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Question on safety at Paris train stations

On our (fingers crossed) trip to Paris in October we'll be taking the train to Chartres. How safe are the train stations in Paris? My husband was reading about pickpockets in Paris and is concerned about being in a train station. Thanks.

Posted by
7196 posts

I have taken trains all over France since 2002 the last trip 6 months ago, keep anything you can't afford to lose under your shirt in a neck wallet or in a money belt and not in a pocket or bag and everything will be ok.

I live in Chicago; we have pickpockets.
They are a factor anywhere in the world tourists go.

Posted by
13525 posts

nwnews2, can there be pickpockets at train stations or on the trains themselves?
Yes.

Can there be pickpockets on the streets and around attractions in Paris and other locations in France?
Yes.

Can (and should) you protect your valuables from light fingers?
Yes, but it's not difficult so follow some basic protection methods and there's little to be afraid of. Read up about things like money belts, theft-proof bags, using hotel safes for valuables (cards and bulk of your cash) that you don't need for daily sightseeing, and other general tips about keeping your goodies out of nefarious hands. This website is FULL of those tips; just put "Pickpockets, Paris" into the search box and you'll pull up articles and/or threads like these:

https://blog.ricksteves.com/blog/pickpocketed-paris/
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/france/pickpocketing-in-paris-increases

You posted on this one:
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/paris-metro-ambush-pick-pocketing

Pickpockets are not just a hazard that visitors to Paris should be aware of, as they can be encountered in many other countries - including your own - as well.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/05/pickpocket-smartphones/585997/

Posted by
791 posts

As Kathy said, there is a lot of good info on the RS website including the section under Travel Tips,
Theft & Scams.

My brother-in-law didn't believe all the hype about it until he got his wallet lifted on the RER train. Thieves had already charged a lot on his credit card by the time they got back to their Airbnb and could contact visa to cancel. Because their main charge cards had the same card number they were left with 1 functioning debit/charge card for the start of a 2 week tour. My husband and I have different accts/card numbers so worst case we have backup.

Posted by
5262 posts

To focus on your specific question, you're as safe at a station, or on a train, as you are on the Metro or in any area where visitors congregate, like the museums and monuments. If you let pickpocket risk deter you from going to a station, you might as well let it deter you from going to Paris. There are lots of common-sense ways to protect yourself, so pickpocket (and other crime) risk is no reason to forego a train trip (the best way to go) to Chartres.

Posted by
6632 posts

Pickpockets are ubiquitous -- this is not dangerous, just annoying and easily prevented by not being a walking buffet. Most of the time you don't know you have lost anything until you reach for it later -- they are skilled. Occasionally they are more obvious. Train stations are not dangerous in particular -- probably the most likely spots to have a wallet lifted are the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the metro -- particularly the lines that serve tourist sites like line 1. Don't keep valuables in pockets, backpacks or carelessly held purses and you will be fine. Grabbing luggage is not common although be particularly careful to not set down high value small bags like computer bags or purses -- always have those attached to you -- in your hand or over your shoulder.

Last time we were in Vienna, the British couples next to us on the train to Prague had their wallets taken while boarding the train; the wallets emptied of money but not cards were found in a trash bin on the train and returned to them. In Italy years ago, a woman had her purse taken from the seat in front of her as she stood to put a bag in the overhead bin; someone walking through the train snagged it and was probably off the train before she finished putting her bag up and noticed. And of course, Hadley Hemingway lost all the original and carbon copies of Hemingway's unpublished work on a train when she left the small bag in which she was carrying the material under her seat when she visited the rest room or dining car.

Violent crime is the danger in the US; it is rare in France. Pickpocketing is quite rare in the US; it is common in all tourist sites in Europe.

Posted by
1222 posts

My family and I have been to train stations in Paris and France. There is nothing to be afraid of if you follow some advice. Always have purses, suitcases and bags zipped. If you take out money, put you wallet back in your purse and close it. You'd be surprised how many people have open zippers and purses. Never put money or wallets into pants or coat pockets unless you want it stolen. Be aware of your surroundings.

I was a nervous wreck before Spain due to all the warnings, however I've been there twice. rode on public transport and never had a problem. I've taken the train from Paris to Chartres and back and felt perfectly safe. Enjoy Chartres is a lovely city to just walk around the old town.

Posted by
9736 posts

The good thing is if you are just doing a day trip to Chartres you’ll have less to worry about. The pickpockets watch for people to be distracted. If you’ve not got luggage and have your valuables stowed In your money belt you will not be As distracted.

You can buy your tickets from a kiosk so you’ll have a CC in an accessible spot, get your ticket then step to the side out of a crowd to put it back to that safe spot. You would not access your money belt in public. I put one CC plus day money in an inside zipper pocket in my purse. I have it fixed with a carabiner.

Chartres is so cool!

Posted by
5484 posts

nwnews2, your history shows that you've already traveled, and read this board regularly. Have you seen our host's Travel Tips (top left blue menu), particularly https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/theft-scams/outsmarting-pickpockets .

If you normally use your automobile for every errand, you may be inexperienced with walking around in crowds of strangers. You need to learn to judge how accurate "internet information" may be. There is no particular reason to consider the train to Chartres as a more "pickpocketed" location than your airport, Metro, or walk in the park. Street crime exists. Luckily, in Europe, it is much less violent that crime in the USA. You should not let your vacation be ruined by newsboard chatter. I would also remind you that someone is much more likely to "post" about a negative experience than about a positive one.

Posted by
4480 posts

NWnews2,

The best advice is what you have received - use a moneybelt for your credit cards, passport, large Euros. I also keep my phone (which is my camera) in the back zipper pocket of my crossbody purse. Leave your expensive jewelry at home.

To ease your mind, I am 62 and for the last two years I have traveled on two 3-week independent trips to Italy & France - no issues. I have my metro route decided ahead of time while in my hotel room and don’t pull out my phone on the metro, looking confused or lost.

I absolutely loved Chartres cathedral last year! Be sure to take one of the English-speaking tours at the cathedral from Malcom or his substitute! I also brought a tiny pair of binoculars which was very helpful to view the details.

Posted by
3385 posts

I can reiterate the good advise given up thread. Using precautions to secure your valuables are key. We've been to many train stations throughout Europe and have always felt comfortable. I do remember our experience at the Montparnasse train station 6 years ago. Our only "concern" was making sure we found the right track! ;) Once we boarded the train it was a short 1 hr. journey. We stayed in a hotel within walking distance from the station. As already mentioned the Cathedral and Malcolm Miller's tour was the highlight of Chartres. We were there 2 nights and enjoyed the stunning light show at the cathedral. It brought the facade come to life in all colors. We loved Chartres!

Posted by
2918 posts

To focus on your specific question, you're as safe at a station, or on a train, as you are on the Metro or in any area where visitors congregate, like the museums and monuments. If you let pickpocket risk deter you from going to a station, you might as well let it deter you from going to Paris. There are lots of common-sense ways to protect yourself, so pickpocket (and other crime) risk is no reason to forego a train trip (the best way to go) to Chartres.

Well said Dick. I will add that pickpockets exist around the world where ever tourists can be found. Certainly Boston has them as do other tourist locales. That being said, I will disagree with those who say you will run across more violent crime in the USA as a tourist.

I have traveled to Europe since 1976, and more than yearly since 2000. I often travel solo, and I am a public transportation fanatic. Sometimes I use a money belt and, more often, not. However, I prepare for the worst, by splitting my financial items up, and always put them in the same spots so I don't lose them. (I do this at home as well.) Losing something would be more of a problem for me. I have never had a problem anywhere with pickpockets. I intentionally do not wave a flag saying "unaware tourist here".

Story: I once traveled with my 30 year old step-daughter, circa 2000. In the airport she'd pulled her money belt out and proudly waved it about to show me she had one. I said, "it won't do you any good in your purse". She put it on. I then told myself I would not nag her any more as she was an adult. I'd just worry about my 15 year old. Leaving Termini station in Rome, she was holding her waist belt in one hand and waving her guide book with the other, and had her pack on her back. I held my tongue although I knew she was now a target. C and I crossed the street and turned the corner and wondered where she was. She'd been pickpocketed before she'd even made it across the street by a bunch of little old women. Because she'd had her money belt on, she lost only her address book. Some handsome young men came to her rescue and asked her if she'd lost her passport. She patted her stomach proudly that she still had it. Had she pointed it out anywhere else I suspect that too would have been taken by the second group. LOL We now have a funny story, but my point is 'just don't wave a flag' indicating you are a target and be prepared regardless. Utilize public transportation!

Posted by
2020 posts

So I am a single female and have traveled in France several times using trains. I’ve never been pickpocketed but I do have a couple of things I think that help. One, the valuables are in my money back. So if I am pickpocketed they get €20 and a credit card that I can call and cancel. There’s another credit card , debit card ID etc. in my money belt. I take my passport out if I have to, for the Eurostar for example, when I get to the checkin. Second, I never carry more luggage than I can easily handle. As a matter of fact when I’m flying into Paris and taking the train down into the city I consolidate my carry-on and a personal item into one bag so that’s all I’ve got. If you are trying to corral to much luggage and have a lot of stuff it’s much easier for you to get distracted and someone to take something Or just for you to lose something

Posted by
89 posts

Thanks so much for all your replies. Thanks Carol for yours too - it made my husband feel better about taking trains. Yes hubby is going to have a money belt and i'm using a neck wallet for our cash & cards. I found a thin wire key ring that will make a good lock for the zippers on my day pack. Now we just have to wait and see if the travel gods smile on our trip.

Posted by
7205 posts

Pickpockets are of no consequence if you have nothing in your pockets.

Posted by
5506 posts

We have visited Paris several time. I have had two family members that had their wallets stolen from their purses in Paris. One was on the RER from CDG Airport into the city.

When I visit Paris, I ALWAYS wear a money belt and my wife has a pac-safe purse that she locks in on her shoulder with both. Places like Barcelona, Paris and Rome are terrible for pickpockets, but they are great places to visit, so you have to prepare yourself before you arrive. The METRO, RER, Train Stations or just walking down the street (even in the Lourve) you must be prepared.

Posted by
12 posts

Pickpockets are everywhere. If you act like a victim you are more likely to become one. Know your route ahead of time. Move with a purpose. Pack light so you are nimble. Read everything Rick says about packing. One carryon suitcase and one smallish sized backpack or zippered bag maximum no matter how long your trip. Use a light weight day pack or crossbody bag for the day trips. Money belt is a must to secure your passport, drivers license, insurance card and extra cash and charge card. Be sure to take at least two credit cards preferably one VISA and MasterCard. Keep a small amount of cash and one card handy to use during the day and the card cancellation information in your money belt and hotel room safe. No valuable jewelry or watches. I did wear my wedding ring but left all other rings at home. A simple and not valuable necklace or a scarf is all you need to look great while touring everywhere in Europe.

Posted by
681 posts

Have been in Paris once or twice a year for the last 10 years. Have never been pick pocketed. Have never worn a money belt. But i am sensible, cross body handbag and stay aware. Just like i would in any other city in any other country.

Posted by
8299 posts

caro, same for me. Grew up in Paris, visit often, have never been pickpocketed. I don’t wear a money belt, just a cross body baggelini travel purse.

Posted by
27761 posts

I'm another who has never been pickpocketed in Paris. I've never been attempted either.

Posted by
27761 posts

code yellow

Sorry - that may be a new expression. It is to me. What does it mean?

Posted by
2013 posts

What does it mean if someone states that he has never been pickpocketed? That there are no pickpockets? Even Rick Steves has been pickpocketed.

I know too many people, both French and tourists, who have lost items to pickpockets working the métros. I personally travel crowed métro cars with my wallet inside my shirt. Theft is a real and continuous threat but it does not have anything to do with your personal safety. Muggings or robberies, which include personal threats, are very rare.

Posted by
379 posts

My problems with this are...

What are people carrying around? I carry my passport, driving licence and residency card, bank card, and a little bit of cash. If it's winter it all goes in an inside pocket, if it's summer it goes in my medium sized camera bag or a backpack. You're at most danger of being pickpocketed on board the metro, but if you're being antisocial and wearing your backpack on your back you deserve to lose something IMHO. Just saying... :)

But the problem with the question is ... Is it about safety or pickpockets? The questions have completely different answers. The answer to Is it safe is "undoubtedly yes". The answer for pick pockets is "stay sensible" - and then yes.

I suspect the main problem with tourists and losing stuff if that people go into holiday mode and think because they are on holiday, the theives must be, as well.

This is from a long term French resident who goes out of his way to look like a foreign tourist when I am on holiday. I don't want to be hassled with people thinking I know what I am doing when I am trying to relax. That should make me a target, but in 14 years I have seen one pick pocket attempt on the metro and it was foiled. I have never been a victim.

p.s. neckwallet? I would rather hand all my cash over to a beggar that subject myself.

Posted by
658 posts

Code yellow is walking around in a state of awareness so you are less apt to be a victim. As opposed to "Code White," where you are completely oblivious of your surroundings, and apt to be victimized. It is series of codes, based on your awareness, and readiness to react to any potential threat. The more aware you are, the less apt you are to become a victim of someone else's aggression. Don't let people try to convince you that pick-pocketing is a "non-violent" crime. When someone intrudes your space, and physically puts their hands in your clothes and on your body to steal your possessions—that is a violent crime. Be aware, or be a victim.

Code White: Unprepared and unaware. Likely to become a victim.

Code Yellow: Relaxed but alert. No specific threat situation, but ready to respond if situations escalate.

Code Orange: Specific alert. Something is not quite right and has your attention. Your radar has picked up a specific alert. You shift your primary focus to determine if there is a threat.

Code Red: Specific threat identified—fight or flight.

The theory is that if you walk around in code white, you are apt to become a victim. If you walk around in code yellow, you will likely never get to code red, because you will be aware of, and react to any threat that comes along (i.e., cross the road, protect your belongings, avoid the ne'er do wells).

Posted by
27761 posts

where does that come from? It sounds like nuclear war. Is it originally military or political?

Posted by
8299 posts

“What does it mean if someone states that he has never been pickpocketed? That there are no pickpockets?”

Tocard, of course not.

Simply sharing our experience.
Don’t stir up an argument where there is none.

Posted by
6632 posts

a money belt is a body safe not a purse and should never e used when out and about except to secure things you don't have a safe place to leave. I leave money, extra cards, passport in the apartment when out or a hotel safe. If I have neither of those things like in transit then our valuables go in the money belt under my clothes. When out and about I carry the day's cash and one credit card and my drivers license and passport card. If we are doing a day trip out of town, I might carry the passports in my moneybelt but lately I have just carried photocopies. I have never been pickpocketed because I don't carry anything in accessible pockets. My husband has been and he has finally stopped doing that.

I have used the photocopy of the passport to buy a phone chip, to do Detax (you have to have the real passport at the airport of course when you get the form stamped, but not at the store when you buy in my experience), and to be admitted to a hospital.

Posted by
5262 posts

Code Blue = looking up at the sky all the time, so oblivious to pickpockets.

Code Green = looking up at the trees all the time, so oblivious to pickpockets.

Code Black = going outside only at night after pickpockets have retired (as if).

Code Grey = looking at the buildings and monuments all the time, so oblivious....

Code Burgundy = becoming oblivious after several glasses of fine wine.

Posted by
5506 posts

There are definitely places in the World where pickpockets proliferate and places where they are rare or non-existent.

I lived in Saudi Arabia for five years working for the US Army and if you steal in that country they cut off your hand.

You could leave your car windows open, keys in the ignition, wallet on the dashboard and they would still be there when you can back hours later.

Here in South Georgia, I read the police crime report every morning and haven't read of any pickpockets here since we moved here 14 years ago.

I have found some key places where pickpockets proliferate and seem to thrive.

Here is my honors list for pickpocket cities:
Barcelona, the king of pickpocket cities- It is not even a crime there for a routine case.
Paris- the RER and METRO are serious places to be careful.
Madrid
Rome

I lived in Germany for four years and while I am sure pickpocketing existed there, we never heard or read of any happening. Perhaps in big cities like Frankfurt or Berlin.

I would still be careful in any large city in the USA or Europe.

I wear a money belt when visiting certain place and my wife has a pac safe purse.

Posted by
6632 posts

I think Americans are vulnerable to pick pockets because it is a very rare crime in the US. You get these ridiculous bits of advice like 'pay attention to your surroundings' and 'be alert'. Pick pockets operate by stealth and the only good advice for avoiding this experience is 'don't have your valuables accessible in a pocket, backpack or carelessly held purse.' They are pros -- a front pocket is not 'safe' nor is being 'alert' enough -- they are pros. The good news is that robbery and muggings are extraordinarily rare in Paris and similar European cities.

Posted by
2918 posts

While I've known friends and family who have been pickpocketed in the USA, I do not know anyone who has been robbed or mugged. Here's an interesting article about pickpocketing in the USA. For years I've traveled/commuted on public transport in the USA, just as I would in a foreign country...but then I live in an urban area. I think pickpocketing is everywhere there is a victim available. YMMV This article is from last year. Obviously, the last few months with C-19 it must have decreased.

Posted by
658 posts

Just an FYI, being pick-pocketed IS being robbed. And just because someone doesn't stick a gun in your face doesn't make it a "non-violent" crime or robbery. When someone physically stops you, or puts their hands inside of you clothes, or on your body to steal your belongings, that is a violent crime. I don't know why people and travel bloggers are in such denial over these hideous acts.

Posted by
13525 posts

And just because someone doesn't stick a gun in your face doesn't make
it a "non-violent" crime or robbery. When someone physically stops
you, or puts their hands inside of you clothes, or on your body to
steal your belongings, that is a violent crime.

Phil, the majority of people who've been pickpocketed don't even know that they have been until after the fact. Light fingers could have quietly lifted valuables from a purse, a backpack, a carry-on or other bag carelessly attended to. Sliding a wallet out of a front or back pocket does not constitute "violent" crime, however violated one might feel by the loss of their valuables. Held at gunpoint, beaten into submission or otherwise physically subdued is a completely different animal.

Pickpocketing has a 100% survival/non-injury rate. Violent robberies? Not so much.
(edited)

Posted by
2013 posts

I don't know why people and travel bloggers are in such denial over these hideous acts.

Because guarding against a threat and protecting oneself requires a clear understanding what the threat is. Muggins and robberies by their definitions include violence or a threat of bodily harm. Victims of muggings or robberies often find themselves in situations which are beyond their control.

Pickpockets are a threat from which one can protect himself. Simple precautions can significantly isolate oneself from loss. Pockets with zippers, neck wallets, purses with closed tops and heavy shoulder straps, and backpacks carried on one’s chest rather than one’s back are all very strong deterrents. Pick pocketing is a crime of opportunity, not violence.

The differences are significant just as are the precautions taken to preclude being a victim to the extent that one can.

Posted by
6649 posts

I think what is hard for a lot of us Americans to understand, is that it sounds like you cannot physically defend yourself from being touched and your property stolen (what would be considered assault in the US). Where exactly is the line? Once your wallet is in their hands, only a harsh glare and stern word is permitted, and then we blame the victim for being incautious?😧

Posted by
2013 posts

Never, as in never ever put something of value in your pocket, board a crowded train, and expect whatever you had in your pocket to be there when you disembark. You will lose valuables when in crowds and you will not know you lost them until later. That is how pick pockets work; no guns, no knives, no threats, just stealth and a few quick movements. Whatever they take can be quickly passed off to an accomplice before you know it's gone. Thieves also take items from purses and backpacks and you will not know it when it happens.

However, if I saw someone with an item of mine or an item of a friend, I would not stand there like a stone statue and deliver but a harsh glare. I would start screaming at the top of my lungs which is exactly how I had a mobile phone returned to a friend who should have known better and had placed it unsecured in a pocket.

While on the subject of theft, I should like to point out that anything left on a table at lunch/dinner can be taken by a grab and go artist. Handbags left on the backs of chairs are also frequently taken.

If you are focused on muggins and robberies, your attention is not directed at the real threat in Paris - nonviolent crimes of opportunity.

Posted by
13525 posts

Stand up for yourself rather than letting the ne're-do-wells make us
all victims.

Phil, that is EXACTLY what we're saying. Take any of the MANY methods of foiling light fingers and 99.9% of the time you won't become their victim. As previously stated, moneybelts, hidden pockets, Pacsafe or Travelon anti-theft cross-body bags, neck wallets (although I don't trust those personally).... They allow you to sightsee or use transport without anxiety.

The point here is that pickpockets are very, very slick. You are very, very unlikely to catch one in the act or to realize what's been lifted until after the fact. That's how they work. They also aren't always the individuals you would most likely suspect; they may be wearing a business suit or just look like a fellow tourist. They may also be working in teams.

While my husband and I can't tolerate moneybelts, we do use other methods which are more comfortable and accessible to our own fingers but not to others. So, OP, just take some precautions and relax, OK? Oh, and good advice not to lay anything of value on cafe tables (especially tables outside along a street), not to hang a bag from the back of a chair or place a bag at your feet, or allow anyone but yourself to handle your baggage in the train stations. I'd personally also never nap on a train with an unsecured carryon or shoulder bag within easy reach of the nefarious arm.

Posted by
21733 posts

I thought we had gotten past our frequently pickpocket discussion. And now we have hit the silly arguments level. Where is our London gal who frequently addresses this subject? I am another one who has traveled for over a year in Europe, in all of the great pickpocket capitols of the world, for more than 20 years, with no problems and to the best of our knowledge, no attempts. In fact, I have never seen an attempt. However, have met a number of people who were victims. I could have copied Wally's post, changed the name, and saved time. This is easy to sum up --

If it is easy for you to get to it will be just as easy for the pickpocket. Front pockets and bras included. Carry just what is needed or necessary in outer, secure pockets. Everything else has to be under your clothing. I cannot relate to those who claim they cannot tolerate money belts. We hardly notice ours but if a neck wallet works, then use it. Again, easy of access is critical. We could start a whole new discussion on dressing, standing out, blending in but the bottom line is try to avoid in dress and manner calling attention to yourself. You don't have to blend in but just don't act like a stupid American tourist. A little caution coupled with the proper use of a money belt, min bags, and you will be fine. Over focusing on pickpockets can have a negative effect on the enjoyment of your trip.

Posted by
6632 posts

And again a 'moneybelt' is not a purse; it is a body safe not something to be accessed in public. It is used when you have no secure place to leave valuables -- we leave ours in apartment or hotel safe except in transit. For walking around, a cross body purse, a neck wallet, inside zipped pockets suffice -- and you carry only what you need so a small loss is not a tragedy. A money belt accessible to you is accessible to pick pockets.

Posted by
13525 posts

I cannot relate to those who claim they cannot tolerate money belts.
We hardly notice ours...

It's great if moneybelts work for you! They did NOT work for us (and we tried) and haven't worked for some other posters who've chimed in on the security issue either. The point is that there is more than one way to skin that cat so some time spent exploring the other options will be time well spent.

Oh, and we don't like/use neck wallets either but again, if they work for you then so be it! The good thing is that there isn't just ONE viable solution for everyone! :O)

Posted by
21733 posts

You made that point earlier so I don't understand why you feel the need to be aggressive about not wearing a money belt. It is your decision. Since we find wearing a money to be so easy and comfortable, I have no idea why you cannot. That is why I said we cannot relate. I made no judgement of your decision. I am not happy with neck wallets either.

Posted by
13525 posts

Wow. Aggressive? Not at all. I've no idea why you took it that way. Please don't?

Good heavens, no harm in reiterating for the OP that there are umpty ways to keep the goodies from light fingers? In the end, I think we all agree that using ANY of those methods generally do the trick and will help an anxious traveler relax. The ounce of prevention, yes?

LOL, this particular topic has generated more than its share of vigorous conversations, eh?

Posted by
6632 posts

LOL. There were pickpockets 3000 years ago -- they will always be with us. It is easy to not be picked -- don't carry valuables carelessly.

Posted by
4684 posts

Advice not to physically struggle with pickpockets is based on the idea that you shouldn't get into a fight that you might lose severely, not because you would get in criminal trouble. I don't know about the detail in France, but in Britain the laws relating to self-defence and provocation in relation to violence are based on the idea that the response has to be proportionate to the assault - so you probably wouldn't get in trouble for tackling someone who grabbed your bag and ran away, but you would if you then proceeded to punch them unconscious or worse once they were on the ground.

I see Americans on and off being under the impression that there is no right to self-defence in Europe, and I think it comes down to distortions by Second Amendment extremists of a notorious English case some years ago of a man who was prosecuted for murder after shooting a burglar - what the outrage coverage didn't mention was that he'd shot an unarmed man in the back while he was running away, and then calmly gone back to bed and left him to bleed to death.

Posted by
658 posts

he'd shot an unarmed man in the back while he was running away, and
then calmly gone back to bed and left him to bleed to death.

That would certainly be subject to prosecution in the U.S. too.

Posted by
8299 posts

“in Britain the laws relating to self-defence and provocation in relation to violence are based on the idea that the response has to be proportionate to the assault”

Same in the US.

Posted by
10344 posts

The only time in Europe when we experienced someone trying to strong-arm us was in a Paris metro station: while walking in one of the large hallways separating some of the platforms, 3 young men approached my wife, who was walking about 5 feet ahead of me, they probably thought she was a woman by herself. She aggressively yelled at them and they took off. No harm done, but a Paris metro station was the only time in many Europe trips. After that, we always have been careful to walk together, holding hands is even better, and more fun.

Posted by
1897 posts

I want to add a snarky comment about the advice regarding flying under the radar -- when people say that you want to try not to stand out, what you more specifically mean is that you don't want to look like you are carrying a lot of easily fungible valuables.
As we've discussed ad nauseum, you are a tourist and you look like one (usually), but rather than either blending in or appearing nondescript, imagine for a moment if you do the opposite: if I'm wearing a tiara with cartoon bee antennae bobbing in time to the muzak on the PA system, or five-inch-heeled clear acrylic shoes that have live goldfish swimming in them, I think I'm unlikely to be targeted by professional (or even vocational) pickpockets because there are always a lot of people looking at me. It'd be like trying to mug a busker while they are performing before an audience.
So I'm suggesting you consider a strategy of standing out, of being continually gawked at, as a way to make yourself a less attractive pickpocketing target. Food for thought.

Posted by
27761 posts

having seen Avi at meetings, I am visualising him wearing a tiara with cartoon bee antennae bobbing in time to the muzak on the PA system with five-inch-heeled clear acrylic shoes that have live goldfish swimming in them on his feet.

Cool.

Most excellent.

Posted by
1897 posts

And the challenge, Nigel, of fitting those clothes into my RS convertible carry-on only is another part of the fun of travel.
The Groucho moustache and glasses I wear on the plane so they don't get smooshed in the bag.

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52 posts

We stand out as tourists this way, but both hubby and I wear multi-pocket travel vests. If we are renting an apartment and thus have no safe, my passport, major cash, and most cards go in a passport bag worn cross-body under my tunic-style t-shirt. Walking around cash, one card end up in an inner zipped pocket of my vest. Sometimes I’ll add a safety pin. In another zipped pocket, I stash my iPhone. We never take wallets to Europe, rather we use binder clips to bundle our cash and also to keep together whatever cards we carry. Our travel vests were especially nice for Morocco in the medinas. You just have to not load up the pockets with too much stuff or you’ll look lumpy!