How to prevent pickpocketing in Paris! What are the anti-pickpocketing measures that the tour guide taught us?

In 2018, the number of Japanese who were victims of robbery and theft known to the Embassy is 512. If we include the ones we don’t know about, the number could be much higher.

I go to Paris every year and have visited four times so far, but I have yet to be pickpocketed. I think the reason why I haven’t been pickpocketed yet is because my tour guide taught me a lot of anti-pickpocketing tips when I visited Paris for the first time. .

In this article, I will share the trends of pickpocketing in Paris and the countermeasures I learned from my professional travel attendant.

30% of pickpockets in Paris occur on the Metro. Many pickpockets are children and women.

First of all, it is important to know what kind of pickpocketing is going on in Paris, the current situation and the most common patterns. It’s very important to know the modus operandi!

In the year of 2018, the Japanese Embassy recognized 512 Japanese victims of robbery and theft.

90% of victims are pickpockets and left-behind


Pickpocketing and misappropriation account for 88% of the total number of Japanese victims.

Violent crimes such as robbery account for less than 10% of all crimes, so it is important to be careful about pickpocketing and misappropriation.

You should not be overly concerned about security in Paris, but you should be able to protect your valuables on your own.

30% of damage occurs on the subway


Thirty percent of all robberies and thefts occur in the metro (subway).

One of the most common patterns is being surrounded by several children or women on the train and having your valuables stolen when you are stuck. .

In the Paris subway system, there is an announcement in Japanese saying, “Be careful with your valuables,” so it is likely that many Japanese are victims.

In addition to the subway, pickpockets are also common near famous tourist spots such as the Opera House, Arc de Triomphe, and Champs-Elysées.

It is important to keep in mind that the following patterns of pickpocketing are common near tourist spots.

  • Having your valuables stolen by people who approach you pretending to ask for directions
  • Having your valuables stolen by a large group of children or women
  • Having your belongings stolen while viewing a museum

Most of the perpetrators are groups of women and children


If you are a first time visitor to Paris, you may be surprised to learn that most of the pickpockets are women and children.

Be alert if a strange woman or child approaches you.

It is common to have your valuables stolen while you are surrounded by a group of children.

It is unthinkable in Japan, but in this country, children are also used as pickpockets, so please be careful.

This is perfect! Anti-Pickpocketing in Paris From here, I will explain specific ways to prevent pickpockets. Control your valuables with a security pouch

The security pouch is a method that my tour guide taught me when I went to Paris. I’m copying it because it allows me to manage my valuables with peace of mind.

The big advantage of the security pouch is that you can hide it under your clothes.

I put all the things that I don’t want stolen, such as my passport, credit cards, and cash that I won’t use right away, in the security pouch.

As you can see, even pickpockets won’t be able to get their hands under your clothes, so you’ll be able to sightsee in peace.

Keep your bag in front of your body and keep an eye on it


Keep your bag in front of your body and keep an eye on it. A shoulder bag that zippers completely shut is recommended instead of a backpack.

In Japan, shoulder bags are brought to the back of the body, but in Paris, they should be in front of the body and kept out of sight.

Points on how to carry a bag
  1. Never zipper up your bag
  2. When crowded, put your hand on the zipper
  3. Don’t put it under a chair
  4. Do not put your bag on the side of the road

Keep your hand on your zipper when crowded

In popular areas of museums or crowded subways, put your hand on the zipper to prevent others from opening it.

Especially in tourist areas, it is easy to get carried away with taking pictures and take your eyes off your bag. Enjoy taking pictures, but be careful not to leave your bag unprotected.

Don’t put your bag under a chair

In Japan, you would probably put your bag under a chair in a restaurant, but not in Paris! Sometimes people steal your bag while you are eating. .

Be careful where you put your bag, especially on the terrace.

I put the strap of my shoulder bag over my arm or leg so that it cannot be easily removed.

Anti-pickpocketing in the Metro


26% of pickpockets who are victims of Japanese people happen in the subway or train stations.

The following crimes seem to happen really often, so be sure to take precautions.

When I got on the train at the Louvre station, two women forced their way onto the train and pushed my body against theirs. After that, they hurriedly got off before the train departed. I thought it was strange, so I checked my shoulder bag and found that my purse had been stolen. (Female traveler)

Quote: Japanese Victims of Crime in September 2019

You can take the following measures right off the bat, so keep them in mind!

How to prevent pickpocketing in the subway
  1. Do not take out your wallet when buying a ticket
  2. Put your camera or cell phone in your bag
  3. Do not stand near the entrance of the train
  4. Sit down as soon as a seat is available
  5. Hold your bag in your hand
  6. Avoid blind spots in the station

Do not take out your wallet when buying a ticket

When buying a Metro ticket, put your money in your pocket beforehand.

Pickpockets will follow you after you buy a ticket to see where you put your wallet.

It is dangerous for them to see where you put your wallet. Put your money in your pocket beforehand and do not take out your wallet.

Place your camera and cell phone in your bag

Before entering the station, put your camera or cell phone in your bag. I usually carry a mirrorless camera around my neck while sightseeing, but in Paris, I put it in my bag on the way to the station.

It is also best not to take out your cell phone in the metro as much as possible.

Don’t stand near the entrance of the train

Pickpocketing often happens in the subway near the entrance. This is because pickpockets want to escape just before the doors close, so they often stay near the doors.

When you get on the train, leave the entrance area first. And if you can, it is safer to stay in your seat. If a seat is available, sit down quickly.

You will be less likely to be pickpocketed if you sit down and hold your bag.

Avoid blind spots in train stations

The train stations in Paris are dimly lit and have many turns. If you are surrounded by a group of people in a blind spot, you will not be able to call for help, so try not to walk alone.

Don’t get carried away with taking pictures in museums


Watch out for pickpockets, especially in the popular areas at the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay.

Because students are admitted to museums for free in France, many young people come to the museums to pickpocket.

It is common to have your valuables stolen from your bag while you are engrossed in the famous works.

I was surrounded by five or six girls near the Musee d’Orsay, and when I came to, they took my wallet. (Female traveler)

Quote: Japanese victims of crime in October 2019

Don’t be in a hurry to protect your bag even if you are surrounded or asked to be famous


If you are surrounded by a group of people, don’t be in a hurry and grab your bag first.

When you are in Paris, you will often encounter people who ask you to be famous.

There are two patterns: the scam type, where you are told that you need to donate money after being famous, and the pickpocket type, where you get pickpocketed while refusing.

If you are surrounded by several people, first hold your bag tightly and hold on to it. It’s okay to say no afterwards. .

If you are too enthusiastic about refusing, you will be stolen in the meantime.

A group of three people asked me to sign a petition near Notre Dame Cathedral. I refused, but when I realized that my valuables had been stolen from my bag. (Female traveler)

Quote: Japanese victims of crime in November 2019

I was asked for directions or asked to take a picture. Don’t assume they are tourists and don’t feel safe


When you are near a tourist spot, the person who asks you for directions or asks to take your picture may be a pickpocket. Don’t be fooled into thinking they are tourists.

As shown below, some pickpockets pretend to be tourists and approach you.

A man asked me to take his picture with the Louvre in the background near the Louvre Museum. I put down my luggage to take the picture, but when I finished taking it, I realized it had been stolen. (Female traveler)

Quote: Japanese victims of crime in December 2018

Usually, people don’t ask for directions from people who are obviously Asian, so it’s better to say no if you are asked for directions.

Never leave your luggage unattended, even when agreeing to be photographed! If you’re traveling alone, it’s better to refuse to be photographed as well.

Do not carry brand-name items such as wallets or bags


You want to be stylish and bring your favorite things with you when you travel abroad, but it is better not to wear brand-name items.

It is better not to wear “things that make you look rich.

I don’t need to tell you to aim for it yourself.

I only use a small coin purse as my wallet when I travel abroad.

Something that doesn’t stand out and doesn’t make you look rich is best.

Also, if you buy brand-name goods in Paris, immediately replace them in a different bag. If you are carrying a shopping bag of branded goods, you will be an easy target.

Use security goods


If you are worried about pickpockets, make the most of security goods so that you can travel with peace of mind.

Security Pouches

As I mentioned in the first half of the article, security pouches can be bought for about $20 on Amazon, so it’s good to have one.

Many of them used to look tacky, but nowadays there are stylish and functional pouches.

I use this pouch because I like the following points.

  1. It looks stylish
  2. It’s made of waterproof material
  3. With anti-skimming function
  4. Not noticeable even when worn under clothes/li>

 

Smartphone Anti-Theft Case

If you are also worried about theft of your phone, we recommend a phone theft prevention case.

It can be hung around your neck or fixed to your bag, so you won’t have to worry about your phone being stolen before you know it! You will not have to worry about your phone being stolen before you know it.

Padlock

This is a type of padlock that can be attached to the zipper of your bag.

It’s a hassle to attach it every time, but I think it’s a good idea to use it here and there, such as while visiting a museum.

Wire locks

This is a wire lock that helps to secure your bag. Especially if you are traveling alone, a wire lock is very useful.

Carry as little cash as possible


It is best not to carry too much cash with you. Because travel insurance does not cover cash, and you will not get a dollar back if it is stolen. .

If you have $1000 in cash stolen, no one will compensate you for that $1000.

But with credit cards, if there is fraudulent use, the credit card company will compensate you and you will not be charged for the fraudulent use. .

So, it is better to have a credit card than cash in case you get pickpocketed.

Especially in France, you can pay by credit card almost everywhere, so pay by credit card.

Buses are also recommended for getting around in Paris

If you feel uneasy about taking the subway in Paris, I recommend you try using the bus.

I tend to take the bus more often than the subway in Paris.

I ride the bus because I like the following points.

  • It’s less crowded than the subway
  • There are many elderly people and there is no unpleasant atmosphere
  • The inside of the car is bright and safe
  • Easy to search on Google map

As long as you have a WiFi connection, it’s easy to search, so having a rental WiFi is recommended.

If you are about to be forcefully robbed of your belongings, don’t resist

So far, I have written about pickpocketing.

If you are robbed instead of being pickpocketed, please do not resist. You may be seriously injured.

  • A motorcycle drags your bag
  • They will cut your bag with a knife

Motorcycle snatchers are very dangerous. If you happen to be dragged away, take your hands off your bag for your own safety.

I know it is very frustrating, but some Japanese have suffered broken bones due to motorcycle snatching.

The first priority is to protect yourself, and if you are about to be forcefully robbed of your belongings, do not resist.

If you are a victim

Even if you are careful, you can still be victimized. If you do become a victim, you should take the following actions

  • Stop your credit card
  • Get a theft report from the police
  • Reissue your passport

Stop credit card


If you find out it has been stolen, rent a landline and call them right away.

Get a theft report from the police

If an item such as a camera or phone is stolen, it will be covered by your overseas travel insurance.

You need a theft report issued by the police in order to apply for overseas travel insurance. If your passport or phone is stolen, go to the police station.

Passport reissue procedures

If your passport has been stolen, contact the embassy in France once.

They will tell you the procedure to follow in order to reissue it.

Take precautions against pickpockets and enjoy your trip to Paris

So far, I have explained the countermeasures against pickpockets in Paris.

Paris is a city with a lot of pickpockets, but it is not that unsafe as long as you pay attention to the precautions.

Please don’t let your guard down and enjoy your trip to Paris! Have a great trip!

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