covered by compensation

Cash is not covered by overseas travel insurance in case of theft. .

If $2000 in cash is stolen, it is not covered by travel insurance and you will not get a single dollar back.

Credit cards covered by credit card companies

In contrast, in the case of fraudulent use of a credit card, the credit card company will cover the fraudulent use and you will not be charged for it.

It is better to have a card that can be compensated by the credit card company than to have cash that no one can compensate you for.

Crime prevention goods for overseas travel

Some of them were introduced in the first half of the article, but there are many excellent security goods these days, so I’ll summarize them here.

The No. 1 recommended security pouch

Security pouches are indispensable for security when traveling abroad. I always carry my passport and cash that I don’t use right away in my security pouch.

  • Hides your valuables under your clothes
  • With anti-skimming feature

Smartphone Anti-Theft Case

For those who take photos with their phones, an anti-theft case is a good idea.

  • You can use your phone by hanging it from your neck
  • You can use it by fixing it to your bag


It’s a good idea to keep a padlock with you, including a spare. It’s a hassle to put it on your bag every time, but you may use it here and there in a worrying situation.

  • You can also fasten it to the zipper of your bag
  • You can also keep a spare suitcase or bag


A wire that prevents you from being left behind. Good to have, especially if you’re traveling alone!

  • Can be used to secure suitcases and luggage
  • Can be used to prevent misplaced items

Keychain Straps

Simply fastening your wallet or cell phone to the strap is a simple security measure.

  • Can secure your wallet or phone to your bag
  • Helps prevent drops and theft

Burglar Alarm

If you are really worried, you can also keep a burglar alarm with you.

  • Recommended for women who are anxious about traveling
  • You’ll feel safer if you have one

It’s safer to be connected to the internet while traveling

It is safer to be connected to the Internet while traveling. It is hard to deal with problems, especially if you are not connected to the Internet.

In order to have a safe trip, it is recommended to have a rental WiFi so that you can always be connected to the Internet.

Check the crime information of your travel destination carefully

Before you travel, be sure to check the crime information for your destination. Each country has its own characteristics in terms of crime.

For example, in Paris, there are many crimes called celebrity fraud and misanthropy.

Because the modus operandi of crime changes slightly from country to country, it’s a good idea to do some research before you go.

Once you know what can happen, you can prevent most of them.

If you get into trouble while traveling abroad

If you get caught up in a crime, pickpocketed or get into trouble while traveling abroad, you will have to deal with it.

  • Contact your credit card company if your credit card is stolen
  • In case of theft, get a theft report from the police station
  • For passport theft, go to the local embassy and police station

Credit card theft

Contact your credit card company immediately and ask them to stop your card.

Go to the police station if your items are stolen

Theft of property is often covered by overseas travel insurance, so go to the police station and get a theft report.

You will need the theft report to file an insurance claim.

Passport theft

If your passport is stolen, contact the local Japanese embassy. You will need to go to the embassy to have a temporary passport issued.

Otherwise, if you get into trouble while traveling abroad and don’t know what to do, first consult with your local embassy.

They will be able to advise you on what to do.

Summary: Take all possible measures to prevent crime when traveling abroad

Take care of your security for your overseas trip and eliminate your worries.

If you get into trouble, your trip abroad will be ruined.

Prevent anything that can be prevented, and make your trip enjoyable!


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