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Naples pickpockets

When buying a ticket for the Circumvesuviana at the Naples train station, I think some local bad guys observed what pocket I returned my wallet to - a front pants pocket. My money belt had my valuables, but I had 120 Euros, one credit card, one debit card, and my drivers license in the wallet. After buying the ticket, we went to the Circum, with our luggage. The train was crowded, and we had to stand between cars, and I was pickpocketed. I had a false sense of security that a front pocket would not be picked. However, the pants were loose fitting hiking-type pants. After being picked, I called the cc and debit card companies, and in the end, lost only the 120 Euros. What a pain though. My lesson - carry the credit card and Euros for the day's spending needs inside my shirt, wearing a zipped jacket.

Posted by
3930 posts

We keep on learning. Every time we have an unfortunate event, we learn something. Thanks for passing on your story; many people seem to think front pockets are inviolable.

Posted by
2274 posts

Bummer. Sorry that happened to you. Some would say it’s not a big deal losing a credit card, debit card, but it is in terms of the anxiety and the calls you need to make, the fact you won’t have them for the rest of your trip, now relying on your backups. And the drivers license.. well, that will be another chore. The lesson here is don’t carry anything outside of your money belt you’re not prepared to loose.

Posted by
1005 posts

My wife was recently pickpocketed in Barcelona, so I know how stressful this can be. I was on the Circumvesuviana earlier this month and wore a money belt. I also took Rick's advice about sitting in the first car near the conductor and engineer. But the best decision I made was to buy the ticket in advance at a tobacco shop. There are no ticket machines for the Circumvesuviana, so it can be a long wait at the ticket booth.

Also, I found out later that you no longer need to ride the Circumvesuviana if you're going to Pompeii. CitySightseeing (www.napoli.city-sightseeing.it) runs a shuttle between the Naples cruise port, the train station, and Pompeii. This is much more convenient and safer than the Circumvesuviana.

Posted by
6387 posts

Sorry to hear this; we were getting on the Circumvesuviana last May at Sorrento when an American tourist realized her IPhone was gone.

Posted by
1868 posts

I will never forget our first visit to Rome many years ago. A couple of women checked into our hotel who reported they were just pickpocketed on the bus. They lost their Passports, credit cards and cash. After their long jet-lagged journey they spent the rest of the day dealing with their losses. Thanks for sharing your story.

Posted by
1451 posts

Jim,

Great reminder for the new as well as for the experienced traveler.

It's a shame that happened to you with a larger amount of Euros being taken. Time and again, people have come on to the forum to share their stories. "Front pants pockets" are just as vulnerable as back pockets, coat pockets, flimsy bags, etc.

For the traveler, it may be best to keep a small amount of Euros accessible. If it's €20 or so, it's not a huge loss. It's always good to be aware of who is around. Some perps will blend in and look like a tourist or pretend to be taking a picture or reading a map - they are "reading" the vulnerability of the traveler.

Hopefully, you were able to enjoy the trip and have great memories.

edit On another note, at Termini, it can be overwhelming for some. The station is huge, people going this way and that way and in between. Last year, I was observing some guys hanging around the ground floor looking at everyone. They weren't really standing together, but they knew each other, it was obvious to me. One of them saw me staring at him, lol, he moved on to another side. Thing is, there are Polizia roaming the station too - inside and out. So, unless these guys are caught committing a crime, there's not much to do at that point.

Again, practice "big city" street smarts. If anyone is getting too close in your personal space, move away if possible. If not, just keep a dead bang eye on them - stare them down. Of course, thieves look for people - paying attention to where their money is on their person.

Posted by
20565 posts

Glad (from a knowledge standpoint) to see it was taken from a front pocket. Several posters here had boldly started, "No way can anyone get it from my front pocket without my knowing it." The front pocket is only marginally safer than the rear pocket. Secondly, I discourage the use of any wallet or any concentration of valuables. Spread them out. I use a money clip in one pocket, credit/debit card in another, tickets in a third. Most of my pockets are secured via zipper or velcro. They may get one but not all three at the same time. It was an expensive lesson but I am sure you will never have that problem again.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks to the advice in Rick's book, I insisted we all use money belts for the train trip from Naples to Sorrento. Even in October the train was packed and we had to stand with our luggage which of course made us sitting ducks. I observed a gang of three pretending to get off at various stops which gave them an excuse to push forward, but with all the pushing they never got off. Finally one grabbed the handle of my sister's suitcase which distracted her and another guy got his hand in her purse. He only got a coin purse with about 20 euros in coins because we had our passports, cash and credit cards in our money belts. Most people think of pick pockets as kids. These guys are not kids. They are middle aged men dressed decently and as I observed work in gangs of three. On later trips we took the boat from Sorrento to Naples. I would recommend the boat, more expensive but a lot safer. Also during the season there are shuttle vans. Again I would recommend them. Even though we had our valuables in money belts, it really didn't feel good to be surrounded by people actively trying to pick our pockets. We had to stand for half an hour before we got seats and this was in October which is supposedly the off season.

Posted by
1065 posts

The Circumvesuviana is not primarily a tourist train. It is most crowed at the beginning and the end of the day with commuters. It does not matter what time of year. We took it several times at mid day in late May and it was almost empty except the time we took it at 4:00 pm when it was standing room only. Time of day is more important than time of year.

Posted by
440 posts

I suppose the one silver lining is you had your money belt on and did not lose more. Horrible when this happens

Posted by
8 posts

I understand the Circumvesuviana train is a commuter train & not primarily a tourist train, but we were on the train at midday and it was still packed. I noticed on later trips on the train that during the first 25 minutes of the trip from Naples to Sorrento that the train is pretty crowded no matter the time of day. After the first 25 minutes from Naples the train clears out. Going from Sorrento to Naples is easier since you can always get a seat at the end of the line. I would still recommend the use of money belts all the time during a trip to this area while keeping a few euros in a pocket for ease of use while taking cabs, buying coffee etc. I would stress that hese pickpockets are really pros and using the money belt gives you peace of mind to enjoy your trip.

Posted by
688 posts

We have been lucky but we are also cautious.

Hubby has our passports in a hidden pocket attached to his belt. It has passports and one credit card and one debit card.

I have a money belt with one credit card and our large cash. I also have a small neck pouch with our daily money. I don’t care that people see that pouch when I shop. The only thing in my pants pockets is small change. I think someone got a few euros once in Paris but I’m not 100 percent sure.

On day when I wear a cross body bag it is a theft proof ( metal mesh and metal enforced strap). My mom wears a money belt and has daily cash in her pacsafe purse worn cross body and locked.

Worked really well in France, With day trips to Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium as well as our 36 day trip to the UK last fall.

Next 3 trips are Ireland and then a Danube cruise and driving tour of Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and a bit of Romania. And the 3rd is Italy ( The 2nd trip is making me more anxious than Ireland for some reason. Not anxious about Italy yet but reading all the advice I can. )

We always feel it’s better to be over cautious than to worry. Our family never seems to have much luck unless it’s bad so we don’t like to tempt fate. LOL

Posted by
1038 posts

Never been pickpocketed in Naples, but did have my b_m felt on a very crowded bus coming back from the station to the apartment.
The guy must have been desperate, as I am no oil painting!!
Had to fight to get off, the people were so crowded together.

Posted by
628 posts

When we went to Italy, my husband thought I was overreacting when I told him to be mindful of his pockets and belongings until he walked by a trash barrel at the Naples train station and saw a few empty wallets in there. He finally listened to me LOL

Posted by
132 posts

Thanks for sharing your story, Jim
I am so concerned about going to Southern Europe in October after reading this. Have heard many stories about pickpocketing there. Need to be careful haha