How to Avoid Getting Pickpocketed, Purse Snatched or Scammed
A few simple precautions that might not be necessary back home, but here can make the difference between a great trip and a fiasco:
- While in Europe, empty your your wallet/purse of things that you don’t need (photos, address book, extra credit cards, agenda, etc.) These things are a pain in the ass to replace, and are often a worse loss than the money. Keep big bills in one of those interior money pouches… the French Riviera attracts world class pickpockets, so best to not have much of value in your pocket or purse to be picked.
- In a sidewalk café, put one purse strap under the leg of your chair, and don’t set your wallet or phone on the table or it could get whisked away in a blink of an eye.
- In the market, tramway, train station, or any crowded place, keep a hand on your wallet and your backpack in front, especially if you’re pulling a suitcase. These guys are good: your wallet will be gone and you’ll never even feel it. On the positive side, the thieves here just want your cash, and whereas you will obviously want to cancel your cards, just know that they will probably toss your cards into the trash, and they’re definitely not into identity theft.
- A new trend is the necklace grab… not much you can do to prevent this one except not to wear gold necklaces.
- Beach grabs are another crime on the rise: if you go for a dip, don’t leave your stuff unattended, and if you are sunbathing better to use your purse for a pillow rather than have it just lying there, waiting to be plucked.
- Nice is famous for a particular kind of car robbery called the Vol a la Portiere, or Car Door Grab, where they yank the passenger door open in parking lots or at stoplights and snatch the purse/wallet/phone. It’s a lot less frequent than a few years ago, but if you rent a car, be sure to always lock your doors from the inside the moment you get in the car. The Mayor himself even had an attempted vol a la portiere this year when he was parked on the Prom!
- And finally, don’t be fooled by the petition scam, ring scam, etc., and watch for gypsies and gypsy kids.
All this sounds rather dire but it’s really just petty crime: if you prepare yourself, even if it happens, it won’t ruin your trip. On the positive side, random violence and gun crimes are quite rare here, so from an American perspective, whereas you are at risk of a petty theft, you are physically much safer here than in a US city. Graffiti here doesn’t mean gangs, it means naughty boys, and beggars and homeless people are generally not menacing.
There are 600 surveillance cameras around Nice, and another 150 will be added by the end of summer. The Mayor has formed special brigades to deal with the various types of crime and publishes security statistics quarterly so show the progress. He is cracking down on juvenile delinquents and working to stop the revolving door for minors.
See Related Page: How to Deal with an Emergency in Nice
See Related Blog Posts:
- Sign the Petition, Lose Your Wallet
- All That Glitters is not Gold (on the ring scam)
- Celebrity Victim of Vol a la Portiere (with video)
- The Nice Necklace Grab
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