pick [pocketing

Is pick pocketing really on the increase in Italy or on Greece? I was told that unemployment is very high there now.. to be honest if people have to resort to that should I just not understand and tip better?/ I would think the country and authorities would do something to curb pickpocketing so tourist keep coming.. to be honest I would rather pay more for things and know I have helped the economy of the beautiful country that I am have wanted to visit for so long. part of being a tourist is to help the people that serve you earn a living Michelle

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3355 posts

Michelle! You are still here? I thought you were going in September? Anyway things are so bad in Italy now that even rich people have been caught stealing. I heard of a billionaire guy who recently became unemployed (as Prime Minister) and got sentenced to 4 years in jail.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3355 posts

No. Pickpockets operate where there are crowds. The presence of cash is irrelevant otherwise most pickpockets would happen inside banks. The overwhelming majority of pick pocketing incidents happen in very crowded situations where there is body to body contact opportunity. That would be on public transit and in very crowded locations where similar crowds are present. It is not a coincidence that the video was shot at the Trevi Fountain, which is in a very small piazza crowded with tourists. Read any Italian newspaper and you will see that nearly all pickpockets are on buses or subways.

Posted by Quirite
Rome, Lazio, Italy
109 posts

Michelle, the truth is that the pickpockets in large Italian cities are not even Italian: it's mostly gypsy gangs from Romania who do the job. Here, unemployed people are by and large honest and - if given the opportunity - hard-working folks: pickpoketing is something any unemployed Italian/Greek wouldn't even think of. As you might have guessed, I found your reference to unemployed people disrepectful; plus, it could be argued that - while these are indeed hard times - we're not starving (yet) and therefore don't need to resort to such things! So, to answer your question: no, bigger tips won't help solve the problem...

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6841 posts

The presence of cash is irrelevant otherwise most pickpockets would happen inside banks. Banks have cameras covering all angles. But thanks you for the confirmation that one can be robbed outside, and not "zero" percent as you originally stated.

Posted by Mike
Boston
94 posts

Introducing tipping to a country like Italy that doesn't tip would have the effect of raising prices for the Italians, and that would be counterproductive to your good intentions. The best approach is to go and enjoy yourself, after three thousand years, the Italians will manage. Florida - I'm not so sure.

Posted by Michelle
Valrico, FL, USA
120 posts

It actually seems very stranger to me not to give a tip for a service.. I have been told by some it is almost insulting. My daughter and son were both waiters here in America when they were in collage.. A person that did not tip was thought of as cheap and usually the most demanding.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4879 posts

Different cultures have different customs. One reason to travel is to see how people live in various places and to embrace their customs, not force our customs on them. Leave your American expectations behind and go enjoy Italy! As for worrying about pickpockets, keep your valuables secured and you don't need to worry.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2395 posts

Service employees in Europe are generally paid a living wage and have more benefits (from employers or from the government) than typically happens in the US. The only people Italian waiters expect a tip from are Americans, because so many tip anyway. Some waiters (not just Italians) will "imply" that you need to add a tip; they are just trying to scam you out of more money to pocket for themselves. The standard is to give (don't leave it) a euro or two as a nice gesture, especially if a waiter has been very kind/helpful. You often do pay more for table service in Europe. The cost for take out or standing at the counter is often cheaper than to sit at a table (even at fast food restaurants). Partly this is to account for the cost of service and partly because you are free to sit as long as you wish - no one will rush you out. In fact, many Americans have a hard time understanding service - you always have to ask for something, including the bill. Waiters will not "check" on you or bring you the bill until you ask for it (and it can take awhile after that). If you sit down to eat, always expect it to last at least an hour or more (even for lunch). Regarding pickpockets - it's a fact of life in Europe, just as high rates of gang and gun violence are in the US. No place is perfect. Those that use a money belt or similar system (neck pouches or belt-loop wallets) are almost never victims.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3355 posts

I've lived in Italy 27 years and visited there from the US at least 30 times, I have never been pick pocketed or scammed. Virtually all pickpockets operate in crowded buses or subway trains, as such they tend to strike local commuters more than tourists. Most tourists generally stay in the historical centers and travel on foot from sight to sight. Tourist rely more on taxis and intercity trains, which are nearly never crowded (besides pick pockets prefer to conduct their business in cheap city bus rather than expensive intercity trains). So, if you are so scared of pickpockets stay away from crowded city buses (or subways) and your chances of being their victim will be as close to zero as you can get.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6841 posts

So, if you are so scared of pickpockets stay away from crowded city buses (or subways) and your chances of being their victim will be as close to zero as you can get. Thieves operate anywhere there is lots of cash available. Be inside or outside.
Head over to YouTube and you'll see lots of thieves at work in broad daylight: http://youtu.be/NiVqg-T1m68

Posted by Rik
Vicenza, Italy
702 posts

Gypsies operate anywhere and everywhere in Rome. I was walking with my girlfriend (at the time) on an empty side street near the train station and got accosted by a mob of them. Luckily I knew their modus operandi as I'd read about it so they didn't get anything but they actually did get money out of my front pocket without me even knowing it.

Posted by Larry
Carmel, CA, USA
209 posts

Hmmmm, Rik, I suppose it's reassuring that when you and your girlfriend were accosted by a throng of gypsies, you emerged OK except for some money that was taken from your pocket. Glad you knew their modus operandi. Maybe you could explain their modus operandi to the rest of us, especially those of us scheduled to be wandering those same side streets near Termini in the near future. Thanks.

Posted by Michelle
Valrico, FL, USA
120 posts

who are these gypsies as you call them? I have always thought of gypsies as interesting people that are artist and stuff.. But then I have never met any in real life either?

Posted by JD
USA
5 posts

"I was told that unemployment is very high there now.. to be honest if people have to resort to that should I just not understand and tip better?/ I would think the country and authorities would do something to curb pickpocketing so tourist keep coming.. to be honest I would rather pay more for things and know I have helped the economy of the beautiful country that I am have wanted to visit for so long. part of being a tourist is to help the people that serve you earn a living" Your many posts have highlighted your ignorance. This trip will go a long way in opening your eyes to how the world really is, not just what others tell you and what you may read in the newspaper. Every large city has pickpockets. Your statement that you would think the authorities would be making a greater effort to stop it is uninformed. There are are efforts to stop it, but there are crimes that have a greater effect on society where police efforts are concentrated. It's like saying the US should do a better job of curbing the drug trade because of all the violence it causes. Sure, authorities would love to stop it but the bottom line is you can't solve all crime. Your suggestion of leaving bigger tips to help the economy will do nothing do help the larger problems Italy faces.

Posted by Michelle
Valrico, FL, USA
120 posts

At least I care enough to ask.. I think it mean to call anyone ignorant.. and yes we can do more in the US to stop the drug trade, but we don't bother.
we can have the argument on another site. As far as what I think about tipping.. I have heard many people say not to.. But I was raised that if someone does a job for you they deserve to get paid for it.. It is a moral issue to me..

Posted by Michelle
Valrico, FL, USA
120 posts

JD The USA has its problems and Italy has theirs as well.. I think I can be a much better visitor and friend to the Italian people, if I at least try and understand what their problems are. And if I don't ask I wont know now will I?? michelle

Posted by JD
USA
5 posts

Ignorance means lacking knowledge - not stupid. As I stated above, this trip will be an eye-opener for you. One of the best things about travel is learning new things.

Posted by Rik
Vicenza, Italy
702 posts

Larry, basically what they do is send a group of kids running towards you, basically swarming you, waving newspapers or cardboard. While you're distracted shooing the kids away, they have one or two experts who go into your pockets. In my case, we were walking down the street I saw the group in front of us and then saw the kids run towards us which tipped off what was about to happen but sure enough, rather than watch my pockets I started swinging my arms trying to get the kids away from me. It suddenly dawned on me that this is the distraction so I looked down and saw an old Gypsy woman pulling her hand away from my pocket with a 50,000 lire bill in it. I smacked her hand as hard as I could and she dropped the bill so I ended up not losing any money but I never would have believed that someone could get in and out of my front jeans pocket without me feeling it. It's not just in the big touristy cities either, Gypsies are everywhere here and they're a real problem.

Posted by Larry
Carmel, CA, USA
209 posts

Well, thanks Rik for the rest of that story. My long-deceased cat was named Gypsy, so maybe they'll feel a connection and leave me alone. Then again maybe they'll feel a connection and swarm in greater numbers. What about the idea of carrying a small but vicious snake in one's money pocket? I realize that might have "unintended consequences".

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5777 posts

Probably the surest way to get pickpocketed is to assume that all pickpockets fit your cliche of "gypsies". It's well known that some of the most effective pickpockets in Italy look like well-dressed businessmen. They work the crowded buses and subways. They don't look like they should be stomping in a grape vat with Lucille Ball.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2395 posts

As far as what I think about tipping.. I have heard many people say not to.. But I was raised that if someone does a job for you they deserve to get paid for it.. It is a moral issue to me.. The reason people tell you not to is, as explained throughout this thread, it is not the custom and European wait staff earn living wages (unlike in the US). It's not uncommon to give (not leave) a euro or two - many people give the loose change they get back. And Americans either through ignorance of the custom or habit, will often tip some 20%. No waiter will complain of course, but they don't expect it. If you wish to tip and it makes you feel better, then certainly go ahead. Just don't feel bad if you choose not to. Think of it this way - if you eat here at a restaurant as a larger party and the bill has an 18% gratuity included, do you add another 20% on top of that? Most people, if they leave anything, will just tip a few percent more if they liked the service. The "gratuity" in Europe is already included in the higher prices you pay to sit and eat.

Posted by Joan
Gettysburg, PA, USA
172 posts

Everything posted here regarding tipping is good advice. However, let me repeat what I said some time ago. On my last two visits to Germany, the charge slip for my credit card payment included a line TIP ____.
Things change sometimes.