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St Petersburg and Nevsky Prospekt

It's a busy busy street, and I was actually the "attempted victim" of a pickpocket. Can't believe it :-) but after all these years (and 2nd time in St Petersburg) the pickpockets finally attempted it. Of course they got nothing because I don't carry valuables in my pants pocket.

It was a version of the "stop at the top of the escalator so that everybody falls all over everybody else and the thieves get you". This time we were just walking on crowded Nevsky Prospekt and got wedged up next to one of the plexiglass walls of one of the many bus stops along the road. The man and woman in front of me stopped and turned around acting as if they were lost. They pushed me up against the wall as they abruptly stopped and turned around. I felt a hand go into my pocket and the woman also grabbed my wife's purse. My wife saw the scam happening and jumped in front so that their attempt was futile.

Funny how some people work so hard at taking other people's property instead of just getting a job. Bums!

Posted by
6614 posts

We are quite adept at avoiding the French pickpockets who operate by stealth for the most part. This is a good heads up that they are more aggressive in Russia and we need to be ready to defend ourselves as well as simply not keep valuables in pockets. What you describe comes close to the definition of a mugging.

Posted by
6614 posts

Just a follow up -- we spent 9 days in Petersburg in an apartment a couple of blocks off Nevsky Prospect, shopped in local grocery stores, went to small restaurants and walked using Rick Steve's walking tour guide among other resources and we also rode the tram and the metro and used ATM machines. We never had the slightest difficulty nor did we see anyone else hassled by criminals. We loved Petersburg and hope to return next fall again. Here are some snapshots and more will follow when I get time:
https://janettravels.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/church-on-spilled-blood-dazzling-sight-on-the-griboyedov-canal/

So while I am sure there are thieves and muggers everywhere, I wouldn't worry about it too much for Petersburg.

Posted by
3458 posts

Tim , I read your posts often , and like much of what you have to say . Please keep in mind that the unemployment rate in Russia is much higher than here at home , or even in other parts of Europe . Desperate people do desperate things . I am not defending what happened to you , but keep this all in perspective . Like Janet , we also spent a protracted period of time in St Petersburg about the same time she did , and our experiences were identical to hers . We loved the place as well , and though we will return in the Autumn of 2017 ( 2016 draws us to other ports of call ) , we can't wait to return . All my best , Steve

Posted by
3458 posts

Just to be clear , my post is an unabashed plug for visiting St Petersburg ! I think it is vastly underrated , and the conventional thought from innumerable sources portrays it as an unsafe , and sketchy place garnered with numerous difficulties , making travel there questionable . While it takes a bit more effort to prepare , The rewards are worth every bit of the effort . We were positively charmed !

Posted by
7205 posts

Yes, I've been to both St. Petersburg and Moscow twice so I obviously have a great admiration of the cities, the country and people. However, being unemployed is by no means a rational reason to steal from others.