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Pickpocketed on the Metro? File a complaint in the station.

Pickpocketed in the Metro? Tourists Can Now File Complaints Directly in the Station

Tourists are unfortunately targets of pickpockets in the metro, and in the past it was usually too complicated for them to go to the nearest police station to file the formal complaint often necessary for insurance reimbursement. But after doing a six-month test, the RATP has now extended the option to file your complaint in English in all 256 Parisian metro stations. This “dépôt de plainte” option is only available for victims of “vols simples”, which means thefts of items worth less than €1000 committed without violence and without possibility of immediately identifying the perpetrator. If you have a more serious claim you will still need to go to the police station. In the past, many tourists wouldn’t bother with the hassle of declaring thefts in the metro, even if it meant they wouldn’t have the official declaration for insurance purposes. Hopefully this new option to file in English without leaving the station will change that (and improve the accuracy of the stats on pickpocketing in the Paris metro once and for all).

Posted by
2786 posts

I would hope that all travelers would be wearing a money belt which I have never heard of being pickpocketed.

Posted by
3444 posts

If you are using the money belt properly, that is as a deep storage option for things you will not need immediately during your day, you can still get pick pocketed of your other items or things in your day pack. Stuff like your hotel key, the small amount of Euros you have ready to pay for lunch or a coffee and croissant at the corner cafe, maybe a debit or credit card you were going to go shopping or getting more cash out of an ATM with. Or at worst, your cell phone.

Posted by
594 posts

Kateja, this is very useful information, thank you for posting. Hopefully it won’t be something you need to use on your upcoming trip!

Posted by
274 posts

I don't understand the purpose of this service. You still aren't going to get your items back and it will take time to file a report. And of course if you do get a report "for insurance purposes" it will probably be in French. And there is most likely a deductible on the insurance. In other words, suck it up and use it as a teaching tool for future episodes.

The voice of experience dealing with the Gendarmes for 2 days on this subject even with the help of the concierge at a Marriott hotel in Paris...

Posted by
884 posts

Thanks, Kateja. While I would always hope it won’t happen to me (don’t we all), this sounds like a much more convenient way to document a loss.

Posted by
11450 posts

I’m kind of with Kenneth in this one - I had my bag taken once and I did t bother with filing a report .
My passport was in hotel safe, as was my bank card and one credit card - I only carry 100 euros or less , and one cc out daily - so other than perhaps an expensive phone - what would be point of filing for insurance ? I just called and had card cancelled .

Posted by
4247 posts

One of the reasons for making a report is to provide a realistic picture of the problem. If most victims never bother to file a complaint then the statistics are skewed. When determining how and where to deploy resources these statistics are used and if an area doesn't show a high level of cfrime then resources are not going to be concentrated there.

Posted by
274 posts

JC-I believe the Gendarmes already know the metro is a pickpocketing hot spot, so they don't need any statistics to back this up. i was first victimized as a naive buck private more than 60 years ago and it hasn't changed much since then...Some of the other scams are more physical. In spite of this, I still visit Paris every time I get a chance...

Posted by
7303 posts

Kenneth, I believe JC is up-to-date. He's a retired police officer, but you didn't have any way to know that.

Posted by
2900 posts

I would hope that all travelers would be wearing a money belt

Never worn one, probably never will.

Posted by
11450 posts

The reality is many don’t even know WHERE they got pickpocketed- often only discovering it after the act .
Police can’t police what they don’t see .

And ultimately since it’s generally more of a “ property “ crime as opposed to an assault - I would think most police departments would put more money into physical victim type crimes . I may be wrong , but I just don’t think any city is going to allot that much more of their budget in policing such a “ minor” crime ( yes I get it’s not minor when it happens to you , as I said I’ve had my own event of fun lol ) but in the grand scheme of things , it kind of is .

Posted by
4247 posts

JC-I believe the Gendarmes already know the metro is a pickpocketing hot spot, so they don't need any statistics to back this up.

Yes, they do know that it's a pick-pocketing hotspot but the people in charge of resource distribution (typically not those with their boots on the ground) tend to be dictated by statistics, intelligence etc (Bets is correct, I'm a retired police officer). If crimes are not being reported then the statistics don't reflect an accurate picture irrespective of what the local officers know and subsequently 'those who know better' will choose to allocate resources to areas with a higher crime rate (according to statistics).

Although theft comes a poor second to physical assault the reputation of Paris, particularly the Metro, of being a pick-pocket Mecca means that the authorities are keen to target those that pose a risk to the tourist perception of Paris. If the reality is truly reflected in the statistics then more resources should be allocated.