I always get a laugh when I see people walk the streets of Manhattan with backpacks worn on their fronts. Millions of people commute into and around the city every day, yet the outnumbered visitors take extreme measures to make sure their subway maps and recently purchased Planet Hollywood t-shirts remain in their control.
Of course, pickpocketing is a concern in many tourist destinations around the world, and it does pay to be cautious. In the latest TripAdvisor list of cities where this crime is most prevalent, New York doesn’t make an appearance. In fact, no city in the United States is represented. Yet, there are plenty of places where you could be separated from your wallet quite easily, so if you’re thinking about hitting any of these spots, keep an eye on your valuables.
Eight of the top 10 pickpocketing locations in the world are in Europe, with one in South America and the other in Southeast Asia. Spain and Italy share the dubious distinction of making the list twice.
Ready to find out where this crime is most common? Take a look at the list after the jump.
1. Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain
The wide pedestrian walkway has performers and is great for people watching. Of course, there are a few purse-snatchers who have realized this, making the spot a nice big target.
2. Rome, Italy
You might want to look out for a pair of scissors, but chances are, you won’t see them coming. Crowds gathering around ancient relics are easy prey for the “alternatively employed.”
3. Prague, Czech Republic
Wandering the statues around the Charles Bridge? You’re not alone! Stay aware of your surroundings, because those looking for your wallet and watch certainly are.
4. Madrid, Spain
When I was in Madrid earlier this year, I didn’t have a problem at all. But, jam-packed metro cars and the El Rastro fleamarket are said to be high-risk spots. Also, be careful in museums. While you’re gazing at “Guernica,” nefarious plans may be in the works. When you’re distracted … you’re easy.
5. Paris, France
Instead of having your money taken, just cave and give it to the “Bosnian” beggars at every tourist attraction in the city.
6. Florence, Italy
If you’re wrapped up in the amazing sights – things you’ve waited your entire life to see – you can easily fall victim. Michelangelo’s “David” won’t grab your goods, but one of his neighbors may.
7. Buenos Aires, Argentina
The common scam is to pour “bird droppings” (usually mustard) on you and offer to help you clean it up. It’s not the good deed you may think it is.
8. Amsterdam, Netherlands
The laid-back vibe of this city is likely to let your guard down. There are plenty of people counting on this.
9. Athens, Greece
Big attractions that draw plenty of people ensure that pickpockets can choose who to go after. Your level of diligence will determine whether it’s you.
10. Hanoi, Vietnam
There is plenty to see in the Old Quarter, and it’s easy to lose sight of the pickpocketing threat when you’ve spent more than a day traveling to reach Hanoi. Make sure you’re awake when you leave the hotel.