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What to do with kids who are pickpockets?

The other day while walking a little behind me along Medecin in Nice, my wife noticed a small hand reaching into my backpack. She jumped out and grabbed the boy's hand and made him open up his hand and release the stuff he had taken from my pack. There were three boys (around the ages of 10 to 13)working in a team to pick pocket tourists along the busy boulevard. They ran off and we did nothing beyond that. Today, I caught them at it again and stopped them from taking stuff from a lady's bag.

What should I do with them when I catch them at it? Should I bother to report it to the police?


Bill Lewis

Posted by
658 posts

It's a difficult situation.

My advice is a cowards way out but here goes.

Take a good clear set of photographs of them and let them see you taking photographs of them. It's the one thing that will discourage them and make them change their area of operations for a few weeks. Print the photographs and hand them to the reception at your hotel and ask them to contact the police - then forget about it, you've done your bit to try and foil local crime. If the receptionist asks if you want to make a formal complaint to the police - decline. It's a good way to foul up a much needed vacation.

Try to accept that this has been happening in the south of France for more years than you have been alive and it will be still going on when we are history. It's a tough life for some of the kids - some grow up to be mass murderes and some international movie directors.

My answer is cowardly but it will never change and you can only do so much.

Posted by
9079 posts

It also helps not to carry a backpack around while sightseeing for the day. I know its common practice and most people do it, but I've never figured why most people need to carry so much junk around. I usually get by with a guidebook in my back pocket, a small camera my front pocket and my wallet on the other side. It helps to not look like a tourist.

Posted by
1568 posts

I am one of those travelers that must carry a small day back pack in order to be hands free. We have small combination locks on all openings.

I now have a PacSafe fanny pack that is slashproof, tamperproof and snatchproof.

We will be getting the PacSafe day back pack before our next European trip.

It is nice to travel and not have to worry about your valuables.