How it works:
- It has been estimated that 75% of pickpockets on the Paris Metro belong to an organised gang which recruits girls from age 12-16.
- They each have a target of stealing €300/day, or they will be beaten up by the gang.
- When arrested, these girls claim to be 12 years old as criminal prosecution is difficult for this age – as such, they are back out in no time.
- Version 1: one blocks you at the door (ties shoelaces/drops something), another steals from behind and slips to a third who escapes, and one blocks others from seeing the act.
- Version 2: some snatch your stuff and jump out just before the doors close.
- Version 3: at escalators, they trip or bump into you. Next moment, your valuables are gone.
Places to beware:
- Paris: Chatelet, Les Halles, Barbes Rochechouart, Gare du Nord, Auber-Opera-Harve Caumartin, Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, Concorde, Strasbourg-Saint Denis, Republique, Montparnasse, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Bastille, Care de l’Est, Nation, Gare de Lyon
What to do:
- Passport: carry a photocopy instead of the actual one.
- Valuables: wallet in front pocket, small valuables in a money belt/hidden pouch, large valuables in an anti-theft bag.
- Travel insurance: get a good one that covers theft (e.g. World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and National Geographic – review).