Anyone planning a trip to Paris needs to be ultra careful of pick pockets – the crime is rampant and does not seem to be policed apart from a few notices suggesting you take care!
For the first time in more than 10 years I had my pockets ‘lightened’ on our last day before returning to Australia. We knew a scam was on when in the space of 15 minutes 3 different people magically found a large gold ring on the footpath in front of us. The sleight of hand allowed the first person to get close and ask if the ring was mine. Exit one phone… We knew there was a scam involved (but had not missed the phone at this time) but could not work out what the ‘game was’. The second and third times the ring was discovered showed us how the initial part of the trick was performed; the objective only became apparent when I started to peel off layers of clothing in the relative warmth of the Eurostar facilities. A check in London by ringing the phone and voilà the purpose became obvious.
Lesson #1 I’m obviously starting to get old and slow down – no one would have got away with that in my youth working around the rougher parts of London… But I have to admire the way the scam works, Fagan* eat your heart out.
Question #1 – 3 people in 15 minutes, same scam, same ring, same MO suggests organisation. If we can pick the obvious what are the Paris police doing? Sure the air temperature was well below Zero but the criminals were out and about. If we can sort out the scam at the expense of an $80 phone, what are the professional law enforcers doing??????
Don’t let this put you off going to Paris, it is a marvellous city and far less dangerous then many in the USA – I’d prefer to run into a clever pick pocket any day compared to a mugger or carjacker – but do be careful and keep all of your valuables in inside pockets, preferably buttoned.
Any French colleagues reading this – stir up your gendarmerie – the crime is non-violent but still very annoying and the degree of organisation suggests the criminals are well ahead of the police.